Concealing the Mechanism: The Addition and Rehabilitation of Roanoke's Norfolk and Western Passenger Train Station


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Virginia Tech


Few would deny the importance of preserving our natural landscapes. However, the man-made landscape is just as worthy of preservation/reuse. Buildings represent a language from their past, portraying the builder's concerns and values. Buildings express their characteristics in time, space, and social context. Their presence and conversely, their absence, have a direct impact on their surroundings.

Architecture has been continually enriched through change and dialogue, such as additions, interventions, and renovations of existing buildings. Many buildings exist today that have been poorly maintained, abandoned or the building has been demolished. This has led to the slow deterioration of the basic urban fabric and its framework, causing the overall quality and character of the building and/or its surroundings to become depressing and unattractive.

By rejuvenating/preserving the total environment, as well as, implementing the current design trends, life and history is restored. The challenge and goal of my thesis is to illustrate the positive effect this transformation cycle has on an urban space.

I propose to renovate the historic Norfolk and Western Passenger Train Station located in downtown Roanoke, Virginia, and design an addition onto the building. The train station will serve as a cultural center for the city of Roanoke. By researching and analyzing the history and formal implications of the passenger train station, a sense of harmony, balance, and unity is achieved with the new function of the old space, and therefore, the quality of the existing building is enhanced.



Adaptive Reuse, Urban Renewal