Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
There is widespread awareness of the damage caused by anthropocentric habits in the West, and there have been great strides in development of “green” materials and solutions. But what is the point of building more, though greener, if we are still building endlessly without utilizing the abundance within the built environment that typically gets dismissed as “waste”? This thesis seeks to translate the concept of degrowth, the downscaling of production and consumption, into architectural language, for more regenerative, equitable and collectivist futures.
The following proposal explores how an architecture of degrowth can facilitate sharing within a community and reclamation of the neighboring waterfront through the adaptive reuse of obsolete industrial infrastructure. Situated amidst oil tanks and scrap yards, the former Providence Gas Company Purifier House, built in 1900, is adapted for reuse in a way that opposes its original role within the fossil fuel industry of Providence Harbor. It addresses the qualities of the South Providence neighborhood and seeks to elevate its strengths for its current residents. If the aim of design practice is less focused on economic productivity, architectural design can become a more community-oriented, thoughtful, and contemplative process. Collectively we need to consider how degrowth can pose challenging, enriching opportunities for construction and help architects question priorities while also challenging existing pitfalls of a field that assumes perpetual growth.
Kane, Erika, "Adaptive reduce: forging architectural futures through degrowth" (2022). Masters Theses. 969.
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