REGENERATION: an institute for making in southeastern ohio's postindustrial vacancies
Showalter, Claire Marie
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The reality of the abandoned postindustrial in small town America is inescapable, an inevitable consequence of shifts in the economy and society in the 20th century. In the small manufacturing towns in the Appalachian and Rust Belt regions of the United States, the effects of the loss of industry has often been overlooked by the mainstream, although its economic impact has been felt more acutely. This fragmented urban fabric is more visible in places where industry once enjoyed a strong presence and an intimate proximity to all aspects of urban life. Rather than being confined to separate industrial districts, these fragments stand alongside sites used by the public every day, where they cannot be ignored. This thesis argues that these surviving structures, with their strong connections to the past and to their phyiscal context, can be transformed to become active players in the urban environment and a valuable asset to community life once again. These underutilized places should not be dismissed as blemishes that relfect the hardships of a community and offer only a collective sense of hopelessness. In their unique combination of flexibility and structure, these postindustrial sites retain their strong connections to the existing urban environment and have the potential to reanimate it once again. This thesis proposes that the architectural regeneration of the abandoned sites of manufacturing can emphasize the memory of their unique former life while reconnecting them to the day-to-day life of this particular case study in Marietta, Ohio. Simply redeveloping these sites or preserving them as monuments to a bygone era are not appropriate means to accomplish this goal. Instead, the new life of these vacated buildings must recreate a place of purpose that brings together community, industry, and learning. This thesis will implement a vocational school program into a former industrial facility, bringing this education that is so critical to building a skillset in the local economy back into the center of town, encouraging innovation and progress to maintain a relevant workforce. This design will explore the manipulation of connections through the regular structural grid and the relationships possible in the hybrid typologies of the site as a means of reanimating the building and reconnecting with the surrounding community on a range of scales.
- Architecture