Taihui Li

Document Type





Fall 12-2015


architecture, visual, city, subway stations, connectivity




Architectural Engineering | Architectural History and Criticism | Architectural Technology | Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


This thesis explores how subway stations lost their identity as strategic node of connectivity which constructed the prevailing image of New York City. In Civilization and Its Discontents (1930), Sigmund Freud famously compared the human mind to the city of Rome. He argues that both contain strata of memory and history which have accumulated over the years through a messy and ad-hoc process. Like Rome, New York City also has a layered history, albeit not as deep.

This thesis contends that the subway entrance serves as an experiential entre into the unconscious experience of the unknown elements of the past. These subterranean city/mind experiences contribute to one's image of the city. Building on Kevin Lynch's argument that node serve as "the strategic foci into which the observer can enter", the subway station is a concentration of "doors" of decisions )Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City, 1960: 72). However, subway stations are usually detached from the city's above ground structure. Therefore, this thesis challenges the assumed ground/underground plane to integrate subway stations into the past and present urban contexts. This integration reinforces the connections between an already disconnected netherworld and the terrestrial world of Manhattan through the creation of new subway entrances that reveal the unconscious layer of the city.

Two of the elements of Lynch's image of the city that are emphasized, in this thesis, are node and district. Focusing on simulating these concepts requires the construction of an occupiable boundary between the node of the neighborhood and the subway stations. Focusing on the nodal point of the subway station reveal the possibility of it becoming the focal point of the district and thereby highlighting its stratified layers of unconscious memory. The dynamic relationship between the subway as a nodal point and the neighborhood as a district foregrounds the occupiable boundaries between the two and the way they create the image of the city.


local input

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.