Beyond program : designing future industries for the public realm
Author(s)Kerr, Colin T
Designing future industries for the public realm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
MetadataShow full item record
The thesis project is sited on an existing BP oil refinery site in Whiting, Indiana, just across the state border from Chicago. The project aims to operate within the context of the ongoing debate between the private corporation and its relationship with the public realm (including the commodification of natural resources). The background to this project is rooted locally in the early urbanization of this region at the hands of corporations such as U.S Steel, but also historically through an examination of the various positions taken by architects throughout the 20th century in regards to the notion of industrial production. This thesis accepts the plurality of this site and the perceived role of the architect in the industrial sector as given and therefore suggests an architecture that operates as a staging ground for the seemingly conflicting interests of the private corporation and those of the public realm. In this sense, the architecture of the factory must operate strictly within a given PROGRAM that maximizes the efficiency and profit of the corporate client (think Albert Kahn), but it must also act as a mitigator to the challenge presented by a reluctant public, in essence calling for the architecture of the factory to become a symbol of something else entirely, or the ANTI-PROGRAM (think Gropius, LeCorbusier, Mendelsohn). In terms of the lakefront BP site, my project hypothesizes that as oil becomes a less profitable product, companies such as BP will shift their business interests accordingly. Specifically, my project proposes that BP transforms itself from an oil company to a water company. As BP begins bottling water from Lake Michigan and selling it around the world for great profit, they will be sure to spin their new business as an environmentally responsible one, surely noting to the public that they are now financially invested in keeping the Lake clean and free of pollution.(cont.) But such a shift in business will positively stir the debate with the local municipalities that get their water from the Lake and also the environmentalists that cast the bottled-water industry in a similar dark light as the oil companies of today. Therefore, my thesis project will operate within the framework of this debate, employing methods of landscape intervention but also new architecture for a new product (BP water).
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2009.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections."February 2009."Includes bibliographical references (p. 122-124).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology