This dissertation investigates architecture's potential role in improving the experience of the daily commute into and out of the city. It is proposed that an architectural intervention that takes into account the 'embodied' experience of the commuter as key informant could assist in such an improvement. Various structural and infrastructural upgrades are being planned for the east-west Metrorail link between Pretoria Station and Mamelodi by the Tshwane Municipal Government and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). This link is selected to act as setting for the enquiry, with Mamelodi Gardens Metrorail Station as site for architectural intervention. A conflict is identified between requirements of the public transport system to function optimally and efficiently and the experiential and everyday needs of the commuter who encounters it. The dissertation aims to relieve this apparent opposition through a design process of mediation. Due partially to its functionally driven nature, public transport planning often leads to an environment of extremes which places the commuting experience under tension. Architecture's potential role in alleviating these extremes through impact or through the mediation of other environmental impacts is explored. Phenomenological philosophy, as a study based in the ontological enquiry of conscious experience, is the theoretical stimulus to the experiential component of the study. This theoretical base is partnered with investigative and interpretive study in order to ascertain the various ways in which architecture could potentially impact on the embodied experience of the commuter.
Dissertation MArch(Prof)--University of Pretoria, 2013