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Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Architecture, Sustainability, Community, Agriculture
The purpose of this study is to explore an architectural response to the current change in human civilization through the design of a residential neighborhood. Many in our society refer to this change as “going green” while others have found different words to name this phenomenon. Interest in local products, a desire to increase density while shifting away from suburban sprawl and community oriented housing developments are among many topics related to this change. However, these are the specific topics, which will inform the design concept, as this project will include community integration and agriculture in an urban neighborhood context. There will be an opportunity to inform the current zoning revisions committee in Northampton, Massachusetts, the general public about densification of a neighborhood and the broader professional architecture community.
The site is an existing neighborhood block in Northampton, Massachusetts. This neighborhood currently contains a range of housing types, from single to multiple family, on small segregated parcels. The site also has been recognized as an area to increase housing development in the town of Northampton due to its proximity to the town center and because it will preserve open space in other parts of town. This redesign will incorporate issues surrounding existing buildings, new construction of housing supported by zoning changes, common land, community facilities and urban agriculture. The research method consists of precedent studies of various housing types, which explore new methods for construction and exceptional spatial dynamics related to residential life. Building codes and zoning have been explored and supported in meetings with city officials. Research included readings on the topics of community, peak oil, human patterns, regenerative design, food production, natural building, permaculture and smart growth. Additionally I have integrated my own observations as a long time resident of the area.
The conclusions arrived at lead to an alternative site design with unique communally owned features along with three different housing types that are appropriate to achieve a new method of neighborhood planning. The site design is created out of layers of strategies that pose an option in contrast to the city’s current model.
Kathleen R. Lugosch