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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Architecture

Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded

2013

Month Degree Awarded

May

Keywords

Dance, Holyoke, Consciousness, Biosphere, Landscape, Architecture

Abstract

Given humankind’s ability to dramatically affect the natural systems that support life on our planet, what is the designer’s role in building empathic consciousness towards our biosphere?

Our consciousness is the gestalt effect of what we know, feel, and believe. The built environment is both illustrator and shaper of this shared consciousness. Our attitude toward the biosphere is a product of the ways the industrial revolution shaped our landscape, economy, social organization, governance, art, and design. This thesis uses a site in Holyoke, Massachusetts (160 Middle Water St.), to test theories about how spaces change the way we think, feel, and act toward our planet. Holyoke, the first planned industrial city in the nation, is a cultural landscape that tells the story of reshaping natural systems for human benefit.

The program for the space emerges from the budding creative economy in Holyoke. Specifically, movement artists are using dance to build community, increase health and fitness, and express emotional experience. 160 Middle Water offers a vision for this engagement, connecting dancers to the earth, river, and sky.

This thesis builds on the precedents of landscape architects, architects, sculptors, scientists, poets, and ecologists who have shaped our built environment and framed our view of the world. The tools belong to design disciplines, but the theories are shared by those committed to synchronizing ourselves with the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part.

First Advisor

Carey Clouse

Second Advisor

Mark Lindhult

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