Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Getting Started

This blog will record my efforts over the coming year regarding my Master's thesis in Architecture. I am a student at Virginia Tech's WAAC Campus in Alexandria, VA earning my M.Arch 2. I plan to graduate in May 2012.


Public Transportation System for Pittsburgh, PA


Pittsburgh is an important city in the United States' history. It once served as the headquarters for American steel production, producing the steel that was used to develop this nation.  With the mills churning around the clock, the air was filled with soot, and Pittsburgh gained its gritty hue. Then, the steel trade moved out of town and Pittsburgh’s economy and population recessed. The city has recently made the jump from industrial powerhouse to post-industrial urban center and is looking to regain its status as a top-tier American city. Pittsburgh is replacing its soot-covered image with that of a contemporary green city. And one of the criteria for remaking the city’s image is public transportation.

Currently, Pittsburgh’s public transportation consists of many incoherent systems that fail to support the population's current and future needs. The bus system is the major mode of public transit, but the city also offers a limited busway system, a light rail system that serves mostly the suburbs and of course the two inclines which climb Mount Washington. Though this list seems extensive, the outcome is a mess rather than a cohesive whole, and commute times are much longer than they should be.

My thesis project will address the idea of a comprehensive public transportation system (most likely a light rail) for the region. I will lay out a basic master plan for the region and design the central hub station (and/or a typical station).

Architectural concepts that I would explore include:
Commuting, routine and travel
Living and Working
The image of a city, and architecture as rebirth
Regional Connectedness
Issues of public and private activities

It looks to be a very exciting year. 

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