Thesis Abstract

Final Abstract:
Landmarks and historic sites throughout American Cities are overlooked and delegated to the realm of tourism. The people who work and live in the city are disassociated from these spaces because they perceive them as cliché and kitschy and do not engage these sites in their everyday activities. By focusing on one of these historic sites, this thesis will respond to issues of memory, perception and the potential for the human activity of local cultures to inspire new and vibrant relationships within these neglected spaces of the city.

When an individual is a tourist visiting a city each site seems to be part of a long checklist. One never has a chance to site and engage into the landmark, get a sense of local population, just relax. Once these popular sites have been visited and photographed, it does not seem necessary to see them again, unless you are a local living in a city and have many guests. 

To address this dilemma, there needs to be a draw that is constantly changing, constantly providing opportunity for reengagement. This thesis will create a series of forms throughout the city that will seek to connect the tourist aspect of these environments with the everyday activities of the cities inhabitants. The existing infrastructure that links these zones will also be redeveloped and modernized. By designing a series of pavilions and buildings, the perception of the architecture will be changed and modified allowing for expected and unexpected experiences. 

The site required to test the thesis needs to be one rich in history, and fully embedded in the cultural fabric of the city. Boston’s Freedom Trail is not only a physical red line that links different historic landmarks together in Boston, but is also a very unique way to engage tourists into the city. It is also a fully accessible site in breaking language barriers. Everyone can understand how to follow a designated line; no matter what language the user speaks. This site does, however, have many flaws. The “red line” designating the path is lacking in consistent clarity. The paint is peeling, bricks are coming up from the sidewalk, and the path is uneven with the tendency to lead walkers astray. I want to make the site more visually accessible, and more unique to the city. The concept of the path needs to be celebrated and carried out more. 

The result will contribute a new way of looking at architectural design in the urban design realm. Architecture does not always need to be a building to create space. The notion of connecting people through external experiences of a building and existing historic nodes will prove to be one that can be used in other sites around the city, as well as other cities around the country and globe. Boston already has a very innovative method to link architecture together; this thesis will provide Boston with a contemporary take on connection, clarity, and engagement. 

The Architecture created will become a form that links existing architectural forms, buildings, citizens, tourists, and venues together.