Date of Award

12-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Architecture

Major

Architecture

Major Professor

Hansjoerg Goeritz

Committee Members

Mark M. Schimmenti, Scott Wall

Abstract

This project explores the adverse impact of the automobile in regards to perception and the resultant disconnect from environment exhibited in the contemporary suburban landscape. It posits that the way we move through the world affects the way we understand the world, both physiologically/sensually, and philosophically/ethically. The automobile, and its landscape, prejudices vision as a means of cognition. Specifically, it is biased to the perceptual characteristics of vision at high speed- that is, a decreased cone of vision, with a consequent increase in the total area of the peripheral visual field. This peripheral field is characterized by flattened, monocular perception, a lack of visual clarity and muted coloration. The automotive landscape has been constructed in acquiescence to this diminished mode of perception. The truck stop, as the apogee of this condition, presents an opportunity, if only momentarily, to reclaim the automotive landscape - to enhance the sense of place from both an automotive, and pedestrian perspective, accepting the automobile as a condition, but not its environment. Situated at the physical and psychological perimeter of the community, the truck stop is ideally positioned as a threshold. In the same way that Juhani Pallasmaa refers to the door handle as the handshake of a building, so too should the truck stop be the handshake of place. It should speak, without words, to the particularity of that place, to its history, its people, its aspirations. It should locate you in space and time and most importantly, it should provide a momentary pause from the continuity of the road.

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