Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture
Eduardo Benamor Duarte
The Central Pacific, as the first transcontinental railroad, is a remarkable achievement in the history of the United States. However, the story of what happened during its construction, including the struggles of the first generation of immigrants from China who built the tracks, and the resistance of native Americans to cede their lands, is largely forgotten. The California Zephyr, as a long-trip train that currently runs on the Central Pacific tracks, is not only a means of transportation but should also tell the history of survival and resistance embodied by the landscape it moves through and tracks it travels over.
This thesis argues for integrating three fragmented histories, which refer to the resistance of Native Americans, the survival of Chinese immigrant railroad workers, and the train experience during the 1960s, in a linear narrative environment. However, the design strategy is different from the conventional exhibition where audiences visit the space in a specific narrative order and stare at exhibits. On this train, riders can assume the role of either straightforward passengers or audience members. There will be opportunities to acquire knowledge of history by following Chinese immigrants’ dietary habits, reading books about that period of history, enjoying and learning about the landscape and the people who tended it for thousands of years, or entertaining to learn about cultures. Meanwhile, the narrative space created on the California Zephyr will serve as a spatial prototype for moving narration that can be used to integrate history within transportation, throughout the world in the future.
Zhu, Yincheng, "Moving Narration: A journey through history" (2023). Masters Theses. 1168.
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