Phaneritic House

MIT Fall 2020
Course: 4.154 / Matter to Data

Anton Garcia Abril
Jaehun Woo

Starting in the early 19th century, central coastal Maine served as a major source of granite for the United State building industry. Skilled workers flooded the region, primarily from Scandinavia and the British Isles to harvest, cut and dress stone in the quarries. Once harvested, it was brought to the shore where it was put on ships to travel down the Atlantic Coast and ultimately throughout the United States. In the early 20th century, however, as advances in steel and concrete revolutionized the construction industry massive stone construction fell out of favor and eventually Maine’s granite industry would collapse. Today, coastal Maine is scattered with dormant quarries. One quarry remains active, however, and that is the Crotch Island Quarry in Stonington, ME. The quarry has been in operation since the 1870s. Over the course of 150 years, the quarry has produced a massive amount of waste rock that is built up on the island, creating a secondary landscape on top of the bedrock.

For the construction of a new home, readily available waste rock on Crotch Island will be brought to Scragg Island, an uninhabited piece of land, roughly two miles away. In the absence of the skilled labor that once saturated the region, this waste rock is simply stacked, forming a pixelated topography or inverted quarry. Amongst this loosely orthogonal pile of rocks, the comforts of home are all embedded. Composite columns serve as anchor points for a concrete shell roof composed of intersecting catenary sections.

Granite is a phaneritic rock, meaning it has a course-grained crystal structure, visible to the naked eye. This is the result of a slowly cooling magma that allows the crystals to grow. Like the geologic structure of the granite, Phaneritic House is a course-grained interpretation of a masonry structure. A home made of stone for an age without masons.