Anadiplosis: In between Cemetery and City, Sacred and Secular


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Virginia Tech


Architecture can be related to narrative in many ways. Architecture talks about the form, function, materiality, circulation, environment of artificial space. Narrative has its media, form, method, genre, rhetoric, in order to describe a series of related events or experiences. People are the users of all architectural spaces. The experience of space is always manipulated by the designer from the beginning of the design phase. It is the designer who creates and develops this process, just like the writer, who creates written narratives.

In this thesis, I did abundant research on the common ways to complete a written narrative. One type of the rhetoric device, Anadiplosis, which is always used in poetry and lyrics, is the way to create a transition between adjacent sentences and emphasize this transition by repeating the last word of the preceding clause in the next.

The downtown area of Savannah, Georgia in the U.S., which was designed by James Edward Oglethorpe, is almost equally divided into 30 smaller wards, most of them with a square in the middle and surrounded by either residential or commercial structures. However, as the Colonial Cemetery was existed before the city sprawled to its nearby area, resulting in two wards that have unique layouts that do not have a typical square. The cemetery, although filled with lawn and trees, has totally different functions and atmosphere compared with these squares, This cemetery creates an important relationship with its adjacent urban area, which is separated by a wall. History of Yellow Fever pandemic and civil war, which is strongly related to the cemetery, were explored during the research.

The site is located in a current vacant space outside the east wall of the cemetery. One section of the site would have had a square as part of Oglethorpe's ward design principles. This thesis creates an anadiplosis between the cemetery and the city, as a transition between the sacred and the secular realm. In addition to extending the missing square to the site, this thesis also includes a building that acts as a memorial, while contributing to the urban design and commercial functions of the neighborhood. When people walk from one side to the other throughout the building, the transition is created floor by floor, and each of their functions are both overlapped with the preceding and the subsequent one. Mutual sight lines are also created to remind people of this transition.



Narrative, Rhetoric, Anadiplosis, History, Savannah, Public Space