Date of Completion
Edwin Akins, II
Architecture reacted to the Technological Revolution of the late 19th century with inspired proposals of optimistic expectation for the new era. The advancements of elevators, escalators and air conditioning meant almost limitless potential for the scale and scope of the built environment. However, society quickly realized the advantageous reality of this technology: Their buildings no longer needed the cities which surrounded them.
Endless interiors and “cities-within-cities” meant the possibility of a lifestyle where people could choose to never again interact with the undesirables of the true city. The built environment actively resisted the collective. A trend of self-interested architectures affected urban societies with a cultural shift towards the exclusion that their cities embodied. This phenomenon, termed “Bigness” by Rem Koolhaas, is also linked to his essay, “Atlanta”, where he critiqued John Portman’s network of sky bridges for producing this supremacist phenomenon and suggested Atlanta as “the real city at the end of the 20th century”.
By studying the evolution and devolution of the collective objects which once gathered the masses of society, this research seeks to understand how the loss of these spaces links to shifts in cultural values throughout history. This leads to an awareness of how “Bigness” affects a disposition of exclusion in contemporary culture. This thesis proposes to revitalize the gathering potentials of the city to create a culture of inclusion through the design of a new collective object in an era of architectural “bigness”.
Sherman, Laura M., "The Collective Object: Realizing Collective Space in an Era of Bigness" (2017). Honors College Capstones and Theses. 11.