The Industrial Void//Connor Irick

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Course Description

Terminal Vacancies in The Industrial Void: A Combined District Heating Power Plant and Public Bath in the Port of Tacoma
Thesis Citation

This thesis contends that industrial infrastructure can transcend its prescribed function as raw utility and offer the extension of a public amenity for the city. The working waterfront is a celebrated ideal by the city of Tacoma, but new development tends to deny an honest depiction of the active industry in the port today. There remains a stark delineation between the industrial and public realms in Tacoma, a city that identifies as industrial. Industry has a significant role in the city but often masks its presence with an architecture of industry that obscures the operations within from public view. The argument made by this thesis is that the working waterfront can become an urban environment where industry and public space coexist. Architecture can serve as the threshold between industry and the city by offering a place where the public can safely engage an active industrial process. This design proposal makes a concerted effort to neither dissolve nor preserve as artifact the historical remnants of industry in Tacoma. But rather repurpose discrete utilitarian elements for renewed functions that incorporate both industrial and public uses. This is one interpretation of a model that can be observed by other port cities encouraged to redevelop the working waterfront. This thesis posits that public functions can be framed by industry to curate an urban environment where industry and public functions can coexist.