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Title: The city as a living museum: reimagining the architecture of industrial monuments through psychogeography and collective memory in Nelson, British Columbia
Authors: Vos Coupal, Max
Keywords: Monumentality;psychogeography;urban acupuncture;situationists;collective memory;genius loci;architectural intervention;urban archeology;architecture;permanence;The Dérive;urban armature
Issue Date: 15-Apr-2021
Abstract: Contemporary development is often designed within prescribed metrics of cost and performance ratios - perhaps with some consideration for the programmatic utility and outward presentation of the building - though rarely does it reflect the past history of the site on which it occupies. It is not common for a new development to seek to ascertain the collective subconscious that inhabits the echoing vestiges of its long-established location, one of monumental importance to the city it markedly takes its place within. Albeit a global phenomenon of modern practice in design, a specificity of locale, programmatic intent, and architectural premise are identified within this thesis as an exemplary study of this proposed rethinking of development - through Guy Debord’s Dérive. Any city to undertake this process would require its own depth and breadth of understanding critical to its particular genius loci to materialize a renewed condition of its neglected monuments. Through a collection of research and design - influenced by the Situationists (the Dérive), and urban theorists including Aldo Rossi, Kevin Lynch, and Christine Boyer - the city of Nelson, British Columbia will be analyzed through the frameworks of monumentality, collective memory, and psychogeography to revitalize abandoned industrial monuments as the initial movement for the city to be perceived and experienced as a ‘living museum’ of historic sites, and stories. Many heritage buildings have been preserved (to various degrees) largely within the downtown core of the city, however the precursor industrial monuments have not fared as well against the various conditions of time in an evolving city. As the catalyst for the founding of Nelson, primary industries and historic transportation routes long served as the backbone of all development, yet they are the least respected in terms of their heritage value on the immense sites they occupied. This makes the abandoned industrial monuments of the city the largest gaps in the urban fabric, and prime areas for a conception of recovery, and adaptation, to the contemporary dilemma of land utilization. A total of five historic ‘monuments’ throughout the city have been examined and architecturally illustrated anew as the first in a series of alternate proposals for an episodic rejuvenation of the urban landscape. Each of these sites has a long history of industrial importance in Nelson and have since fallen into disuse. Establishing them as core community spaces with programs both reflective of their collective histories, and of relevant contemporary use, will serve not just to revitalize the individual monuments, but further goals to stimulate future holistic development in neighbouring areas. While the five locations do not have a unifying design style or physical linkage (due to the nature of reflecting their unique origins and memories), they each have specific histories, including architectural narratives, and are all connected via the drifting perceptions of the urban dweller through the method of the Dérive. By reestablishing influential monuments of the city into public spaces with a concentrated collective memory (as well as individual experience), and connecting them with relevant transportation, significant historic places will be made accessible to the community, further revealing the unique conditions and stories that allowed for the urban form of Nelson to come into being.
Appears in Collections:Architecture - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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