Doctor of Philosophy with a Major in Architecture

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 24
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    Structures and types of differentiated street grids: The generation, analysis, and sorting of universes of superblock designs
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2019-05-22) Feng, Chen
    The design of urban street networks is critical to how a city looks, feels, and functions. Moreover, the arrangement of streets inside the “superblocks”, which are the large urban areas divided up by the primary street network of the city, gives cities unique characters. This dissertation studies the street network designs at the scale of a square superblock that measures half a mile, or 800 m, on each side—a particularly common dimension for the spacing of arterial streets in the U.S., China, and many other countries. The contemporary urban landscape has been significantly shaped by two distinctive traditions for organizing streets at the scale of a superblock. At one extreme is the deployment of a uniform grid, differentiated only by street widths or intensity of development along the streets. At the other extreme is the “tree-like” pattern in which most separate branches or disjoined enclaves or loops are attached to the main streets, imposing a segregating hierarchy defined by mobility and access. This study explores street network designs that fall between these extremes; the designs in question can be described as differentiated grids. More specifically, we ask: (a) How to create differentiated grids by progressively deforming a square grid? (b) What different kinds of differentiated grids are there? (c) What is the relationship between the different rules that can be applied to creating differentiated grids and the emerging types of differentiation? To study those questions, eight different “syntactic operators” have been developed to progressively deform a street network. For each type of operation, a generative rule/algorithm was created to sequentially apply the operation on a uniform grid up to a specified number of times. An additional generative algorithm was also created to allow operations to be mixed in random sequences. Each generative algorithm was applied to generate a total of 600 differentiated street grids. This resulted in a “design universe” consisting of 5400 differentiated street grids that could be analyzed comparatively and queried for the presence of properties of interest. Such properties include graph connectivity, street density, block size and shape, intersection density, geometric regularity, directional reach, directional distance, and the diversity in syntactic conditions. In addition, the centrality structure of designs was studied. The aim was to formulate and test alternative definitions of “integration cores” and to develop relevant typologies. Consistent with space syntax literature, an integration core is defined as comprising the streets that are closer to all parts of the street network in terms of directional distance. Query algorithms were developed to select designs based on the definitions of alternative types of integration cores. Four main conclusions were reached. First, different types of operations have different capacities to influence the properties of a street network. Second, there are multiple dimensions of differentiation (e.g., differentiation in geometric alignment of streets, differentiation in configurational properties such as DDL, differentiation in block shapes, etc.). In many cases, measures along the different dimensions of differentiation are related. Their predictable relationship can be quantified. Third, while the relationship between different dimensions of differentiation usually has a consistent direction, its slope can vary, depending on the type of operation used to create the differentiation. The variation in slope suggests that properties that may be desirable (for example the creation of a diversified street grid) can be achieved with varying costs regarding properties that may be undesirable (for example the creation of less accessible streets). Fourth, the (local) generative rules used to generate designs do not necessarily lead to specific emergent global properties of the street network of the superblock. Although we cannot predict the specific syntactic type we get by applying a specific generative rule, we know that by applying certain generative rules, we are more likely to generate designs of a specific syntactic type. Thus, the thesis makes two significant contributions to the field of space syntax studies. First, it demonstrates how the systematic generation and querying of universes of designs can be used to rigorously define and enrich key syntactic ideas that have hitherto remained intuitive, such as the ideas of “deformed grid” and the “shape of the integration core”. Second, it demonstrates that in principle, the design of street networks at superblock scale can be studied according to the typologies of interface between local and global integration and according to the typologies of differentiation of the street grid.
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    Expansion and contraction: Goethean polarity and architecture
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2017-05-10) Gokmen, Sabri
    As a historic figure, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) has been drawing interest in contemporary research in humanities due to his involvement in multiple fields such as literature, philosophy, natural sciences and aesthetics while having direct influence on the shaping of the Enlightenment era. Although his body of work has been mostly evaluated under the rubric of phenomenology, this dissertation will aim to develop a comprehensive understanding of his works using his ideas on polarity as the core principle. Polarity stems from Goethe’s early involvement in botany where he describes the development of annual plants through cycles of expansion and contraction as opposite sexual forces of natural productivity. This principle forms the foundation of morphology; a unifying science where Goethe applies polarity to formulate ideas on osteology, geology and color. The thesis will be developed in three main chapters that primarily establish the theoretical aspects of polarity in Goethe’s works and then extends it towards developing a novel morphological understanding of architecture as well as formulating polarity tools for design. The first chapter presents an extensive analysis of Goethe’s most controversial novel—Elective Affinities—as a prototypical literary work applying the concept of polarity for the structuring and development of its story. Using the novel as a theoretical-philosophical framework, the role of polarity is analyzed through character typology, affinity relations among characters, landscape formation and production of architectural projects. The allegorical aspects of the story show that Goethe’s scientific writings and engagement with contemporaneous philosophy informed his novel, producing a literary expression of the transition from Idealism to Romanticism. In the second chapter, polarity in Goethean morphology is analyzed focusing particularly on leaf morphogenesis to demonstrate formal principles of growth. Metamorphosis of Plants acts as the theoretical foundation of polarity, explaining the cyclic behavior of expansion and contraction in plants through Goethean principles. The terms “polarity” and “intensification” are further explored in Goethe’s works applied to other natural sciences such as botany and osteology, as well as color; extending both terms as core principles of an ontological system of nature. This system is explored through leaf morphogenesis studies developed in a computational framework to introduce a parametric understanding of topological polarity rules that explain leaf forms using alternating growth cycles. In the third chapter, Goethe’s statement “All is Leaf” is extended to architecture by applying the concept of polarity through planar and vertical development of architectural massing organized through body-limb duality. Polarity is compared to the classical notion of symmetry and proportion to establish a new look at architectural morphology operating through axiality, primitive huts and parametric application of abstract polarity rules devoid of style. These rules are extracted from a historical analysis of various architectural case studies using samples of Palladian villas, Baroque palaces, Gothic cathedrals, and English manor houses. After developing an understanding of polarized architectural body-limb relations, a procedural polarity machine is developed to apply principles of metamorphosis towards generative studies of architectural massing focusing on Gothic cathedrals as a case study. In the last part of the thesis, polarized morphology is considered as an ecological strategy to approach architectural design under variable conditions of climate and altitude.
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    Assessing the measures of street connectivity: A comparative study of the largest American cities
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2016-05-27) Haynie, Stephanie Dawn
    The thesis offers a systematic characterization of the morphology of street networks in metropolitan areas in the United States in order to help assess current conditions. Measures of street connectivity, particularly those of road segment length, block area, metric reach and directional distance, are measured for all road segments within each of the 24 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the U.S. In order to characterize local areas within each MSA, these measures are also studied for a stratified sample of more than 4,500 local areas, each two miles in diameter, chosen at varying distances from the metropolitan center. As a point of comparison, a smaller sample of ninety-six local areas is chosen to illustrate distinctive street network types identified and discussed in the existing literature on urban morphology and street connectivity. This smaller typological sample provides benchmarks then for the characterization of the much larger random sample of local areas. The thesis profiles the variation both between and within the local areas of these metropolitan areas. In the face of the prevailing variability on street network types, the thesis also examines which measures of street connectivity best capture significant differences and, by implication, might be most effective in assessing street connectivity in the context of policy development and planning for possible urban development. The thesis concludes that the measure of 'metric reach,' which captures the street network length accessible within a specified network distance from any given point, used on its own, is a more sensitive descriptor of street connectivity than some of the measures more traditionally used, such as the distance between, or the density of, intersections. Metric reach also provides the most consistent characterization of trends such as the reduction of street network density within increasing distances from the historic city center, or the identification of polynucleated centers at varying distances from that center, whether these emerge as recently grown edge cities, or survive as centers of old towns absorbed into the expanding urban fabric.
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    The flow of city life: An analysis of cinematography and urban form in New York and Los Angeles
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2016-01-14) Zook, Julie Brand
    This dissertation uses quantitative data on city cinematography and the morphological study of filming locations to identify how differences in ways of seeing cities, as shaped by cinematographic choices, are anchored both in differences in what is physically present as well as in differences in frameworks and expectations about what might be interesting or important to see. Four films are evaluated that are set in Los Angeles and New York, two cities recognized as paradigms in American urbanism: The Naked City (1948), The Long Goodbye (1970), Goodfellas (1990), and Pulp Fiction (1994). In general, the New York movies suggest the embeddedness of the individual in the city and its social life in ways tied closely to urban form, with the visual presentation of the street acting as an index to the position of the individual within the narrative. Los Angeles, by contrast, presents the city as a series of enclaves linked by infrastructure. The street as a sociologically relevant entity hardly exists, with the exception of a handful of chase scenes, as though only crisis can catalyze direct encounters with the streets of Los Angeles. Within individual movies, the depiction of city form reveals directorial idioms in the presentation of the narrative. The Naked City exploits corner shots to impart greater visual interest to the presentation of activity in the streets. The Long Goodbye shows the degradation of the distinction between public and private space as concurrent with a city form and culture that resists decoding. Goodfellas develops a grammar of views on the street that corresponds to the relationships of individual characters to overlapping social groups over time. Pulp Fiction mainly presents city locations as decontextualized to focus on dialogue and relationships, to sculpt urban form to meet the exigencies of the narrative, and to all the more powerfully introduce surprise. In the concluding chapter, the qualities of the city as presented in Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction and both of the cities are diagrammed and discussed relative to architectural precedents and ideas that might inform architectural design.
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    Towards of a theory of reconstructing ancient libraries
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2013-12-11) Mamoli, Myrsini
    The library was one of the most important institutions in the Hellenistic and Roman city, as evidenced in the writings of ancient authors, and the building remains of libraries found throughout the Greco-Roman world, from Asia Minor to France and from Africa to Northern Greece. Yet, the library remains one of the least easily identifiable building forms and one of the most difficult to reconstruct, because unlike architectural types such as the temple, stoa, or theater, the library exhibits significant variety in design, scale and monumentality and the use of different component elements. In reconstructing libraries, scholars often rely on a prescribed set of assumptions about components and their arrangement that limit our ability to identify libraries and understand their diversity of arrangement. This dissertation proposes shape grammars as an effective computational methodology to identify, understand, and reconstruct ancient libraries of diverse and variant scale, design and monumentality. The work presents a comprehensive documentation of known and identified libraries, reviews the design principles of the architectural form of ancient libraries, and on the basis of this historical analysis proposes a shape grammar for the formal specification of ancient Greek and Roman libraries. The library grammar encodes the design principles of ancient libraries in ninety-one rules that are grouped in two major parts: the first generates the main hall of the library and its interior design, and the second generates the complete layout of the library including additional porticoes, peristyles, exedras, gardens and propylon. The application of the rules generates libraries of diverse scales and monumentality: libraries known in the corpus and as well as hypothetical libraries. The dissertation presents grammatical derivations for the seventeen known and identified libraries. These derivations, depending on the degree of preservation of the building remains of libraries, function as an evaluative tool for the validity of the grammar or for the reconstructions proposed by traditional research. In many cases, they point to different possibilities in the identification of the building remains related to libraries among remains of different phases or remains belonging to neighboring buildings, and suggest variant scenarios of reconstruction that might not stand out using traditional techniques of reconstruction. The metadata of the rules in the grammar and the derivations are used in a frequency analysis that provides a probabilistic model as an effective and systematic guide in identifying, evaluating and predicting the architectural form of libraries: the main hall and the threshold are identified as mandatory architectural components, the niches and focal point as most likely, and the podium with a colonnade as less likely to occur in a library. Less frequently, the library is a whole complex with exedras, a monumental entry and additional rooms that function as auditoria, banquet halls or offices. Moreover, the work presents the derivations of possible libraries and evaluates the rules applied to generate them based on the frequency analysis. In the end, the work concludes whether these buildings are libraries, non-libraries or exceptional libraries. Lastly, this dissertation assesses the opportunities and challenges that emerge in using shape grammars to identify and reconstruct libraries and also the value and impact of using formal computational methods in the systematic exploration of variations in reconstruction of the archaeological record.
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    A typology of block-faces
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2013-07-01) Vialard, Alice
    The question of the size and configuration of urban blocks and building footprints are vital to making a livable and sustainable city, with a sense of scale but also a sense of dialogue between elements. This dissertation documents the interface of public and private realms at the edge of the block and proposes a typology of block-faces. The block-faces respond to buildings (the internal load of blocks) and street structure (the external load of blocks). It is argued that the block-face and not the block should be the basis for thinking of city form. The City of Atlanta is used as a case study because of the spectrum of conditions and possibilities that it illustrates. The quantitative approach of this work builds upon a research tradition of analytical and quantitative urban and building morphology. A method is proposed for assessing the potential of the existing city prior to design intervention and for evaluating alternative scenarios for future developments. The ultimate goal is to provide tools to design more sustainable communities by bridging differences of scales and by better understanding how urban design parameters influence the development of built form and architecture.
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    Towards a theory of distributed attraction: the effects of street network configuration upon the distribution of retail in the city of Buenos Aires
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2013-02-28) Scoppa, Martin Dennis
    This dissertation tests the proposition that the spatial structure of street networks affects the distribution of urban land use. Specifically, it examines patterns of commercial land use utilizing parcel based data on retail and service businesses location. While previous studies report a correlation between spatial structure and patterns of commercial land use, these studies do not typically control for the effect of key variables likely to contribute to the spatial distribution of retail and service establishments. In order to redress this balance, and using the City of Buenos Aires as a case study, this dissertation studies the correlation between commercial land use frontage and street connectivity measures, while controlling for street widths, density of population and employment, interstore externalities, zoning regulations, and distance to transit stations. Buenos Aires is chosen for its regular plan radiating from a well-defined CBD, a plan which would be expected to conform to standard urban attraction models of retail location. Results of multiple regression models indicate that, after controlling for these variables, measures of street connectivity account for key aspects of the distribution of retail, including linear distributions along major radial and peripheral streets at a distance from the CBD. Thus, the dissertation supports the thesis that "urban attraction" should not be conceptualized in terms of distances from a unique central location, or a number of central locations, but rather in terms of a model of distributed centrality governed by the structure of street networks.
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    Directed visibility analysis: three case studies on the relationship between building layout, perception and behavior
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011-04-01) Lu, Yi
    This is a study of the spatial affordances of buildings that allow them to organize and transmit cultural ideas and to support the performance of organizational roles. The particular affordances under consideration are those that arise from the manner in which buildings structure the visual fields that are potentially available to a situated observer. In studying directed visibility patterns, supported by the development of appropriate analytical tools, we focus on a previously specified set of visual targets and ask how many become visible from each occupiable location. Parametric restrictions concerning the direction into which a subject faces and the viewing angle sustained by the target object are also taken into consideration. The aim is to demonstrate how such refinements of visibility analysis, lead to more precise and penetrating insights as to how building users tune their behavior to the spatial affordances of environment, and how the environment impacts their understanding in turn. Three different studies were presented. The fist used directed visibility measures to evaluate the affordances of different nursing-unit designs relative to how well nurses are able to survey patients in different rooms as they go about their duties. The second study focuses on the manner in which nurses and physicians position themselves in a Neuro Intensive Care Unit (ICU), particularly when interacting. The third study investigates how aware exhibition visitors become of the visual structure of environment and how the visibility structure of exhibitions affects the ability of visitors to conceptually group paintings according to their thematic content. The case studies support the following conclusions. 1) The way in which people position themselves in an environment as they perform their assigned tasks is tuned to the way in which visual fields are structured. 2) The visual structure of environment is contingent upon the interaction between the underlying structure of visual fields and paths of movement. 3) Directed visibility analysis leads to stronger correlations with behavior and performance than generic visibility analysis. This implies that environments are layered. Their underlying spatial structure is charged by the distribution of the contents that are programmatically primary.
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    Walking to the station: the effects of street connectivity on walkability and access to transit
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2010-09-09) Ozbil, Ayse N.
    The aim of this thesis is to help understand the impact of street network configuration on travel behavior by modeling pedestrian travel to/from rapid transit rail stations. The primary goal is to determine whether and to what extent street connectivity is related to transit walk-mode shares and walking distances after controlling for population density, land-use mix, household income, and car ownership. The data are drawn from all the stations of Atlanta's rapid transit network (MARTA). The research shows that land-use mix and street connectivity around stations are significantly related to the decision to walk for transit. Importantly, the analysis reveals that station environments with higher street densities and more direct connections within 1, 0.5, and 0.25 mile radii are associated with higher proportion of walking shares among station patrons. Furthermore, the results of analyses for walk trip distances suggest that street networks with denser intersections and more linear alignments of road segments support greater walking distance thresholds. Overall, the findings confirm the hypotheses that well structured and differentiated street networks affect not only transit access/egress walk-mode shares but also the distance people are willing to walk to/from a station. Thus, this study provides some encouragement that effective policies designed to encourage new designs with the option to walk will actually support more sustainable cities in which transit systems can become integrated within urban culture.
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    Growth and expansion in post-war urban design strategies: C. A. Doxiadis and the first strategic plan for Riyadh Saudi Arabia (1968-1972)
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-11-19) Middleton, Deborah Antoinette
    This dissertation resituates C. A. Doxiadis in Post-War urban design history with a detailed examination of how urban growth and change was addressed by urban design strategies as applied in the master plan for Riyadh Saudi Arabia, undertaken between 1968 and 1972. The Riyadh master plan commission is important within Doxiadis' career, occurring in the midst of his prolific writing projects and approximately eight years after he completed the Islamabad master plan, his most renowned project. Most Post-War architects focused on the socio-spatial components of urban life, elaborating architectural projects that intertwined transportation, infrastructure, and concentrated on mass housing strategies. This dissertation argues that Doxiadis' contribution to urban design theory and practice during the Post-War period was to define a rational scientific methodology for urban design that would restructure settlements to enable urban expansion and change while addressing issues of community building, governance and processes of development. The applied urban design for Riyadh Saudi Arabia strongly exemplifies Doxiadis' rational strategy and methodology as outlined in Ekistics theory and the conceptual model of Dynapolis. The comparative analysis examines how Doxiadis applies the Dynapolis model in the urban spatial planning of Riyadh to organize urban territory at the macro and local urban scales, define neighborhood communities, and connect the new master plan to the existing spatial territory of the city. The longitudinal analysis contrasts the Doxiadis master plan, Riyadh's first urban development strategy, to the most recent comprehensive approach MEDSTAR to understand how the Doxaidis' urban design has sustained its spatial continuity over time. This dissertation makes two significant contributions. The first is to broaden knowledge of Post-War urban design specific to the spatial problem of urban expansion and change, and second to resituate Doxiadis within the Post-War history of urban design specifically revealing his previously unrecognized project of the Riyadh master plan undertaken from 1968-1972.