Date of Submission

Spring 5-7-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Mine Hashas-Degertekin


From fortified settlements to bustling epicenters of production and commerce, port cities have pioneered the course of urban sprawl throughout history. Yet, as port specialization advances and new infrastructure emerges, the once vibrant historic port sites are left neglected. The disconnect is reflected in three dynamic relationships between the city and the port, the city and the water, and the land and the water. The city has grown away from the port, the port infrastructure has been regionalized, and as a result the two have become separate entities. In this process the city is now isolated from the water as the port continues to expand between them. Finally, the port expansion and city growth have conquered the land, causing the water to be blocked by constructed boundaries on the coastline that restrict its natural flow into the land.

Disconnect between historical port sites and their host city has been caused by the evolution process of port and city growth, resulting in a city that is now separate from its waterfront. The historic formation and evolution of the port city must be acknowledged to retain the cultural significance of the area and influence strategic design choices. As a result, a stronger and more sustainable urban plan will be developed that embodies the historic nature of the waterfront and incorporates purposeful design moves that curate a design tailored to the specific site.

My thesis will be tested on the site of Union Pier Terminal in Charleston, South Carolina to demonstrate this method of planning leads to a more informed and sustainable design. The thesis will be achieved by thorough historic analysis focusing on how the port evolved over time in relation to city growth and the direct effect of urbanization on the natural land formation. These studies, along with existing site pattern analysis and predicted sea level rise flood plains, will provide a framework to find critical problem areas on any waterfront site.

Included in

Architecture Commons