• Project Title: A Study of Liminal Space in the Architecture of Transportation Facilities

  • BASIS Advisor: Mr. Opirhory

  • Onsite Mentor: Jonathan Toews

Despite being a necessity of modern living, many Americans find traveling stressful. A factor specific to transportation architecture that may account for some of this stress is the concept of the liminal space. In-between and connecting recognizable destinations, a liminal space can be described as a“non-destination” where a rite of passage, such as travel, has become entrenched in the way individuals understand that environment. As users spend time in a liminal space, expectations of continued transition from one point to the next may contribute to distress as the constructed purpose of the space remains unfulfilled. To account for liminal disorientation, the design of a transition space must incorporate elements that aim to re-establish that space as a unique destination. Under the mentorship of architect Jonathan Toews, this project will identify some of these potential design solutions through an examination of the architecture of four New York City transportation facilities. This examination will incorporate prior research into the concept of a liminal environment, as well as results from an online survey assessing users’ perceptive and emotional experience at each of the chosen facilities. I hope that my research will show how the distinct architectural approaches taken at each facility being studied influence a user’s experience of liminality, informing the approach I take to creating my own proposal for the design of a terminal. By identifying architectural approaches that work against liminal disorientation, I hope my findings provide a useful framework for the design of future transportation facilities.