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A STUDY OF INTERACTION

JONATHAN HISER


A STUDY OF INTERACTION THESIS BOOK 2012 - 2013 JONATHAN HISER ADVISOR: JIM BASSETT


TABLE OF CONTENTS A STUDY OF INTERACTION JONATHAN HISER

THESIS STATEMENT CULTIVATING A THESIS Strangers and the City Public Plazas The Base Plane Spatial Condition Studies Competition Entry DEVELOPING SITE AND PROGRAM Precedent: NoDa, Charlotte,NC Avenue of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA Cast of Characters GENERATING INTERACTION Spatial Interaction Programming the Mass Building Overview Public Space Cultural Consumption Transport Interchange Through Cladding Transport Interchange meets Cultural Consumption REFLECTING ON A THESIS BUILDING A LIBRARY References GIVING GRATITUDE


THESIS STATEMENT This Thesis studies interaction - how two or more entities affect each other - through social, spatial, and programmatic elements. It asks how formal architecture can affect social interaction. It asks how existing transit infrastructure can interact with cultural consumption. It asks how the concept of interaction can guide decisions from the top down to the details.

Interaction: a kind of action occurring as two or more objects affect each other Transport Interchange: a place where people and goods are exchanged between transport modes Arts District: a demarcated urban area intended to create a critical mass of cultural consumption


CULTIVATING A THESIS This year long endeavor rooted itself in a desire to study people interacting in an urban environment. Initial readings focused on the nuances of people, strangers, as they went about their daily lives. Stranger interaction occurs in the public realm. This includes plaza spaces, rail cars, buses, sidewalks, or anywhere people move or congregate. However, these thoughts on stranger interaction do not necessarily materialize into architecture. The materialization comes through studying and analyzing public plazas. What makes a plaza enjoyable and a place for congregation? The cultivation of a thesis begins to bring in information from various sources in order to seed a thesis project.


CULTIVATING A THESIS STRANGERS AND THE CITY

INVISIBLE CITIES AND STRANGER STUDIES 101 The exploration of strangers in the city launched with readings from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, and Follow Me Down by Kio Stark, as well as a study by William H. Whyte, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. From Invisible Cities, a passage about the fictional city of Chloe, the city of strangers, became an entry point into conceptual thinking on social interaction.

“In Chloe, a great city, the people

who move through the streets are all strangers. At each encounter, they imagine a thousand things about one another; meetings which could take place between them, conversations, surprises, caresses, bites. But no one greets anyone; eyes lock for a second, then dart away, seeking other eyes, never stopping.” “...when some people happen to find themselves together, taking shelter from the rain under an arcade, or crowding beneath an awning of the bazaar, or stopping to listen to the band in the square, meetings...are consummated among them without a word exchanged, without a finger touching anything, almost without an eye raised.”

The interest in social interaction here lies in the daily routines that bring people together, as they wait on a bus, or ride a subway, or take their lunch breaks. These routines are hinted at in studies and a book by Kio Stark, where she mentions that, “when we talk to strangers, we’re interrupting the expected narratives of daily life, shifting perspectives, forming unexpected connections.” She further describes “people as units of measure. The clock of the world” meaning that as we all fall into our daily routines, we can sometimes tell if we are earlier or later than normal based on whether or not we see the same people during our daily commute.


Chloe - City of Strangers “The people who move through the streets are all strangers. At each encounter, they imagine a thousand things about one another; meetings which could take place between them, conversations, surprises, caresses. But no one greets anyone; eyes lock for a second, then dart away, seeking other eyes, never stopping.”

...when some people happen to find themselves together, taking shelter from the rain under an arcade, or crowding beneath an awning of the bazaar, or stopping to listen to the band in the square, meetings... are consummated among them without a word exchanged, without a finger touching anything, almost without an eye raised.

“Premise is that strangers and cities are inherently intertwined.” -Kio Stark, Stranger Studies 101


CULTIVATING A THESIS PUBLIC PLAZA SPACES

THE SOCIAL LIFE OF SMALL URBAN SPACES While pursuing the intangible and uncontrollable aspects of strangers interacting in a city, how does architecture begin to play a role in these daily meetings of strangers? In The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, William H. Whyte studies how people use public spaces in order to set out guidelines for developing new public spaces. From studying Seagram Plaza in New York City, he establishes basic conditions for a successful plaza. In a general sense, he established that a plaza needs to have: • an effective market radius of three blocks • an inviting connection to the street • a sense of enclosure in the space • high pedestrian volume and a concentration and mixture of activities In addition to these general conditions, Whyte identifies a need for sociable and sittable spaces as well as environmental factors that play into a plaza’s success. He defines sociable spaces as retail frontage for shops to attract people, food in the form of vendors and cafes, and a need for a performance aspect (stepped seating to allow the street to become a stage). Sittable spaces include steps, ledges, chairs, and benches. He says they should be physically and socially comfortable, be wide enough for two people to occupy (30” to 36”), and the height should be between 1’ and 3’. Finally, the environmental factors include allowing for southern sun or reflected light, protection from harsh winds while allowing for summer breezes, and inclusion of water features for noise reduction and space for ledges. These features are not a requirement, rather, they represent a range of what makes a plaza successful. They start to materialize some of the social interaction concepts by finding ways to encourage, not force, interaction between people within an urban environment. This is done through providing places people want to occupy, like the Seagram Plaza.


“People tend to sit where there are places to sit.” -William H. Whyte, SLoSUS


CULTIVATING A THESIS

SOCIAL MEETS SPATIAL: THE BASE PLANE FORM, SPACE, AND ORDER

To further research into social interaction, the study of spatial conditions and how they affect people becomes a focus. A chapter from Francis Ching’s Form, Space, and Order begins to address the effect spatial relationships have on social conditions. It studies the spatial and visual continuity of a space as the base plane is elevated and depressed. A few quotes from Ching’s studies can help frame the interactions within the thesis, and the approach to creating spaces within the thesis project. “The articulation of the surface of the ground or floor plane is often used in architecture to define a zone of space within a larger spatial Context... to differentiate between a path of movement and places of rest, define a field from which the form of the building rises out of the ground, or to articulate a function zone in a one room environment.” “Elevating a portion of the base plane will create a field of space within a larger spatial context. The change in level along the edge of the elevated plane defines the boundaries of its field and interrupts the flow of space across its surface.” “A field of space can be articulated by depressing a portion of the base plane. The boundaries of the field are defined by the vertical surfaces of the depression. These boundaries are not implied, as in the case of an elevated plane, but visible edges that begin to form the walls of the space.”

• Linear vertical elements (like columns) can define edges of volumes • A vertical plane articulates the space in front • An “L” shaped configuration generates a focus along the diagonal • Parallel planes define a volume that is axially oriented along the open ends. • A “U” shaped configuration defines a volume oriented towards the open end • Four planes enclose one space while articulating the space around the enclosure.


4

5

of the field is well defined (1) •• Edge Visual and spatial continuity is maintained • Physical access is easily accommodated

visual continuity is maintained (2) •• Some Spatial continuity is interrupted

• Physical access requires stairs or ramps

(3)

depressed field interrupts the ground plane (1) •• AIt can remain an integral part of the space depth weakens the visual relationship (2) •• Increased Definition as a distinct volume is strengthened the ground plane is above eye level, the (3) • Once depressed plane becomes a separate and distinct room

• Visual and Spatial continuity is interrupted • The elevated plane is isolated from the ground plane • The elevated plane is transformed into a sheltering element for the space below

transition from one level to another (4) • Acangradual promote spatial continuity between the depressed field and the surrounding space

a space can express the significance (5) • Elevating of the space • Depressing a space can allude to a sheltering, protective space


CULTIVATING A THESIS

SPATIAL CONDITION STUDIES Diagrammatic sketches of either existing conditions, or conditions from readings or lectures provide an entry into thinking about space. They take conditions and cut sections through them, giving a very basic spatial diagram, all while providing an opportunity to “collect” spaces. Existing conditions include larger scale city environments (Bellinzona, Switzerland), smaller interior courtyard spaces (Sapienza), individual performance spaces (Mozarteum), and planar buildings that adjust the base plane (Farnsworth House). Meanwhile, some of the other conditions come from Louis Kahn and his lecture on The Room, The Street, and The Human Agreement, as well as lectures from the Building Cities class taught at Virginia Tech. The Kahn quotes are paired with spaces imagined while reading from his lecture, and the other diagrams derive from thinking about the street as a room within a city.

“In a small room with just another person, what you say may never have been said before.” -Louis Kahn

“A lightless corridor, never a room, aspires to the hall overlooking the garden.” -Louis Kahn

Typical Street: Medieval Building Cities

Typical Street Modern American Building Cities


Sketch Bellinzona, Switzerland

Sapienza Francisco Borromini Rome, Italy

Mozarteum Universtiy Salzburg, Austria

Farnsworth House Mies van der Rohe Plano, Illinois


CULTIVATING A THESIS

INITIAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THESIS THOUGHTS COMPETITION ENTRY

This competition entry provided an opportunity to begin implementing thoughts on interaction, while searching for a site and program to fit the thesis project. It called for development of a mixed use block, combining residential, commercial, and public space.

Lehigh St.

N. Broa d St

The focus was on the public space. Taking from William H. Whyte’s guidelines, four criteria for a successful plaza become relevant here. To start, within three blocks of the site are several transit options, major commercial space and plenty of residential areas. The proposal opens the plaza space to the street in the site’s northeast corner creating an inviting connection to the street. The building begins to provide an enclosure to the interior space. The mixed use aspect of the program provides a variety of activities for the area.

Site Train Stations Bus Stops To Center City 0

150

300

600

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15TH

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Housing Retail Pedestrian

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DEVELOPING SITE AND PROGRAM Development of the program and site selection centered on encouraging social interaction. Specifically, decisions were made based on maximizing this interaction. This meant finding a site, that by nature, will bring people together, and developing a program with a range of activities to attract people.


DEVELOPING SITE AND PROGRAM AVENUE OF THE ARTS PHILADELPHIA, PA

Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts is a 3.5 mile stretch of Broad Street. The Philadelphia City Planning Commission describes the vision for the Avenue of the Arts as “one of enhancing the corridor’s presence as a strong Regional asset” through its establishment as a major cultural center. Since 1993, the city has been revitalizing and connecting the various neighborhoods along the Avenue.

Broad S

The Commission published a report on their plans for the Avenue which has given direction to the thesis project in terms of developing the site and program. The area is a “nexus of public transportation routes and facilities, including SEPTA regional rail and subway stations and Amtrak’s North Philadelphia station along its Northeast Corridor route [and] helps to define this northernmost subarea [as a] gateway to the Avenue of the Arts North”

St.

t.

Lehigh

Avenue of the Arts

Center City

Washin

gton S

t.

“The area may lack a critical mass of residents and workers to improve the commercial potential in the area” “The recognition of the area as a transportation hub points to the appropriate application of transitoriented development principles, which would build on the previous investment and promote a mixed use environment by exploring the potential for residential uses to repopulate the area.” “Gateway to the Avenue of the Arts North” “The northern entrance to the Avenue of the Arts should be celebrated, perhaps like the gateway at its southern terminus at Broad Street and Washington Avenue, where a public art installation on four corners of the intersection serves to mark the entrance.”

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Washington St. and S. Broad St.

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Miles

1.5


Broad and Lehigh


DEVELOPING SITE AND PROGRAM

N. BROAD ST AND LEHIGH ST. PHILADELPHIA, PA

The site is a roughly 400’ by 250’ block at the intersection of N. Broad St. and Lehigh St. This location on the intersection’s southwest corner makes the corner and site a prime hub for connecting the bus stops and Amtrak, regional rail, and metro stations.

AMTRAK PHN

Conditionally, the site offers opportunity for studying social, spatial, and programmatic interaction. The combination of a transit hub and arts district provides programmatic variety. In turn, the variety of transit options, the nature of Broad street being a primary route into center city, and openness of the site provides opportunity for developing social interaction. Spatially, the site has a rail line that cuts diagonally across the rectilinear city grid. The cut is powerful enough that it starts to shape the buildings directly around it.

METRO N. PHILA

METRO N. PHILA

LEHIGH ST.

A,B

N. BROAD ST.

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SE

N 0

50 100

View up the rail line at an existing Regional Rail Station. This cut is what runs under the site.

Site model photograph of the same view, the top plate becomes a plane sitting over this rail cut through the city, powerful enough to affect buildings like the Botany 500 Building.

A

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Botany 500 Building

N. Broad St.

Lehigh St.


DEVELOPING SITE AND PROGRAM PRECEDENT STUDY

NODA HISTORIC ARTS DISTRICT: CHARLOTTE, NC To further develop a program, the North Davidson Street, NoDa, neighborhood in Charlotte, NC, is used as a reference. The area features various conditions similar to the North Broad Street site in Philadelphia. Both are near railways and contain various transportation modes. Existing in NoDa are bus lines and an Amtrak Station, with a light rail and regional high speed rail line planned for the area. The NoDa neighborhood is a Historic Arts District about 2 miles from downtown Charlotte. It is an urban revitalization project, converting a former mill and village site into an arts district. The area has a strong identity, featuring art galleries and studios, restaurants and bars, shops, performance venues, and residences. Inspired by the Nolli plan, the plan of NoDa, draws the public space of restaurants, bars, shops, parking lots, and galleries as open space. This leaves places like banks, residences, offices, and similar programs as blacked out city parts. It also blacks out the “back of house� parts of shops and restaurants. However space is not all black and white. Restaurants and shops are open space, but there is an expectation that you be a customer to use the space. That said, these spaces become more gray. They should be inviting to the public in order to attract business, but are not a purely public space.

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iles

2M

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Business

Historic

Residential

Bus Stops

Amtrak

North Tryon St.

North

Tryon S

n Ave

Matheso

36th Street

North David

son St.

North Davidson St.

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DEVELOPING A PROGRAM CAST OF CHARACTERS THE ARTS AND TRANSIT

Through all of the research into site and program, a few key characters emerge. These quick models highlight some of those characters as they relate to certain programmatic elements for the thesis.

Outdoor Musician and Audience Depicted: Solo musician and audience Represents: need for outdoor performance space Example: Formal stage, amphitheater, space for impromptu performances

Indoor Musicians and Audience Depicted: Jazz band on stage Represents: formal indoor performance space Examples: Auditorium, theatre, jazz club, bar


Artist in Studio Depicted: Painter working Represents: space to practice the arts Examples: Studio space for visual arts, rehearsal space for music, theatre, and dance.

Visitors Viewing Art Depicted: patrons of an art gallery Represents: space for cultural consumption Examples: gallery space, audience seating

Transit Riders Depicted: waiting on a bus Represents: spaces for transport interchange Example: lobbies, bus stops, train platforms

Public Space Users Depicted: Booths in a restaurant Represents: The general public using the building Example: Restaurants, cafes,


GENERATING INTERACTION With conceptual thoughts, a site, and a foundation for program established, the Thesis project becomes a built environment to test these thoughts, and to look at interaction in new ways. The main focus remains in the social, spatial, and programmatic realms, but wants to look at how interaction can be a generative concept in all aspects of the project.


GENERATING INTERACTION SPATIAL INTERACTION BUILDING MASSING

At the city scale, the form of the building will interact with the urban space. The building’s volume will create space on the site through it’s void. Francis Ching’s diagrams provide a way to look at the spaces defined while developing the building mass. Early in development, a few rules regarding massing were established. • The cut from the rail line will establish a border on the site’s Northeast corner. • The building will create semi-protected public space. • A pedestrian corridor can mimic the rail line, carving through the site and building volume.


GENERATING INTERACTION SPATIAL INTERACTION BUILDING MASSING STUDIES

The first massing studies conducted used a base program of residential, commercial, public exhibition space, a main atrium, and an auditorium space. Typically, commercial and residential space were combined into two story modular blocks, while remaining exhibition space, auditorium, and atrium were part of the taller cubical mass. The first scheme (pictured right) was a further development of the massing below. It used the rail cut to slice the large cubical mass, while the creation of a pedestrian corridor further cut the mass, resulting in an entrance. Within this volume, the exhibition space was on the second floor, while the auditorium space on the third floor bridges over the pedestrian cut and connects the masses.


1st Floor

2nd Floor

3rd Floor


GENERATING INTERACTION PROGRAMMING THE MASS SECTION DRAWING

In order to showcase some of the developing rooms, and to start applying the cast of characters to the space, a section was cut through the site. The drawing reveals the various characters in their respective places, but also reveals the relationship of these rooms to each other. A critical mass of activity centers around the larger volume, which houses the atrium, auditorium, and event space. The mass is also closer to the primary corner of the site.

Outdoor Musician and Audience

Artist in Studio

Indoor Musicians and Audience


Public Space Users

Information Desk

Transit Riders

Visitors viewing art in Gallery

Lobby Space


GENERATING INTERACTION BUILDING OVERVIEW PLANS

In this scheme, the buildings contain a mixture of programs to encourage use on a daily basis. The buildings frame public plaza spaces connected through a wide pedestrian path. Beyond the list of spaces here, the plazas provide informal performance spaces in the Northeast Plaza, and a more formal outdoor stage in the Southwest Plaza. In addition, this scheme introduces mass transit options through several “Park and Ride� commuter spaces, while connecting to a regional rail line.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

Entry and Atrium Office Theatre Stage Stage Shop and Storage Dressing/Prep Room Retail/Commercial Professional Studio Gallery Cafe Mechanical Event/Exhibition Space Catering/Exhibition Support Rehearsal/Studio Space Retail/Commercial Outdoor Stage

10 5

2 4

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1

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7 15 8

1

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7 1st Floor N 0

8 16


13

10 3

7 7 11

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11 10 / 12 3rd Floor N 0

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GENERATING INTERACTION BUILDING OVERVIEW SECTION

This section takes the same approach as the previous section, but adds a couple spaces and reworks others. For instance, the previous auditorium becomes a full theatre, the mass transit is consolidated, and the atrium and informal performance space are further developed. A loading dock is added to support the theatre space, and is helped by the slope of the site and establishment of a base plane extending across, placing the building on a podium, or stage.

Atrium


Loading Dock

Theatre

Informal Performance Space

Mass Transit


GENERATING INTERACTION PUBLIC SPACE NORTHEAST CORNER

The Northeast Corner of the site presents itself to the main intersection, becoming the primary entrance to the site. Mimicking the existing rail line cut under the site, a pedestrian corridor cuts its way through the site, carving into the ground, and providing space to mingle and interact on the site.

N 0

8 16


GENERATING INTERACTION CULTURAL CONSUMPTION FORMAL PERFORMANCE SPACE

The roughly 400 seat proscenium theatre is the largest volume, inserting itself into the overall building mass. This formal performance space is designed to accommodate live events, essentially real-time interactions with humans. Different performance types will vary this interaction, however, no seat is farther than 70 feet from center stage. This distance is the limit for which people can distinguish facial expressions and makes for a more intimate, interactive performance space.


GENERATING INTERACTION CULTURAL CONSUMPTION INFORMAL PERFORMANCE SPACE

The informal performance area sits in the heart of the public plaza on the Northeast Corner. The area is formed through a pedestrian path carved into the site, and is the main axis through the site. The terraced steps form seats for impromptu musical or street performances or provide space to simply watch the city and its people.

N 0

8 16


GENERATING INTERACTION TRANSPORT INTERCHANGE CAR / BUS / RAIL

Transport Interchange: A place where people are exchanged between transport modes. Part of the Philadelphia Planning Commission’s vision was to make this area a transit hub. This vision can also encourage social interaction by increasing pedestrian traffic through the site. Specifically through a rail platform, bus stops, and commuter parking spaces. The existing nearby SEPTA Regional Rail line is moved from its current location (~400 ft. to the SE) to directly under the NE Corner of the site (where the line cuts under the site anyway). This will create a direct connection to the new arts center, giving easier access to the site. As part of moving the platform, the need to create access to the platform arises. In doing this, stairwells are cut into the site, with a 3’ concrete wall protruding above the initial base plane of the plaza space. This serves as a guardrail to warn of the opening, allows for light to reach the platform below, and provides space for seating while waiting on buses at the bus stop.


METRO N. PHILA

LEHIGH ST.

Bus Stop

New SEPTA Platform

Commuter Parking

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AI

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NA

IO

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AR PT

SE


GENERATING INTERACTION THROUGH CLADDING FACADE, COLUMNS, DETAILS

Interaction works its way into detailing the facades, and making decisions on the cladding. The building is clad in a gray-blue aluminum panel system, sitting on top of a concrete podium. The podium is pulled three feet up from the ground, as if the volumes begin to protrude from the ground. More importantly, the panelling establishes a 5’ by 3’ grid on the facade. This allows for columns, windows, and entrances to interact with the grid by pushing, puncturing, or highlighting parts of the grid. The columns interact by pushing the grid out slightly, creating a relief in the facade. The large windows become frames on which people are projected. During the day. the people moving around reflect off the glass, and at night the interior illumination creates dynamic silhouettes as people move through the space.


GENERATING INTERACTION THROUGH ENTERING

Primary entrances into the building are emphasized by small volumes protruding through the facade, and pushing the facade out into space. In addition, this volume provides a vestibule to buffer from the outside elements as well as orient visitors to the main atrium.


GENERATING INTERACTION

TRANSPORT INTERCHANGE MEETS CULTURAL CONSUMPTION ATRIUM SPACE The atrium is the central location for an information hub, combining needs for the Avenue of the Arts and the mass transit infrastructure. It is the location of an information desk and support offices. The large open space provides various levels of visual connection through balconies. It becomes the fusion of transit riders checking schedules and art patrons mingling before and after performances. In addition, the open floor plan allows for various seating and art placement. The space is a programmatic junction, a transition space between the public outdoor space and interior theatre space, and a place for social interaction to occur.


GENERATING INTERACTION

TRANSPORT INTERCHANGE MEETS CULTURAL CONSUMPTION VERTICAL CIRCULATION In the same way that cars, buses, and trains transport people, stairs and elevators transport people vertically through a building. The main stair within the atrium wraps around the elevator, with the landing extending into a larger platform. This extension punctures through facade and creates an alcove within the stair. Artwork and installation can inhabit this space, providing people the change to consume this art while moving between floors. On the exterior, this volume can become a canvas for murals or, in this case, a large image of the Philadelphia Skyline. This can enable a deeper connection to the city, by giving the plaza an iconic image of the place the building is rooted in. An earlier iteration used cubical attachments to the circulation tower, and are pictured and drawn below.


REFLECTING ON A THESIS “Premise is that strangers and cities are inherently intertwined.” -Kio Stark “...when we talk to strangers, we’re interrupting the expected narratives of daily life, shifting perspectives, forming unexpected connections.” -Kio Stark As we go about our daily lives, we constantly interact with each other and our environment. Whether through a passing nod or subtle wave to a stranger, or a friend, as they pass by, we have an effect on each other every day. In a way, we are characters on a city size stage. Our every day performance is enabled by the built environment. Building facades become backdrops for street performers. Plazas and steps become seating to enjoy people-watching within the city. The built environment is the container for every day interaction.


BUILDING A LIBRARY:

REFERENCES (CAST OF BOOKS) A World History of Architecture (2008) Michael Fazio, Marian Moffett, Lawrence Wodehouse Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture (1991) David Brownless, David De Long NoDa Vison Plan 2030 (2010) NoDa Vision Committee Building Construction Illustrated (2008) Francis Ching Extending the Vision for North Broad Street (2005) Philadelphia City Planning Commision Architecture: Form, Space, and Order (1979) Francis Ching Invisible Cities (1972) Italo Calvino Follow Me Down (2011) Kio Stark Louis Kahn: Essential Texts (2003) Robert Twombly (editor) Not Pictured: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (1980) William H. Whyte Building Type Basics for Performing Arts Facilities (2006) Hugh Hardy


GIVING GRATITUDE I would like to thank my friends and family for all of their support through not only this year long thesis endeavor, but also the five year college endeavor, and the 23 and counting year life endeavor. Thanks for always listening to the rants about the love-hate relationship that is the studio environment. I would also like to thank all the professors who have helped out along the way. Without their insight and suggestions, this project would probably still be stuck at 18% gray. Special thanks to my thesis advisor, Jim Bassett, for putting my wheels back on the ground whenever they were spinning. Below: All work from this year pinned up to one wall, spanning roughly 32’



Study of Interaction