Flux: Creating Dynamic Systems Within the Built Environment


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Virginia Tech


In order to create landscapes able to adapt to the constantly shifting demands placed upon it by human and ecological processes, there is a need to incorporate the flux of these human and ecological processes into a physical and dynamic share of the built environment. This will require a perceptual shift in understanding this human/ecological relationship (on the part of both the designer and the user) as well as a change in the design/implementation/management strategies currently employed by designers and planners. Instead of designing landscapes expected to be maintained to look and act in a static manner, the built environment needs to be designed with flux in mind.

This thesis' methodology begins with a position paper narrating the current body of knowledge regarding human experience and treatment of dynamic systems within the built environment, focusing specifically on the Outer Banks, a series of barrier islands located off the northern coast of North Carolina. It looks at this relationship through three languages: scientific (or geomorphologic), legislative and design. Next is a sampling of case studies aimed at emphasizing this dynamic relationship between humans and their surroundings. Finally, the design project incorporates the viewpoint developed in the position paper and applies it to a hypothetical site design located in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The site is currently slated for a Hilton hotel that will be finished by Spring 2006; however, the spirit of the design has the potential to be incorporated into many sites along the coast.



flux, Kitty Hawk, motion, landscape, portability, reflexive