Architectural Thesis

Kate Wingert-Playdon

The thesis uses the abandoned Delaware Power Station as a means to examine larger issues of post-industrial spaces and methods of adaptation. A critical application of a palimpsest is used to understand the building as a site within several layers of historic uses and adjacencies as well as contextualizing the building within a larger urban framework along the Delaware River. Several adaptive reuse case studies including the Tate Modern are explored as spatial and tectonic palimpsests which are then later applied as design strategies for the Delaware PowerStation. Analysis of the existing spaces of the power station is central in framing the way in which new structures, materials, and program are adapted within the existing shell of the building.

In the adaptive reuse of the Delaware PowerStation, program is conceived as having two separate yet supportive roles that account for two different types of users. Recreational spaces are designed for the Delaware waterfront as part of network of trails and art gallery and exhibition spaces are designed to establish the PowerStation as a new cultural center. Each layer of the new design attempts at building upon the existing narrative of the building and takes advantage of the enormous volumes within the existing power station as well as some of the more unique architectural components of the building. In the end, what emerges is a palimpsest of space, use, and memory that registers the history of the building and site through its architectural design and program.

Architecture Design, Historic Architecture, Philadelphia Waterfront, Adaptive Reuse