This thesis discusses the design proposal for Washington, DC’s Eastern Market, built by Adolf Cluss in 1873. Not long after a fire gutted the historic landmark in the spring of 2007, this thesis addresses important design questions
facing the market’s future by proposing architectural solutions. The research section topics that shape the proposal explore the evolution of Eastern Market as well as Adolf Cluss’s architectural ideas. In the subsequent
section typologies of arcades, markets, and malls are explored, referencing specific precedents in the corresponding appendix section. Section six defines
the site selection in Southeast Washington, including the neighborhood patrons. The history of markets in Washington, DC is addressed in the seventh section,
illuminating the urban commercial climate in the latter half of the 19th century. Next, the paper demonstrates the relationships between the design theories of Walter Benjamin and Edward Soja they relate to elements of Eastern Market and the typology study. Most crucially, the final section of the program illuminates the design proposal. The program takes into account the rich history of the market as well as the space’s current and future needs – both architecturally and experientially. In this section, new architectural elements are identified, including a mezzanine level, staircase, central fountain, and community tables. Furthermore, the program and design concept propose interior architectural changes that will increase protection against fire and flood, and direct more efficient traffic patterns and access points. Examples of these interior changes are described Whitelaw both in text and in drawings. Overall, the objective of the proposal expresses the new interior design vision of Eastern Market with the purpose of enhancing the retail, social, educational, and cultural experiences. The aim of this proposal is to create a new interior space within Eastern Market, which both preserves its historic character, and modernizes the functionality of the interior architecture in order to enhance the retail experience. This unique spatial experience is further improved by ensuring building and personal safety; reducing building energy consumption; and securing the market’s overall viability for the 21st century. Ultimately, the thesis may provide a model for future retail built environments in the city of Washington.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Masters of Arts
Corcoran College of Art + Design (Washington, D.C.)
Masters Theses from the Corcoran College of Art + Design
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