A Humanizing Nature: Multifamily Housing Through the Lens of Human Experience
Meyer, Anders Lee
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This thesis explores issues that affect the human experience of nature within cities in a way that permeates daily life and restores the fundamental relationships that have shaped the humanity for thousands of years. In order to move beyond the simplistic conclusion that trees, plants and parks can adequately meet the essential needs of urban dwellers, a three part framework has been established. The dimensions of this framework provide a means of assessing the building site and context, as well as a framework for building design. The first component is the large cycles that govern our world; the building can make manifest relationships that are routinely hidden through artificial lighting or climate control. The second means of fostering human connection to nature is through the senses. This enables the individual to experience of the cycles and their ramifications. The relationship cannot, however, be complete without the opportunity for the individual to affect their surroundings. The third component, therefore, is engagement. Through this process, the person is no longer a passive observer, but develops a relationship with the surrounding world. This three-part approach does not prescribe a means of building, but rather provides a means of assessing both site and design to create a building that fosters relationships to nature currently absent in cities. In order to test the framework, a multifamily housing project was sited and designed in Seattle. While the framework may be appropriate for commercial, office, health care, education or other buildings, this choice recognizes that housing is the one building type that most people interact with daily.
- Architecture