Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.Arch.

Degree Granting Department

Architecture

Major Professor

Stanley Russell, M.Arch.

Keywords

Theatre, Gallery, Architecture, Restaurant, Design

Abstract

A powerful dimension of culture is revealed through art; and when presented by the artist to the observer discloses and connects human emotions. The artist's expression is recorded as an integral part of a collective heritage while continually inspiring the viewer towards a creative future. For the Mississippi Coast, this is an imperative time to develop the link between community and tourism. Over forty public establishments are without buildings that enable them to come together. Prior to August 2005, the development pattern of the coast was northward, because the historic coast line was occupied. Now the entire beach front is vacant leaving opportunities for developers of casinos, condominiums, and resorts. While the Gulf Coast benefits economically from tourism, the community needs to integrate this commerce into the historic heritage center of the region.

Conserving the spirit of the Gulf Coast can be accomplished through the delicate balancing of tourism and cultural preservation. The diverse visitors tourism brings to the coast blend with the local population to induce a unified appreciation of the culture. The coast has a strong history of converging groups of people. This has led to multifaceted merging of backgrounds which generate new customs and experiences. These convergences make the coast a unique location. They define the culture of the past and they also develop the makeup of the future. The social integration of visitors and hosts will require a place for conversation, and the manifestation of heritage. By creating a public arts complex which houses spaces for visual, and performance arts; the community will have a place to showcase their culture while producing integral opportunities for visitors to experience the Gulf Coast's heritage. This center will also provide local artists with work and display spaces.

Determining the specific spaces the community needs will require investigation of existing public use buildings. Historic research, inquires and observations help place the project within the current influences of time, place, and people. The establishment of this arts center provides local residents and tourists with a place to assemble while reiterating the social, ethnic, and cultural community that is the Gulf Coast.

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