Almost, But Not Quite, Entirely Unlike a Supermarket

by Shaina Kim (MArch '18)

This thesis proposes an architectural typology of the supermarket. By extracting formal representations of the habitual rituals that we go through on a regular basis, architecture becomes a cognitive system that defamiliarizes the familiar. My interest in redefining the ordinary started with a towel, which features in the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) as a multifunctional device in circumstances across the universe. An object as banal as a towel suddenly obtains new meaning by taking it out of its ordinary context. The spectacle is not rendered by never-before-seen novelties, but through the reinterpretation of banal things.