Claiming the urban industrial landscape
Author(s)Linton, Cynthia Mayhew
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Renee Y. Chow.
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This thesis presents a propositIOn about a prevalent urban condition, that of marginal, left over, or disused space. It contends that these spaces, generally viewed as negative attributes by their communities have inherent value, and that appropriate and limited interventions will allow for new appreciation and greater use of these underutilized urban resources. The site explored in the thesis is an area along the Cambridge and Somerville border between Union Square and the McGrath highway. It supports a variety of light industrial uses that first located there because of proximity to the railroad line. The current actiVities that surround this open area of disused rail sidings are scrap yards, auto parts stores, and warehouses. The open character of the site and the location between residential areas of Cambridge and Somerville give it value. Because of its openness and nearness to dense residential areas it has value as a place from which to view the life of the city, to understand the history of the industrial worker in Somerville, and the growth of the city. It is a gathering place for young people, who are drawn to these sites partly because of their "unstructured" nature. The program chosen to activate this site is one which brings together a shop or production facility for bicycle frames with complementary uses, including an instruction area for bike repair, meeting rooms for bicycle groups, and a retail store. Additionally, there is an outdoor component to the program that consists of ramps and other architectural features where bicycle riding can take place unimpeded by automobile traffic. In giving this program architectural form, the layering, the additive quality of the surrounding buildings, and the "randomness" of the total environment are accommodated, and its vitality reinforced. The contention of the thesis is that this new set of uses is sensitive to the site, its natural characteristics, its architectural character and its community's needs. Understanding the landscape and the essential quality of a place is a crucial step in determining appropriate design solutions.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1992.Includes bibliographical references (p. 108-109).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology