Title page for ETD etd-11192006-213211

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author FitzHarris, Heidi Sue Blycker
URN etd-11192006-213211
Title Celebrating the Natural Cycle of Life: A Birthing and Hospice Center
Degree Master of Architecture
Department Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Piedmont-Palladino, Susan C. Committee Chair
Emmons, Paul F. Committee Member
Feuerstein, Marcia F. Committee Member
  • Death
  • Lifecycle
  • Birth
  • Cyclical
  • Sustainable
  • Water
  • Courtyard
Date of Defense 2006-06-16
Availability unrestricted
When the special moments of life and death are imminent, where do you want to be?

My thesis seeks to create an eco-sensitive, sustainable building that celebrates the time and place of two of life’s most amazing events: birth and death. Rather than a conventional singular center, my thesis proposes a combined program for a new architectural project type: a Birthing and Hospice Center. Although the concept may be surprising, once people fully understand that we live in a closed system and embrace the cyclical nature of life, it is an appropriate program that represents another aspect of sustainability. The project site is located in an urban area of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia along the Potomac River.

The Birthing and Hospice Center integrates both the human life cycle and the material life cycle of the building’s materials, water, and site for a holistic experience and celebration. It explores how to heighten our environmental experience of place, light, air, water, and time. My thesis seeks to create a beautiful place where people can celebrate their own special event, while at the same time, understand and celebrate the larger realm of the natural life cycle.

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