Reoccupying Ruins in the Azores: Shifting Spaces, Materials, and Culture on the Island of Terceira and Graciosa
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Half a century of emigration from the Azores to North America has seen the abandonment and decay of many traditional houses throughout this Portuguese archipelago. Today, as members of the Azorean diaspora seek to return to their homeland, these ruined houses present a potent opportunity for renovation and reoccupation. Those who return, however, bring with them new domestic expectations and contemporary, urban needs at odds with the abandoned built fabric. Through an extensive photographic and qualitative survey of the over 1,600 abandoned buildings of the islands Terceira and Graciosa, and in-depth analysis of current conditions, historical precedents, and case-study design experiments, this thesis proposes a series of architectural principles and strategies for adapting these vernacular ruins to support the returning diaspora, while simultaneously restoring their spatial, material, and historical connection to traditional cultural practices for future generations. This design research tests vernacular architecture’s ability to adapt temporally and culturally, and exemplifies a way of reconceiving building - and rebuilding – in the limited, cyclical context of island urbanism.
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Louis-Pierre Belec (2018). Reoccupying Ruins in the Azores: Shifting Spaces, Materials, and Culture on the Island of Terceira and Graciosa. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/12878