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Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

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Month Degree Awarded



Visual characteristics, city components, aesthetic principles, material permanence, experience, Helena Montana


The larger architectural context of cities must be understood in order to effectively design buildings. If a building ignores its surroundings, it will not hold up to time and will adversely affect the city in which it stands. This can be seen in multiple of disarrayed cities and their commercial-driven building inventory. So, what makes a good city stand out, and how can this be applied to buildings? There are the four basic principles designers and planners seemed to have forgotten. The first is the layout of basic city components and their influence on current and future identity. The second is the aesthetic principles of scale and proportion. Choosing appropriate material permanence to your location is also important because it enhances or subtracts from the city’s identity. And finally, the experience of the observer must be impactful. If these principles are applied correctly and harmoniously, they can effectively heal the conflicting issues of transportation, pedestrian access, social venues, historic reverence and much more. But most importantly, they can be applied to buildings. Buildings can individually initiate the healing of an urban fabric if they are cognizant to their surroundings. Therefore in this thesis, I want to apply these four basic principles in the rehabilitation of a malfunctioning junction in my hometown of Helena, Montana. By designing a singular building with a guiding master plan, I hope to stimulate a chain reaction. This transformation would take the current issues and interweave these principles into an effective solution that will not only revitalize the area but also become a tourist destination.


First Advisor

Kathleen R. Lugosch

Second Advisor

Stephen Schreiber