A matter of context

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


All buildings are a response to the environment, but some are more sensitive than others. Those structures designed as artistic statements are considered to be works of architecture. Buildings make statements with shapes and materials, but often the message is lost. The use of veneers and hidden steel structures makes perception compete with the truth. If a building’s appearance reflects its construction, then its system of values is more easily understood. The· shapes and materials that convey these values can be derived from many sources, but a building’s context can offer vital clues. The architectural elements in the vicinity of a site can inspire new forms of expression.

This project examines a small urban district for the design of new building on a vacant lot. The design is based on the dominant features of the area's existing architecture. · The proposed building is a mixed—use facility that offers commercial and residential spaces. The site of the project is in downtown Roanoke, a city in southwest Virginia.