An experience of the water in the city is often absent today as the urban has increasingly infringed on natural environments creating a distinct separation between the two. This thesis is an architectural exploration of the transition from land and water and from water to land in the contemporary city. Using architectural space to heighten the experience of water in the city, the design intervention aspires to reconnect people with the natural aquatic conditions that surround Boston but are removed from the everyday experience of the city. East Boston's waterfront provides a unique opportunity for development with strong visual connections to downtown Boston as well as powerful traces of a vibrant history, particularly that of immigration. East Boston was second only to Ellis Island in the volume of immigrants processed as they entered the United States. The design has a transient space, a water terminal that will both facilitate movement to and from the city as well as recall the historical memory and experience of arrival by water. The focus of the design has been the archival library in which one can engage one's own personal identity and heritage on the very site where, potentially, one's ancestors arrived one hundred years ago. Genealogical research can be conducted in the dynamic spaces above the water so that there is a possibility of overlapping past and present experiences as well as connecting people around the world via modern technologies. The library addresses the modern American identity while remembering the historical threshold to a new world that was located along the waterfront of East Boston.by Alison Ann Alessi.Thesis (M.Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2001.Includes bibliographical references (p. 123-127)
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