SUSTAINABLE CULTURES: Fusing Local and Global traditions

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Within the modern world, a conflict arises between the existence of "universal" and "local". The result of the struggle has been a fading of our local traditions and customs. Acknowledged as a vital component of our being and interpreted as the essence of culture, the "local" is seen as an endangered resource. This proposes the question of how, can, and does architecture sustain a (the local) culture? To explore the question, this thesis uses the architectural program type of the library as the vehicle of study. A programmatic and spatial diagram of the library is applied to three different towns within a similar climate and geographical region. The towns of Alexandria, VA, and Chestertown and Cumberland, MD were chosen because each one possesses a strong sense of place and identity. Using the theories of regionalism, each town is analyzed to investigate the nuances of the culture. The process of design begins with the acknowledgment and understanding of the existing pattern of development. The understanding leads to an interpretative and transformative process to reveal a dialog between "Universal" and "Local". The architecture of each library reflects the characteristics innate to a library as it embodies the relevance of the local culture.