Airy Tales

Hee Jin Elizabeth Cho

[email protected]
+64 21 158 3305
Elizabeth First Image Booth
Air booth

A distressed man drives to the countryside to refresh from his congested city.

A rebelling teen climbs to the rooftop to find his own thoughts.

And a man in amidst an argument exits the room onto his balcony - all to get some air.

This thesis is an Airy Tale. Air is matter, a mass with weight, however remains mysterious in the spectrum of living with its somewhat intangible, somewhat invisible and somewhat infinite nature. This thesis is an interrogation of air and its substance in architecture, in the attempt to embrace and acknowledge its frequently forgotten existence. It is the craft of objectifying this vital need into an uncanny premium commodity.

Airy Tales is an obsessive interrogation of air and its substance in architecture, in the attempt to embrace and acknowledge its frequently forgotten existence. The vitality of air was put to light in the recent commodification of bottled air, with entrepreneurs in New Zealand, Canada, and so on, selling cans of “fresh, clean air” to heavily polluted regions of Asia. The objectification of a natural human right and a subsequent labeling of its monetary value leads to the questioning of freedom becoming a luxury good. 

Though it by no means provides a long-term solution, buyers are provided temporary relief with its therapeutic connotations. This satirical provocation is an architectural response to this arguably new specie of commodity; the objectification of the breathing space, and the appeal of purchasing and consuming air from other places.

The airy tale begins with the ‘air booth’, landing in the crevices of the city, with its body wedged into neglected alleyways. Its face peeks through the street front, as a welcoming ticket booth, where ‘air time’ is available for purchase for those in urgent need of therapeutic air. It is a place one could buy an oasis like one would buy a can of coke. With the purchase of ‘air time’, the consumer (or named patient of therapy) ascends into the ‘runway’, a looping corridor nestled above the urban roofline. 

Elizabeth Full Width 01 Update
The Runway

The runway is lined with a series of re-calibration stations, as spaces injected with de-stressing agents. Each station seduces the consumer with leaked samples of the therapeutic airs. The airs are inhaled from adjacent alleyways, bent, then embellished into therapeutic conditions, good enough to bottle and sell to the distressed. Like an urban sanatorium, air is wrapped in a clinical veil, as the therapist and medication for the mind. The architectural envelope of the stations converse like machines, like packaging for the air, designed to craft, preserve and reveal its value and integrity.

Elizabeth Hope
Elizabeth Rebalancing
Elizabeth Growth
Elizabeth Remembering
Elizabeth Self Understanding