Place In The Middle Landscape

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Virginia Tech

The ideals of a democratic society coupled with the vast expansiveness of the American landscape have led to settlement patterns within the urban environment that are distinctively American and non-traditional. The continual tension between principles of collective majority rule and rights of individual equality has led to an identifiable urban form that is neither city, with its collective characteristics, nor country, with its sense of individual freedom, but a vast middle landscape where the majority of Americans live, work, shop, and recreate. The current middle landscape has developed into a place where accommodation of the automobile, providing its sense of autonomous movement, dictates the form and order of the built environment. While investing great efforts toward the development of means of movement between places - the places themselves have been forgotten. The middle landscape, a legitimate urban form rooted in the history, culture, and natural environment of American city development, has become a place that is vastly scaled and oblivious to human existence. The thesis is an examination of this middle landscape with an attempt at the making of place within an otherwise place-less environment.

Architecture, retail, suburban, urban, commercial