Into the Existing: A Multivalent Programmatic, Architectural and Urban Approach to Developing a Renewal Scheme for the Small Downtown
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Consider the downtown of any smaller urban centre – typically in some state of decline/stagnation. In response, policies speak to general programmatic, planning and urban ideals, but do not account for the complexities that enable some downtowns to function and others not. This thesis thus frames an approach to urban renewal that begins to address such complexities. The downtown under study is located in Fort William, one of two historic cores in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It reflects a historically/architecturally significant neighbourhood, part of the civic core, but suffers from chronic vacancies. Working within a conceptual framework based on the discourse of adaptive reuse, programmatic gaps are identified, then tested within architectural solutions encompassing new form intercepting old. These responses are intended to then strengthen surrounding urban relationships. This thesis aims to move away from the notion of ‘one solution.’ Instead, overlapped transformative strategies meaningfully lead the downtown through repurposing its identity.