Architecture Theses and Dissertations

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    Shaping Sound: Engineering Adaptable Spaces
    (2023) Majka, Nicholas Charles; Bell, Matthew J; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Music and architecture share a unique series of connections, not only in their terminology, rational fundamentals, and creative potential, but also in their special public-facing role in society. These two realms provide opportunities to deeply connect with the people who encounter them and unify groups under shared experiences. However, many projects that have attempted to blend music and architecture simply use sound as a design driver for architectural form, much to the degree that this thesis had originally intended. Instead, what if the architecture of a space could adapt itself to the performances taking place, and allow artists or performers to be themselves without feeling the need to bend their styles to conform to the venue. What if the venue could change and conform to the artist? This thesis aims to explore that possibility, and investigate how architectural solutions could alter a space through dynamics and materiality to better optimize the variety of genres that would exist there, allowing music and sound to perform at its best no matter what qualities of space are needed.
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    The Invisible Neighborhood: Designing for Intersectionality
    (2023) Clark, Kiara; Matthews, Georgeanne; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis explores a resilient neighborhood and school for Black and Brown disabled communities displaced by climate change in New York City, New York. Marginalized communities around the world are constantly displaced due to climate disasters. But the people most affected are those at the intersection of those groups. These communities typically live in lower-status neighborhoods incapable of withstanding a climate disaster, which is becoming more frequent as climate change becomes a more persistent issue. Black and brown disabled communities are at the heart of the groups, often overlooked during a climate crisis and often displaced from their support groups and at a higher risk for mortality during an event. Exploring the design of a resilient neighborhood that prioritizes these communities would set the framework for future development and prevention of disproportionate impact on them.
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    (2023) Spanier, Dylan Thomas; Noonan, Peter; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The University of Maryland has seen continued challenges to meet the needs of affordable housing for its students, leaving many students in fear of displacement and financial hardships. The lack of housing opportunities through the University – coupled with inflation and increasing property value – strains students’ ability to find affordable housing options within proximity to campus. This thesis aims to provide affordable housing options that enhance the quality of living and learning environments and expand upon the current living-learning program found at the University of Maryland. By establishing residential learning communities, the University will promote people to work together towards a common goal and foster a close-knit community that engages the university fabric.
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    Co-Habitat: Harmonious Coexistence and Wildlife Rehabilitation
    (2023) Kelly, Emily; Williams, Joseph; Tilghman, James; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In a world dominated by the human existence, it is important to acknowledge and respect the natural world by designing for more than just humans. Through seamless integration of the building and landscape, Co-Habitat will create an ecosystem where humans and non-humans can coexist harmoniously. The ultimate goal is to achieve mutualistic symbiosis, in which every species benefits from the ecological relationship network. As a new home for a wildlife rehabilitation organization, the complex will support their mission to mitigate damage to the environment caused by human activities. In addition to meeting program needs, the facility aspires to provide a method of safe observation. This unique aspect of the visitor experience will offer enjoyment as well as education for the public. The project will enhance the organization’s positive impact by channeling principles of meaningful placemaking and incorporating strategies of regenerative design. Co-Habitat challenges the typically anthropocentric focus of buildings and proposes a synergistic approach, in which the built environment forms an inclusive habitat for all beings.
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    Art as Architecture: Abstract Modernist Painting Techniques and the Viewer Experience
    (2023) McClure, Katherine; Tilghman, James; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The reciprocal relationship between art and architecture has been a longstanding practice in the design process of both fields. The geometric forms, textures, and colors of various forms of art, but especially painting, have been known to inspire the architectural design process. Similarly, the shape and environmental experience of buildings can inspire or host works of art. Certain paintings, like those of Mark Rothko, are often cited in foundational architectural courses as examples of comprehensive and layered forms suggestive of architecture. However, these references are not typically taken beyond the parti phase in the early stages of architectural design. But how far can this reciprocal inspiration be taken? How can architecture evolve as not just a place for art, but as art itself? This thesis will explore the ways in which the abstract modernist painting techniques of the late works of Mark Rothko can affect the compositional form and experience of a mixed-use artist residency in Georgetown, DC.
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    (2023) Farieta, Maria Fernanda; Matthews, Georgeanne; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Over the last 50 years, the city of Medellín, Colombia has experienced a drastic urban transformation. The drug war and armed conflict in the late 20th century expedited urbanization as people were forced to leave their rural homes and seek shelter in major cities. However, the infrastructural capacity of larger cities has been unable to accommodate the basic needs of the growing population. As a result, people had to build habitats in the peripheries of the cities. These “informal settlements” were born out of necessity, with limited resources, and often under unsafe conditions. Nonetheless, these self-built neighborhoods are “the most common form of urbanization on the planet,” and as such, the processes behind “informal city making” are key to understanding the potential for development, innovation, and integration of a city. This paradigm shift regarding informality intends to bring visibility to the perseverance and creativity of migrants under limited resources, to challenge policies that shape urbanization and to explore alternative methods to address population growth.
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    Therapeutic Expression: An Architectural Path to Mind and Body
    (2023) Dandy, Selina Michelle; Noonan, Peter; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    To design with the intent to influence a user’s psychological and physical well-being. Neuroarchitecture constructs an understanding of how the brain of its occupants works. This is designed by providing users with spaces that arouse their stimuli. When correctly done a space can effectively influence behavior, well-being, cognition, emotion, and perception. In attempts to grow our built environment, neuroarchitecture will help enhance our connection to the natural world as well as create the importance of human health and well-being. By implementing natural light, views/access to nature, materials, spatial layout, acoustics, temperature, and air quality, these principles will promote positive emotions and sensory experience. These design principles will be shown throughout the project. Allowing the user to connect with their mind and body where one can find their therapeutic expression. Although this does not present a cure but based on research with architecture and neuroscience at play, it can positively affect the outcome of human stress levels and mood. All of which are goals that will be set throughout this therapeutic retreat.
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    (2023) Edwards, Joseph Chase; Kelly, Brian P.; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Detroit, Michigan, and its residents have suffered through economic, social, and environmental hardships from the fall of industrialization since 1950. Some of the largest issues within the city of Detroit are high vacancy rates, high unemployment rates, poverty, and overall lack of acknowledgement to its residents. However, in recent years, organizations within the city have begun to implement various outreach programs to beautify Detroit, improve its current housing situation, and promote community engagement. This thesis proposition looks to help aid these efforts through the introduction of a vertical smart growth architectural hybrid typology used as a catalyst human-centric, resilient urban housing. This is accomplished through the introduction of a community-focused and supportive building program. Overall, creating a self-sufficient, live-work micro-ecosystem to bring life back into the city center.
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    Step into Green: Reimagining our Urbanscapes with Integrated Green Spaces
    (2023) Long, James Renwick; Gabrielli, Julie; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Communities across the country, and beyond, suffer from food insecurity due to Food Desert conditions. Food deserts persist due to lack of reasonable access to nutritious foods, often as a result of distance to the nearest grocery store or market. Minorities, impoverished areas, and otherwise marginalized peoples are particularly subject to this inadequate access to healthful foods and produce. Existing infrastructures and urban planning provide little relief, particularly for those communities that wish to become more self-reliant by establishing greenspaces devoted to urban agriculture (UA). Zoning, local regulations, costs, and access to viable soil and clean water compound the challenges that inhibit a transition from consumer (reliant) to producer (provider). While there are many factors that contribute to the commonness of Food Deserts, the following proposal shows how rethinking urban design approach can, at various scales, provide meaningful relief by way of UA to those in need of nutritious supplements to their diets.This design scheme must be scalable, affordable, and resilient while also being applicable to a variety of build scenarios including new construction, renovation, and repurposing. As such, this proposal rethinks urban design strategies from a theoretical standpoint and exemplifies the execution of this theory in the neighborhood of Harlem Park, Baltimore, MD, that currently and historically suffers from food desert conditions. The scale of this neighborhood will allow the execution of urban planning aspects, community integration strategies, and individual household or unit-scale production to be showcased. Many UA initiatives have proven successful across the country and will serve as a basis by which to quantify the potential impact and effectiveness of this new design proposal in terms of initial and upkeep costs, volume of produce, and sustainability.
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    Light Forms Function
    (2023) Centeno, Cristhy Guadalupe; Williams, Joseph; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Light is essential for understanding design as well as living and working in structures. Although it cannot be produced, its perception shapes architectural spaces and forms. It creates a mood by lighting surfaces with texture and materials. It also has a significant influence on our biological and mental well-being. This thesis will investigate the programs, different lighting strategies, and typological precedents used by design schools, as well as collect questionnaires and interviews from building users. To enhance and support users' daily lives, it will also examine methods for capturing, rerouting, darkening, and framing natural and artificial light luminosity. The University of Maryland's School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Building would eventually be redesigned using the knowledge acquired. Due to the amount of time, students spend in schools, it is essential to design primarily for the visual requirements of the users and their expected functions inside a given space. This is because schools may serve as students' second homes.
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    Harboring Identity: Community-Informed Design for Belonging in Westport and Curtis Bay
    (2023) Abe, Danielle; Filler, Kenneth; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis is a community-informed exploration of South Baltimore’s Westport and Curtis Bay neighborhoods. It is about listening, empathizing, and starting the design process with these communities and then exploring forms and spaces that can serve current community anchors and community needs while acknowledging complicated histories. In the U.S., the pattern of redlining and disinvestment of resources from communities of color is sometimes followed by re-investment that leads to physical and/or cultural displacement of long-time residents. The Baltimore Harbor is experiencing pressure of potentially speculative gentrifying re-investment that would serve future hypothetical residents instead of existing ones. The design intent is to empower residents to stay, strengthen, and feel a sense of belonging in their home neighborhoods.
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    Boulder's Missing Community
    (2023) Mora Rangel, Miguel Alejandro; Kelly, Brian P; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Addressing housing disparities in the United States has been a hot topic issue for many years as it cannot be solved with a singular design that incorporates affordable housing. In order to produce change in communities that suffer from housing disparities, a new typology of affordable housing communities must be introduced and change the way in which housing is perceived.Boulder, Colorado is a city that is in dire need of change. Over the past decades, Boulder has served as a hotspot in Colorado and will continue to be one for many more to come. However, living with the city limits has become an unattainable dream as housing prices rise to astronomical levels and steer newcomers and young entrepreneurs away. This long standing issue is one that, if left unresolved, will reduce Boulder to a city that lacks life outside of commerce and business, which is a characteristic that the city has avoided since its incorporation. However, by carefully analyzing the city, understanding what contributes to its uniqueness, and proposing a housing community that will address the city’s issues while also enhancing the fabric, an over encompassing solution can be reached in an attempt to maintain Boulder’s vibrant communities.
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    (2023) Smith, Cameron Jamal; Binder, Michael P; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In many ways, traveling can be viewed as an unnecessary luxury that only causes our environment more harm. Not only because of the transportation to our destinations but also due to the tremendous amounts of energy it takes to maintain our place of lodging. Many luxury resorts and hotels are designed with over-the-top pools, landscapes, and decor, giving little consideration to how such features affect our planet. This thesis demonstrates how to eliminate the negative impact of such establishments by designing a luxury resort that is also regenerative. In the process, we will explore construction techniques, materiality, interior design, and landscaping methods to ensure that the final resort is as environmentally friendly as possible.Furthermore, while most resorts are located in highly developed regions where access to electricity and water supply are readily accessible, this resort will be constructed in the Chihuahuan Desert near Big Bend National Park in Texas. This desolate location emphasizes that regenerative design is possible even in areas where resources are extremely scarce. The desert is often seen as dull and lifeless but, in reality, its natural beauty and solitude offer a unique experience that would be an ideal destination for a resort. However, it is important that this resort does not impede on this natural beauty but rather enhances it. To accomplish this, consideration will be given to historic Native American construction methods in the region. They often constructed homes using what the land provided them with. By using this tactic as inspiration, it will allow this resort to become part of the landscape rather than forging a new one on the site. In the end, with this thesis, we will explore the means to design a desert resort where humans, wildlife, and plant life can flourish with a positive impact on the environment.
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    (2023) Konan, Yan; Ezban, Michael; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Building operating emissions account for 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions while building components account for 11%. To mitigate these effects, we must reduce the carbon footprints of construction activities, building materials, and sequestering carbon dioxide in forests and farmland. Industrial hemp is a solution to all these challenges. Hemp is a carbon-negative crop, absorbing more carbon dioxide than trees, and thus represents a unique sequestration opportunity. By using hemp as a construction material, we can improve the thermal efficiency of our buildings, consequently reducing operational carbon. Finally, by substituting hempbrick, a mixture of hemp and various binders, for more carbon-intensive materials, we can reduce the embodied carbon of the built environment. This thesis proposes a productive hemp landscape that will be open to the public as an agritourism destination. The project will raise public awareness about hemp cultivation as an agricultural opportunity and demonstrate the potential of hemp as a construction material, highlighting its multiple possible contributions to tackling the climate crisis.
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    (2023) Vazquez Jr., Carlos Manuel; Abrams, Michael C; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Every year, small towns in America make major headlines for gun violence in schools and every time it’s a heartbreaking story. Hundreds of instances of gun violence in schools have made them all too familiar. Thoughts and prayers, vigils, talks of policy change and then right back to normal like nothing happened, waiting for the next one. The stage in which these events occur were designed in an era where these events weren’t even a thought, and cannot properly protect students, nor are then conducive for creating a proper learning environment for today’s youth. The aging buildings in the American school system are failing students and their communities. This thesis seeks to explore architectural solutions in aiding and preventing these attacks from occurring, while creating a more beneficial and positive learning environment for the 21st century.
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    The Riverfront Wedge: Industrial Land Use on the Anacostia waterfront
    (2023) ALAJATI, FADI; Noonan, Peter; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The riverfront wedge (RFW) neighborhood struggles to remake itself because its identity is locked between its old production, distribution, and repair (PDR) zones and real-estate developers' expectations. RFW is isolated by freeways on two sides and the Anacostia River on the third. Therefore, the study will reimagine RFW by capitalizing on its unique location and proximity to the water, turning the PDR zoning infrastructure from a liability into an asset, and turning the vacant, disconnected property into a thriving neighborhood with connections to the 11th Street Bridge to the east and Capitol Hill to the north. The property's inaccessibility prevents it from being redeveloped like Navy Yard. Challenges addressed in this thesis:• Waterfront access • Affordable housing • Economic development for social justice, climate change and uplifting the community by providing an industrial institution where people can work, live, and gather in the same place
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    Road to Recovery: Bringing the Outdoors In
    (2023) Mencer, Abigail Brurya; Williams, Joseph; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Patients in oncology centers experience extreme physical and psychological anguish due to illness. Patients spend a lot of time in these facilities, often during the most turbulent times in their lives. Current healthcare facilities are designed around medical technology. Medical centers thrive on scientific ingenuity and innovative technology. However, through this process the wellbeing of patients is disregarded almost entirely, leaving healthcare facilities barren and cold. Incorporating biophilia into the design of healthcare facilities provides for a patient’s health and wellbeing. Utilizing biophilic design with a focus on health and wellness within healthcare design can transform the recovery of patients as they seek care. This thesis investigates how designing for a patient's wellbeing can benefit their medical experience. The philosophy for the design of this thesis is to utilize biophilic design approaches to focus on the wellbeing of patients as they receive care. This includes design strategies that include natural elements, views to nature, as well as a biophilic approach to materiality and lighting. The context for this project is a cancer center that incorporates biophilic design with the technology of modern medicine resulting in a facility that is designed for a patient's wellbeing.
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    (2022) Defngin, Marcelino; Bell, Matt; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The eastern side of the Anacostia River, is an ongoing hotspot for commercial and residential redevelopment in Washington, D.C. Often referred to as “Anacostia”, its reputation for its various recreational parks, natural commodities, and historical districts which date back to the 19th century is notorious. The commercial district along Martin Luther King Jr Avenue is currently being redeveloped by large real estate corporations. As a result, these development campaigns are causing significant shifts in population and demographics. This gentrification phenomenon is prompting the demand for additional storage spaces and a desire to synthesize surviving local businesses with the newer markets that came in after development. Therefore, this document will actively explore the relationship between storage vs business and will investigate opportunity sites for a potential commercial “heart” for the local region of Anacostia.
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    (2023) Roberts, Vasilea Christine; Curry, Daniel B; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Helping homeless LGBTQIA+ youth from a place of uncertainty to a place of security to ensure the wellbeing of future city dwellers. This thesis aims to help the ongoing issue of homelessness in Washington, D.C. This will be achieved by creating a wellness facility for LGBTQIA+ youth. This thesis is overall attempting to create a more healthy, lively, green city, starting with transforming the lives of its youth. The goal of the wellness facility is to welcome the homeless LGBTQIA+ youth population of the city and those less fortunate and help them transition to a life that focuses on their success and wellbeing. This involves rehabilitation, education, and transitional housing, in order to help the occupants begin a new chapter of life. There will also be physical necessities for the occupants like food, water, and shelter - the basic things that these people may struggle to find on a daily basis. The occupants can stay and be fully immersed into a life-rehabilitation program or use the facility until necessary. The multi-use facility will be part of a larger master plan for Howard University, integrating mixed-used commercial, residential, and retail space for more sustainable urban design that involves the community. Helping people get off the street and start a stable life will also increase the lives of all city dwellers and create a more livable and healthier city. The goal of the exterior of the wellness facility is to create a space on the street for a more enjoyable pedestrian experience. The interior exterior will also introduce local art and context in order to engage the community and embrace the passions of the wellness facility’s occupants. Overall, this thesis aims to create a city that is kind to its occupants and creates an environment of peace and success.
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    Suspended Culture: Agritecture for a Contemporary Climate
    (2023) Perla, Vincenza; Map, Lindsey; Architecture; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis explores how the relationship between wetland restoration and farming on Maryland’s Eastern Shore create resilient coastal infrastructure. Coastal communities were designed for a climate that no longer exists and are ill equipped to face the rapidly changing landscape due to climate change. The Chesapeake Bay is already facing saltwater intrusion, rising sea levels, warmer temperature, and more frequent extreme weather events that threaten the productivity and livelihood of people, plants, and animals of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Farms whose practice is threatened by the new climate can actually utilize wetlands intentionally for protection from flooding, poor water and soil quality, and pollution. Therefore, this thesis is aimed at designing a resilient farm and wetland park in an area whose history is closely woven with that of the land and agriculture. In the interest of longevity, the three design criteria are (1) closeness with and respect for the landscape, (2) adaptability, and (3) carbon neutrality. Overall, the coastal farm and wetland park seeks for design solutions to resilient and sustainable infrastructure in the intersections between the built and natural environment.