architecture : appalachia

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Title: architecture : appalachia
Author: Dietz, Andrea Hunter
Advisor: Last, Nana
Degree: Master of Architecture thesis
Abstract: architecture : appalachia, a juxtaposition to elicit awareness and reflection, is a proposal for the diversion of the Appalachian Trail into the coalfields of southern West Virginia. While West Virginia is the only state fully encompassed by the Appalachian region, of the 2150-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine, only four miles of the Appalachian Trail pass through it, with twenty-four (24) miles straddling its border. Born of a utopian vision to link a series of "community camps" along the Appalachian skyline with a nature circuit, the Appalachian Trail originates from a land-use planning endeavor introduced by Benton MacKaye in the 1921 Journal of American Institute of Architects. Presently, the long, narrow United States Forest Service park hosts between three and four million day-hikers and three to four hundred thru-hikers annually. A shifting of this throughway into West Virginia is suggested as a catalyst for consideration. Culturally backwards, distressed, exploited, impoverished, isolated...West Virginia, between actuality and perception, occupies a marginal position betraying a complex reality. The architecture : appalachia Appalachian Trail diversion opens a passage into the space of this repressed narrative. Divided into twelve (12) sections corresponding to nodes of historical and/or contemporary significance and covering 485 miles of hiking, the route encourages discourse and development from exploration of the facets and implications of the West Virginia condition.
Citation: Dietz, Andrea Hunter. (2005) "architecture : appalachia." Masters Thesis, Rice University.
Date: 2005

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