Filter as Metaphor: The McMillan Sand Filtration Site

Thumbnail Image


Publication or External Link






Boon of the municipal water works projects in the 19th century was generated by the need to secure a reliable, efficient and publicly available source of fresh water and prevent the spread of disease, as the number of inhabitants in cities was ever increasing. These water works projects were built out of necessity to maintain the health, safety and welfare of the population they served. The McMillan sand filtration system is a testament to late 19th century engineering and public works design. With the advent of new technologies and growing population, a new, more cost effective, and faster filtration system was built to replace the old slow sand filtration method. This thesis springs from the question of "how can the McMillan sand filtration site maintain its historical role identity and function?" New technologies have rendered the facility obsolete. This thesis will address through alternative master planning, different scenarios by investigating specific intentions. It will also seek to strengthen the community through adaptive re-use of its existing structures, the linkage of the community to the surrounding neighborhoods and its relationship to the city of Washington, DC.