Inside RSA

Arch 702
Prof. Turan - Advisor
Thesis Studio, Fall 2010


Annika Miller
Duck Duck Goose


This thesis reinvents the existing homogenized horizontality along American highways by inserting a new typology of verticality along the existing horizontal sprawl. This story began in the 70s with one Las Vegas. Today we face a new reality: our everyday environments have all become Las Vegas.

This thesis focuses upon the ever-growing commercialization and urban sprawl along a 181-mile strip of I.H.10, which runs from Jennings, Louisiana to Houston, Texas. In this landscape the sign has become the most dominant feature, while architecture has become simply an empty shell. Looking back in history, we can see how the coming of the highways brought with it this change in our awareness of the built environment. These roads reoriented our reading of space and form from vertical to horizontal; there is no focal point along the highway today, only the aspiration of the sign to be higher than any inhabitable structure around it.

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In this world of endless horizontality, the question of scale becomes inevitable. Inherently, when we are in a horizontal condition, we have a different understanding of scale as well as form than when we compare the same scale in the context of Manhattan. Scale requires a new definition when a new vertical element is relocated into the empty horizontal field condition of the highway, and thus it requires a new definition for this typology of verticality. This typology is important not only in terms of its reception from the road but its potentiality to create new social conditions within.This thesis proposes the insertion of 6 vertical elements into this horizontal landscape by taking the existing programs directly adjacent to the highway from each county and relocating them into specified locations along the way. These new densified nodes will further be defined through 4 differentiated scales of perception.

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