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Title: Infrastructural architecture: social design for the public realm in underground transit systems
Authors: Parr, Mackenzie
Keywords: public transit;urban infrastructure;ocial architecture;the public realm;subways;rapid mass transit;station design;functionalism;social justice;urban sociology;underground architecture;Toronto;event space;busking;social accessibility;Jane Jacobs;Richard Sennett;New York City Subway
Issue Date: 10-Apr-2019
Abstract: There’s a certain allure and poeticism to mass transit, from buses, to streetcars, and trains. It’s curious that a strictly infrastructural marvel of engineering houses such an honest and diverse application of shared architecture, mutual in it’s urban scope. In many ways, the architecture of these utilitarian transit spaces (subways most notably), are comparable in their role to that of the public square, court, or forum. There is an untold architectural relationship within these urban environments between subways as a space of movement, and as a place of activity. This thesis aims to re-examine subways under this lens. To posit that subways offer more to the urban fabric than a functional vessel for movement, and are indeed vital at providing opportunity for social life to flourish in an urban context. Questions of democratizing space, spatial legitimacy, functionalism, and the dichotomy between space and place, arise when examining these constructs of subterranean infrastructure. These relationships will be explored by studying and reimagining a particular site along the City of Toronto’s subway system, specifically; Spadina Station. It is the intersection of both the University-Yonge Line, the Bloor Line, as well as the terminal to the Spadina Avenue streetcar. The key methods of research for this study include studying, drawing, and photographing the space to better understand it’s prescriptive needs, and to inform a modified architectural response and proposal. Ultimately, this project aims to be didactic in its thinking with regards to infrastructural architecture through proposal work. The core of transit is the people who use it, and it must be understood that these people interact socially with their surroundings, far beyond just the isolated motions of coming and going. We must ask how utilitarian infrastructure can shift it’s functional role in cities to reclaim the public realm as a space of communal activity, and shared program.
Appears in Collections:Architecture - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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