Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
Humans have developed a working relationship with water and the sea since ancient times. Sea level rise is going to challenge that relationship and change people’s lifestyle forever. To better adapt people physically and psychologically to their new life within or near the sea, it is necessary for the coastal building environment to mediate people’s relationship with the ocean, helping people get more comfortable with water.
The Boston fish pier is an icon of the Boston fishing industry. Climate change and overfishing are causing the decline of this industry and making the pier more and more desolate. Hundreds of years ago the site was part of the sea until the man-made land expanded here. As sea level rises, the fish pier will be gradually submerged. Fishing and land expansion have undeniable relations with climate change and sea level rise. This site is a place where the most activity between land and sea took place, and proof that as we intervene and affect nature then we will all be affected by it now. Intentionally pushing out the fishing industry programs is a response to climate change and rethinking about the human-ocean relationship. Instead of keeping intervening with nature, enhancing the boundary, we will allow nature to reoccupy the place, embrace the ocean and try as a species to get along with our new wetter environment. The site is an ideal place to test this new relationship and the role of the built environment as a mediator during the transition period.
The design will mainly respond to the rising water between now and the 2070s by transforming the pier into a public aquatic center with different types of pools, swim learning center, dive learning center and water therapy. The program shift and infrastructural change will create various possibilities for water-related experience. By creating an artificial topography integrated with the buildings, the rising water becomes more like a playful element going in and out of the buildings and gradually changed how people use the spaces. The design of the interior space focuses on the ground level and the swimming education center, using the space and water to control the sense of safety and to help people learn swimming. Eventually, the building environment will help to develop a more intimate water-human relationship.
Bao, Hui, "Architecture as water-human mediator" (2018). Masters Theses. 233.
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