Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Michael Blier

Second Advisor

Daniel Hewett


Thesis question: can spaces under viaducts become objects of appreciation; can design promote their original characteristics?

This thesis focuses on the space created by the elevated transit infrastructure in urban areas. In recent years, the spaces under viaducts attract attention in the field of landscape architecture. There are many successful practices that transfer the negative space under viaducts to popular urban plazas. Most of those designs, however, may simply regard spaces under viaducts as dangerous spaces or as obstacles in the city. Nevertheless, the scale and spatial characteristics of the spaces under viaducts are not in other public open spaces in the city, the elevated transit infrastructures offer an aesthetic potential. Without understanding those characteristics, the design may impair the original appeals of the space. The thesis goals are to figure out the aesthetic potential of spaces under viaducts and find suitable design methods to promote its original attraction. (*In this thesis, ‘the space under viaduct’ is an umbrella term of space under elevated transit infrastructure including highway, railroads, bridge, flyover and etc.)

The thesis is divided into three phases. Phase 1: an overview of existing designs of the spaces under viaducts and an exploration of the aesthetic potential of these spaces. Phase 2: zooms into the site and researches the relationship between the viaducts and the surrounding communities. Phase 3: find specific design methods to transfer the spaces under viaducts to public open spaces which improve the quality of surrounding communities and also strengthen the original beauty of the spaces under viaducts.



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