Inhabiting the Threshold: Housing and Public-Private Interface at Halifax’s St. Patrick’s-Alexandra School
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A public-private interface is a dynamic threshold between the private residence and the public city. It can be critically examined in terms of social scales, defensibility and ownership of space. As cities densify, they face the challenge of providing dwelling space while intensifying community integration. Current approaches to housing often rarify cultural and social richness in the resultant communities. A new framework is needed for residential development, including an awareness of social dynamics, and building respectfully on positive patterns in existing contexts. This thesis proposes a densifying mixed-used residential scheme on the vacant site of Halifax’s St. Patrick’s-Alexandra School, governed by a framework of social scales and responding to typological and physical conditions in the community. It seeks to integrate public services into existing structures, and to articulate the threshold between public and private programs, making a case for a socially vibrant model of urban housing.