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Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Place-Making, Urban Planning, Urban Design, Scale, Participatory
Rebuilding Urban Place:
Negotiating Individuality and Belonging
New London, CT
PETER R. WEBSTER
M.ARCH, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS, AMHERST
Directed by: Professor Kathleen Lugosch
The aim of this thesis is to test an approach for reconnecting ourselves with the urban fabric. By recognising the damage of urban renewal as more than simple blight but rather one that undermines our sense of place, we begin to appreciate the depth of the wound. It is not a matter of reconstructing what was taken away, but rather a process of rehabilitation. Re-establishing a viable sense of place requires the intertwining of both spatial form and social engagement.
The project makes use of a parking lot located between the main street and a disruptive artery that forms a rift in the urban fabric. A spatial reorganization mediates the automotive scale of the rift and re-establishes a human one. A local organization, Hygienic Art, is poised to engage the rift with a new performing art center. Interactivity between the site and the client is reflected outward across the block and inward through the building. The center’s performance and service areas are designed to facilitate participatory events, which support the social interactions of the organisation and the extended community. This thesis examines how scale and materiality can nurture the individual and group experience, and how this might be tested at the scale of the city, street, organisation, event, parcel, and building.
Kathleen R. Lugosch