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ABSTRACT Title of Thesis The Side Stage A Critical Cultural Awareness Forum in Washington D C Degree Candidate Matthew Aaron Peters Master of Architecture 2005 Advisory Committee Professor Guido Francescato Chair Dean Garth Rockcastle FAIA Lecturer Michael Ambrose Throughout history culture and place have been dynamic concepts Major factors contribute to both their evolution and deterioration as recognizable characteristics of a society Since humans began manipulating and adding to the environment some of the notable influences on place and culture have been the inventions of language the printing press electricity the automobile and many others With the recent innovations associated with electronic media namely television and the Internet place and culture have once again been dramatically altered There is never a seamless transition when societies adopt new ways of communicating and interacting rather there are periods that require the re balancing of morals and values Lacking in the public realm and urban fabric of U S cities are places to partake in the discourse and deliberation associated with shifts in communication and interaction rituals due to the ubiquity of electronic media This thesis reclaims a vital part of the urban experience in the form of a public forum while at the same time celebrating the creation critique and consumption of culture associated with electronic media Located in downtown Washington D C this project appropriately situates itself amidst the FBI building the Spy Museum and a number of cultural institutions The political nature and scope of this thesis therefore is dramatically strengthened due to its surrounding context as the capital of the United States of America THE SIDE STAGE A CRITICAL CULTURAL AWARENESS FORUM IN WASHINGTON D C By Matthew Aaron Peters Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland College Park in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of

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