HARBOR AS VENUE: BALTIMORE'S WATERFRONT MUSIC HALL AND MIXED-USE COMMUNITY

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2004-05-18

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As United States port cities evolve from heavy industry to service based economies, brownfield sites become opportunities to secure our cities' vitality. This thesis studies architecture's relationship to the essence of the urban waterfront through connectivity, imageability, genius loci, and the pageantry of place.

The site is located in Baltimore's Fells Point, at the former location of the Allied Chemical chromium facility. This 27 acre environmentally capped peninsula mediates between the fine historic grain of Fells Point and the contemporary 30+ story Inner Harbor East. How can the inherent disparate nature of the harbor be infused with connections to bring people together? The prominence of the site demands a study of the harbor's accessibility to maximize this amenity's connectivity back to the city.

The urban program studies the implications of a mixed-use community on a prominent waterfront site. As a regional performance anchor, the site becomes home to a new music hall. A public portion of the site serves locals and tourists alike, connecting the Inner Harbor with Fells Point via a waterfront promenade. The pageantry of place, not unlike Garnier's Opera House, is studied both at the macro and micro scale, from the city's procession in and around the waterfront to the local scale of the music hall. Being inherently introverted, as seen in Sydney, how can a waterfront hall look at the harbor as venue? Is it appropriate to visually and physically link the site to its present and past industrial and natural essence?

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