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Transforming the Rustbelt: Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings in the context of the Rust Belt.
Petrusic, Luke James
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This project seeks to address the problem of the future of industrial ruins / cities within the larger context of the US rust belt. Many of these Rust Belt cities face challenges of decaying infrastructure, overburdened social services, population loss, increased crime, and pronounced civil decline. This thesis seeks to find a program or architectural intervention that capitalizes on abandoned industrial buildings that can be seen as catalysts for revitalization. The city of Johnstown will be examined as it has many of the key traits of a rust belt city. The architectural response to these set of problems must manifest at the regional, city, and site scale to address the question of whether such interventions in Johnstown can serve as models or catalysts for new industries, alternate uses, identity, social structure, improve quality of life, and an embodiment community ideals? The industrial ruins in rust belt cities are the embodiment of political decisions, social circumstances, economic factors and unique architectural features. Any intervention must address these embodied forces in order to create a viable transformation and to make Johnstown a showcase of what these places could be.