Vernacular Precedent
Structural Systems
Rising Tides and Urban Tears: The Cannery Row Cultural Center

Rising Tides and Urban Tears: The Cannery Row Cultural Center

Transforming Monterey's Waterfront Architecture to Mend the Urban Fabric and Engage Rising Sea Levels

Bachelor of Architecture Thesis Project

Philip Ra, AIA
Ethen Wood
Mini Chu
B.Arch Professionalism Award

Cannery Row was once a complex mesh of intersecting cultures, artistic expressions, and social interactions.There was a strong interconnected culture of art, food, music, and history.But slowly over time, family-owned restaurants, art galleries, and the local culinary school were bought up and pushed out of the Cannery Row district, replaced by tourist centered shops and programs.

The cultural identity of the Cannery Row has been eroded; the interconnected local fabric has unraveled. And this phenomenon is the most evident at the site that has laid barren since the collapse of the canneries. It stands as the ultimate tear in the once vibrantly woven urban fabric. Now, it is time for the gap in the row to be restitched.

Through implementing the methodology of mending fishing nets, the proposed Cannery Row Cultural Center acts as an additional strand of fabric that uses site axes and anchors to re-stitch the gap in the urban fabric through geometric connections, an ecosystem of programmatic relationships, and overlapping user groups interactions.

The Cannery Row Cultural Center weaves a vibrant compilation of culturally and socially important programs and institutions, while retaining the industrial aesthetic of the original canneries and nearby aquarium. Through the addition of a new location for the Monterey Museum of Art and a newly envisioned Cannery Row Concert Hall, the design begins to stitch a cultural foundation over the existing unkempt parking lot.

This foundation gives validity for the dramatic mending gesture of the “cross-stitch,” which bridges over Cannery Row and dives down to engage the ocean. The “cross-stitch” includes a Culinary Arts School, Public Tasting Room, and re-establishes a new wharf marketplace of artisan goods and shops over the historical footprint of the pier that once served the canneries.

The proposed architectural intervention works to mend the gap in the row, bolster the daily lives of local residents, and sets a precedent for how our coastal architecture can engage and adapt in the face of rising sea levels.

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