The desert city within : notions about urban form for Phoenix, Arizona
Author(s)Wolfson, Michael A. (Michael Alan)
Notions about urban form for Phoenix, Arizona
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
MetadataShow full item record
Phoenix Arizona is a valley in which the temperature rises above 100 F for over a hundred days a year, with an average of 300 days of sunshine. The Architectural form does not reflect such a climate. Phoenix has been labeled the "City of the 21st Century," because it is a prime example of the phenomenal expansion of cities that had just begun to blossom in the last twenty years. Currently, the city is defined by low density development, bedroom subdivisions, shopping malls, and over-dependence on the automobile; devoid of pedestrians and a street life. It is a city where an aggressive street grid is the only form of definition, in the absence of a physical urbanity that speaks of identity, character and community. This thesis is about making the "crossroads" where people communicate with one another. The need to provide shade to allow pedestrians to partiCipate in the life of the city is an essential determinate of the design. In response to the oppressive heat of the ground plane and Phoenix's relentless street grid, an urban architecture of the desert must find a home beneath the desert floor. In this putative City of the 21 st Century shopping malls lack a connection to the surrounding neighborhoods. By supporting these communities within a physical form that provides services beyond the exchange of commodities in the malls; gives re lief from the grid and cool places we can achieve an urban desert architecture. The project will be the design of an urbane space linking an existing shopping mall to an existing neighborhood . . The act of digging in, the act of finding a cooler place, will be expressed in special places like a library. The project seeks to use the formal notions of landscape, response to climate and personal notions of place, in order to create a series of places that serve the need of the citizens. In many ways, this thesis is a confrontation between the city I remember in and notions of urbanity I have acquired more recently The images that guide this project are are faint, elusive dreams. The thesis will balance an attempt to express these personal visions with a more disciplined approach to design, incorporating: light, structure, dimension, access and landscape. The attempt is to play with the assumptions of my design education, with my instinctive design process and the dreams of my childhood.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1990.Includes bibliographical references (p. 93-94).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology