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PATCHES, FIELDS, AND THE IN-BETWEEN THE INTERSECTIONS OF ARCHITECTURE AND LANDSCAPE IN THE [FORMERLY] URBAN

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE THESIS BRYAN RAYMOND


Abstract Youngstown, Ohio reveals a paradox common among other postindustrial cities: for decades its population, economy, and industries have been in a state of perpetual motion, yet the city itself appears to have come to a halt, lingering in a state of uncertainty. The precarious status of the city has been induced by the departure of its once-powerful steel industry, resulting in the exodus of over half of its peak population. Given its lack of density, the city is now overwhelmed by its accumulated matter, leaving its landscape fragmented and perforated with vacancy and residual spaces. Youngstown joins other Rust Belt cities in the discussion of “shrinking cities,” a term adopted to describe cities that have been impacted by a significant population loss in a relatively short period of time. In the now diffuse, low-density urban fabric, landscape urbanism holds a newfound relevance, able to take on the role of a framework that catalyzes urban renewal from a large-scale perspective. The thesis also explores the possibilities of achieving urban intensity without density. To this end, the measure of intensity must shift from the quantitative to the qualitative. Intensity is measured not from the mere juxtaposition and accumulation of urban form, but from the overlaps and tensions between dissimilar programs in the process of flux.  The project will speculate on a transition of Youngstown’s landscape into a continuous natural space that involves the intensification of moments within this green network through the harmony of architecture and landscape. First, a broader vision for the city is devised, in which points with high social and economic potential are determined as starting off points for growth. Landscape is asked to take on the role of infrastructure, setting up a framework for uncertainty yet retaining a degree of formal specificity.


LAKE HURON

SAGINAW

MILWAUKEE

FLINT GRAND RAPIDS

LAKE MICHIGAN

DETROIT

LAKE MICHIGAN LANSING

LAKE CHICAGO SOUTH BEND GARY

LAKE ERIE

TOLEDO

MICHIGAN CITY

CL

FORT WAYNE

A

MANSFIELD

MUNCIE COLUMBUS

INDIANAPOLIS

DAYTON

CINCINNATI

Map of the American Rust Belt

LOUISVILLE


TORONTO

LAKE ONTARIO

ROCHESTER

LAKE ONTARIO

SYRACUSE

BUFFALO

ERIE

E ERIE

LEVELAND

SCRANTON WARREN

YOUNGSTOWN

AKRON

CANTON

PITTSBURGH

STEEL BELT


Aerial View of the Mahonong Valley, Ohio, Early-Mid 1900s


Demolition of Ohio Steel Works, Youngstown, Ohio


Satellite View of Vacant Land Near Downtown Youngstown, 2015


Vacant Blocks in Detroit, Michigan, 2013


THE CITY IN BETWEEN


BOLINDALE

NILES NIN

HO MA IVE GR

MCDONALD

R

CHRUCHILL 76

LORDSTOWN GIRARD MINERAL RIDGE 711

11

NORTH JACKSON 76

AUSTINTOWN

YOUNG

80

CANFIELD

Map of the Mahoning Valley 11


SHARON

MASURU

FARRELL

WEST MIDDLESEX

HUBBARD

The Mahoning Valley, once home to over thirty miles of steel mills that fed the regions urbanization, now remains as a scar that bisects the urban fabric of Youngstown. In this valley, one will find varoius artifacts that allude to the fact that Youngstown was somewhere in between clinging to its industrial past and forming a new narrative for itself.

MAPLEWOOD

376

FRIZZLEBURG

GSTOWN 422

CAMPBELL

680

STRUTHERS

MA

HO

NIN

GR

IVE

NEW WILMINGTON

R

LOWELLVILLE

POLAND EDINBURG

NEW CASTLE

BESSEMER


LAKE ERIE

EUCLID

CLEVELAND

LORAIN

ELYRIA WARREN

AKRON

CANFIEL

CANTON

Regionally, Youngstown’s location between the two larger cities of Pittsburgh and Cleveland remains significant. The thesis project speculates that Youngstown will become a rural city between these two denser, urban nodes, connected via a passenger rail.

Map of Northeast, Ohio and West Pennsylvania

DOVER


LD

ASHTABULA

MEADVILLE

FARRELL

YOUNGSTOWN

MAHONING VALLEY NEW CASTLE

EAST LIVERPOOL

PITTSBURGH


Upon arriving Youngstown from this passenger rail, one will immediately notice that the formerly urban city has returned to a predominately natural state, establishing a new harmony between landscape and architecture.

VIEW FROM THE TRAIN STATION


VIEW OF DOWNTOWN YOUNGSTOWN


And that its urban fabric has been reduced to an archipelago of architectural objects and nodes of activity, some as mere artifacts juxtaposed with new land uses.


CITY PLAN


At the scale of the city, Youngstown is now a Green Archipelago, in which patches of urban density reside in a field. The river valley, once a theater for industrial activity, is now a series of urban spaces connected with a hiking and biking trail alongside new, productive land uses. Along this green network, one will encounter various architectural objects that stand alone in a field, as well as various landscapes.


VIEW ALONG THE MAHONING RIVER BIKING AND HIKING TRAIL


VIEW ALONG THE MAHONING RIVER BIKING AND HIKING TRAIL


Eventually you will arrive at a point of intensity, where architecture and landscape intersect to form something urban, the site of intersections.

VIEW ALONG THE MAHONING RIVER BIKING AND HIKING TRAIL


THE SITE OF INTERSECTIONS


The next part of the thesis focuses on the design of an urban site within the city structure. Here the intersection of architecture and landscape form a point of urban intensity in a diffuse urban fabric. The potential of the site lies in its location at the center of the defined green network, its proximity to existing infrastructure, and its location along a major thouroughfare. The site is organized in a series of perpendicular bands with a specific function. These bands overlap to form adjacencies and interactions among differing landscape and building programs. Landscape bands oriented NorthSouth overlap with an urban band oriented East-West. This literal intersection of landscape and architecture forms a dynamic set of urban conditions throughout the urban band, despite the relatively low density of the site.


SITE ORGANIZATION


LAN

ARBORETUM

TREE FARM

SITE PLAN

FOOD PRODUCTION + MARKET

COMMUNITY GARDENS


TRAIN STATION

MAKERS DISTRICT + COWORKING

SCULPTURE GARDEN

CO-LIVING

BOTANICAL GARDEN


SITE AXONOMETRIC


CO-LIVING + BOTANICAL GARDEN


MAKERS DISTRICT + SCULPTURE GARDEN


FOOD PRODUCTION + COMMUNITY GARDENS


Profile for SAID - Graduate School

Bryan Raymond | Patches, Fields, and the In-Between  

Bryan Raymond | Patches, Fields, and the In-Between  

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