Interaction through Discovery in Design: exploring the power of curiosity to bring people together
The community of Old Town Manchester lies across from downtown Richmond on the south side of the James River. Annexed in 1910, Manchester was the industrial hub of the city and home to the Chesterfield Railroad, the first railway in Virginia and used to transport coal. These industrial roots are still evident today in the warehouses and manufacturing facilities that continue to operate or have been repurposed.
The building of focus is located on the corner of bustling Hull Street and quiet 7th Avenue. Distinctive in its stone masonry exterior, 616 Hull was constructed in the 1920s as a Chevrolet showroom and manufacturing facility. Both the proximity to downtown and the historic character of Manchester made it seem an ideal location for a hotel and restaurant. Considering the hotel as a source of stability for the community because it provides jobs, and the restaurant as an entity within the hotel that simultaneously serves the guests as well as the local residents, the concept of discovery and experience of place emerged. With the belief that locals share a sense of pride in the city in which they live, thus making Richmonders the city’s best advocates, this thesis was an exploration of how design can encourage interaction between two groups of people- visitors and locals.