Minyong Kim

MArch I

Preserving through Rebuilding: A Radical Preservation Method for Densifying Urban Context

Advised by Andrew Witt

The growing density of urban context has triggered urban renewal projects in big cities. However, as the projects only preserved the buildings and sites with very high historic value, the cities lost the architectural heritage (such as style or internal spatial logic) of some neighborhoods. Opposingly, other cities that learned from them have decided to preserve entire neighborhoods, failing to respond to the high demand of densification. 

This thesis proposes a new mode of preservation that bridges between the two extreme modes. Taking a similar attitude as Rem Koolhaas’s preservation idea for Beijing that did not deliberately select what buildings should be preserved, this thesis also does not examine the historic value of each building. Rather, it focuses on saving the most prevalent typologies in each neighborhood in a city. The technical component of this thesis performs a 3-D scan of every building in Boston to select the typologies in each neighborhood, stack their volumes on a new site, and rebuild their facade’s geometric texture and spaces. The resulting gaps between the stacked buildings are designed to provide interstitial spaces that connect different buildings with different programs together. With this method, this thesis aims to preserve important qualities of the representative building typologies of all neighborhoods in a city, as well as to provide opportunities for densification. 

Minyong Kim, MArch I. Renderings of nine black and white geometric buildings on a red background.