A Community Gateway: Crossing the Threshold Into Annapolis
Urio, Keith Eugene
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Throughout the world, the prominence of train travel has led to the growth of cities. Railroads were intended to move masses of people vast distances, promote trade, celebrate culture, inspire the growth of suburbs, and more. As a result of train travel, train stations evolved as a significant part of the journey. Train stations became an essential part of the experience because they evoked a space for social interaction, economic development, and cultural appreciation. This thesis will explore the role of a net zero energy train station as more than just a transportation hub but also as a place where people gravitate to in order to strengthen and celebrate the well-being of a given community, in this case Annapolis, Maryland. This wellbeing would be accomplished by the introduction of unique programs such as places for play, local artist galleries, cafes, and areas to work and learn through spatial experiences. The concept of designing a community train station that also creates a link with other cities would be a great way for the city of Annapolis to advance into the future. Train stations are the “front door” of a community and have the potential to give a lasting impression of the city’s identity to visitors. However, stations should not only serve as the entry and exit points into a city but also as a crossroads for all people to congregate in order to promote community unity. The energy that passes through the corridors of a train station, especially one with a terminus platform, is an added opportunity to introduce increased social interaction into a town. A train station can also offer the opportunity to incorporate sustainable processes into a design, such as maximizing use of natural light, reuse of water, and cross ventilation into a space as well as creating outdoor, green, public gathering areas and walkways which act as a bridge into the community. A train station is for both travelers and non-travelers alike with the focus of the design being to unify participants with both cultural and celebratory programs, a positive influence on their environment, an orientation to the offerings of the city, and an increase in community pride. Connecting Annapolis to the region by introducing a light rail transportation system is beneficial in a variety of ways. A train station can become an iconic representation of a city’s landscape and offer a perfect opportunity to highlight the history and way of life in Maryland’s capital city. A new rail line and train station in Annapolis will ultimately play a vital new role in the city and create a chance for all people to build a valuable community experience.