An Urban Park Pavilion as a Sense of Place: A Community Theater and Water Taxi Terminal at the Foot of King Street
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My thesis is regarding the regeneration of identity and a sense of place on the unappealing nature of public open space, in terms of its urban context and architecture. A sense of place is related to the quality and character of making a place unique or special. It could be described as the established atmosphere or character of an individuals relationship with a place. So a good sense of place becomes a place that people would like to be a part of and enhances a human's positive emotional attachment making people feel connected to a place. So creating a sense of place should be based on understanding the cultural identity, social activity, physical environment and heritage of a place. Shown on the left are two images captured from the movie "Lost in Translation"an American comedy-drama film directed and written by Sofia Coppola in 2003. The film revolves around an aging actor, Bob Harris, and a recent college graduate actress, Charlotte. These two Americans develop empathy after meeting by chance at their hotel bar in Tokyo. The movie explores themes of loneliness, insomnia, existential boredom and culture shock against the surroundings of a modern Japanese city. Both images from the movie show an unbalanced scale of the environment around the actor. These images reminded me of the first impression of disconnected or disappointed that I had of the atmosphere at the end of King Street in Alexandria, Virginia. The place was not comfortable to be in with its own character and the access to the water was hard to be sense visually. The first impression of this place still occupied my mind rather than any other attractive aspects within the area. This unpleasant experience arose from my own individual relationship with the place but later I figured out that it had already been seen as a public issue. These circumstances motivated me to think about how to regenerate a strong local sense of place in the area. The site of the project is an entire block from the Old Dominion Boat Club at the King Street Park to the Waterfront Park on Prince Street along the Potomac River in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. The main access to the site is at the end of King Street. King Street has been the dominant connection to the water and the main corridor, carrying most of the entertainments in Old Town. Currently though, it lacks designated routes to the water at the end of the street. This project, an urban park pavilion, is composed of four different programs: the roof park, plaza, community performance Theater and boat taxi terminal which will be treated as equal value by a juxtaposed arrangement and interconnected street grids. My thesis will narrates how to develop a sense of place through the interaction of quality of architecture, infrastructure, cultural identities, social activities and the environment.
- Masters Theses