Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
Historic sites cannot stand alone. The order, hierarchy and narrative sequence of architecture can only survive when surrounding context exists. Often over time the urban fabric changes, leaving future generations unaware of the historic meaning of a disjointed site. By revealing the historic complexity of architecture as it was originally intended to function, we can develop juxtaposition of new and old orders which make old buildings both imply the original order and adapt to new urban fabric.
For instance, in Providence, Rhode Island you have Cathedral Square, located between Downtown and Upper South Providence, which was almost demolished by the government because of the new urban fabric created by the construction of the I-195 highway. This area has been redesigned many times, most recently by I.M.Pei, who attempted to create a “funnel” between two areas in order to make the square dominant in the downtown Weybosset community. This conversion has never been fully achieved The McVinney Auditorium, part of Pei’s design, entirely blocked the view towards the square from the main road. A new project in this building must imply the historic importance of the Cathedral, continuing Pei’s intention and initiating new interventions. A market designed for both automobiles and pedestrians will become a new reason for people to gather in this square, just as Pei’s proposed. People living in this area can buy fresh food from stalls and enjoy lunch and dinner in the restaurants during the daytime. Performance events will fill Cathedral Square with activity at night as well. Also, the market will remind citizens of the old foot-friendly path when pedestrians can easily go through the building to walk from one side to the other. The complete square will be activated again, restoring the original role of the Cathedral and creating a center once more for the neighborhood.
Chu, Simin, "Revealing context & complexity in urban historic sites" (2018). Masters Theses. 231.
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