Grounding Architecture: Reading the Landscape

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Virginia Tech


Ground, construction, light and weather: all of these elements when compounded create architecture. What is the built? What is the unbuilt? How can we merge the two? How can we architect a future where buildings are so contextually true to their site that the boundary of what was traditionally exterior and interior are one in the same? A building must be rooted in the site, it must be of the ground. It has to be grounded.

The roots of the building must dig deep into the meaning of what the site is, what it was, and what it wants to be. Through careful discernment of these varied layers of ground are, we can begin to understand the levels and layers that take place within a structure.

This thesis strives to ground architecture. The library at Rock Creek Park is nestled into the site, it is of the site, and honest to the site. A building that seems to grow out of Rock Creek Park as it exists in a city, a building that pulls the park into the city, and the city into the park. It is a glimpse of what potential the futures can hold if we, as designers, decide to collaborate, to treat each discipline as a layer of groundwork. A groundwork and foundation that must be laid first and then consciously called to mind to create a strong foundation for the design. This common thread must be kept taut throughout the design process.

The scene of this thesis is set at the corner of P St. and 23rd St. NW in Washington, DC at the berm of Rock Creek Park; at the brink of City and Nature.



Learning, Park, Library, Ground, Architecture