Date of Submission

Spring 5-4-2017

Degree Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Bronne Dytoc

Secondary Advisor

William Carpenter


In Sensory Design by Author Joy Monice Malnar, she describes 1.The perception of a physical construct. 2. Assessment of its individual composition in relation to a larger characteristic pattern. 3. Memories of prior personal and cultural experiences all play a part in conditioning ones perception and the totality of these factors can be described as a spatio-sensory construct.

The experience of an area built on the foundation of a rich cultural history should be always be dynamic whether to a visitor or resident.

But what do you call a place where none of this is present?

Today, Sweet Auburn Avenue is not nearly as sweet as it used to be. What once used to be a lively, dynamic, prosperous area is now suffering from economic decline, increased crime, and abandonment due to lack of financial investment. Socially the neighborhood has not recovered from the physical division of the I75/85 freeway which was constructed in 1952.

In the span of 16 years (1976 - 1992) Sweet Auburn went from being designated as a National Historic Landmark to recognized as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.*

The area suffers from lack of social gathering spaces which is a symptom of the existing zoning and programmatic distribution throughout the site. The buildings are nearly all commercial with very little residential housing. This creates an area that makes everyone a visitor as opposed to a place where people stay and dwell. Abandoned and neglected lots and buildings encourage crime and invites the homeless to search for shelter.

Symbolically the site does not reflect the life message of unity promoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This unfortunate disconnect is amplified with the King Memorial and burial sites and the King Birth home being apart of this neighborhood. The condition of the rest of the neighborhood does not represent it’s rich history nor give due diligence to Dr. King and his vision.

Revitalizing this area without the traditional means of gentrification will be an additional challenge this thesis looks to overcome while producing an area that connects people with a spatio-sensory construct that overcomes the division.