Yuxiang Luo

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2014

Capstone Advisor

Yutaka Sho, Asst. Professor

Honors Reader

Martin Hattasch, Asst. Professor

Capstone Major


Capstone College


Audio/Visual Component


Audio/Visual Location

Honors Library Drawer

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Architectural History and Criticism | Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


This thesis investigates the eating practice of American commuters. The issue of food is addressed through a social lens, affected by spatial conditions. The project thus aims to reinvent the operation of roadside food business, through the design of a series of spatial conditions that activate new social relations.

Commuters’ eating practice is problematic; the drive-thru as a prevalent building and business typology has created spatial and social isolation for various parties in the society. The social isolation has two implications. On one hand, as drivers eat alone in the car, they are isolated from other eaters, thus degrading the social value of food. On the other hand, because the drive-thru is standardized and franchised, people cannot shape the experience in their own creative ways, thus negating the social value of design.

Therefore, the thesis is a critique of both the space for commuter eating and the design process of how that space is made. This project thus imagines an alternative spatial type to liberate eating from its confined situations, and propose a systematic design process in three steps: from a manual, to a product, and then to a local test, within which planners, architects, food vendors, commuter eaters, and the neighborhood community can together shape their space for food, eating socially and creatively.

The idea of picnic is thus a metaphorical one. It means the concept of eating with others, while exploring new spaces and engaging with other social activities. Picnicking is the antithesis of rigidity. The thesis addresses the issue caused by rigidity, with the proposal of design mechanisms that foster socialness, creativity, and spontaneity.

Luo_DesignProject.pdf (105706 kB)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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