A marine research lab in Maine : building coastal identity
Author(s)Marinace, F. Paul (Frank Paul)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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If the design of a building originates from the place in which it is built, from the social traditions of that place, and from building traditions which are specific to local materials and climate, then it will project an identity different from that of a building with the same program in a different culture. The question I pose is how far can an approach of regionalism get us toward an architecture which reinforces the particular qualities of life in a specific culture. What are its benefits, what are its limits? The program is a marine research laboratory located on a tidal river in mid-coast Maine. I have chosen the Maine coast as a case study for its strength of individuality and relative isolation from suburban influences. Civilization is marching steadily onward, and Maine will be one of the next places to deal with the cultural entropy which has enveloped the rest of the Nation. Rather than employ historical quotation or imitation to derive a basis for new design, I distill existing properties such as site orientation, inhabitation of topography, use of materials, building systems, and social organization to their most fundamental principles. From these principles, a design strategy can be developed in terms of a vocabulary of forms, materials, organizations, and orientation which will evoke a sense of place consistent with the regional identity, and can be reinterpreted for new programs and technologies which are necessitated by today's building requirements. Over time, new possibilities regarding construction materials, glass technology, insulation, heating, air conditioning and water systems have replaced traditional methods of construction common to the vernacular architecture of the region. While many things have changed, certain fundamental relationships between the building and local environment have not, such as wind strength and direction, vegetation, availability of sunlight, durability of local materials, and local geology and resources, which can still be valuable in the design of a building for this area. This project, therefore, focuses on understanding what is really important about a particular site or situation, and reinventing a formal expression for that idea which complements the existing experience, while proposing a new way of understanding its qualities.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1995.Includes bibliographical references (p. 119-120).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology