Train Terrain

headshot of a woman with long dark hair
  • Whitney Van Houten, M.Arch. 2016
  • Hometown

    Ithaca, New York
  • Class

    ARCH 4509/6509 Special Topics in Visual Representation: Expanding Mat-organization
  • Instructor

    Visiting Critic Leslie Lok

The investigation began with an interest in the extreme variation between speed, distance traveled, and density of train lines in the Yangtze River Delta Region. In an attempt to make the research more comprehensive the group focused on the train connections between three main cities (Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Nanjing) which have both a bullet train connection as well as a local train connection. The study explored the point of connection (where trains were meeting at the same station) and segregation (where trains missed or skipped stops) through parameters like speed of train travel, number of stops, population density of these stops and distance to and between stops. With this information as a base model we explored ways the geometry could react to, and with one another between layers of the final model. The geometry is always responding to the layer adjacent to it, so the center layer responds differently depending on which direction it is being pulled (up or down). As a unit the final model displays and validates, through a geometric language, the relationship of the local train (center layer) as a mediator between bullet train stops (top and bottom layers). 

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