[re-manufacturing Innovation] An Industrial Rebirth in Bethlehem

Open Access
Chambers, Thomas J
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Architecture
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jawaid Haider, Thesis Supervisor
  • Scott W Wing, Honors Advisor
  • Darla V Lindberg, Faculty Reader
  • manufacturing
  • innovation
  • Bethlehem Steel
  • Bethlehem
  • incubator
  • architecture
  • global brain
  • collaboration
  • Chambers
Community is a complex web of interdependent connections formed over shared interests, experiences, and identities. The institutions that help to foster this sense of belonging and responsibility require public spaces to meet, discuss, and disseminate knowledge. Architects are challenged with the task of molding these places within the public realm to encourage engagement among a diverse set of residents and permit beneficial dialogue to occur. With the maintenance of these spaces, and thus the maintenance of these critical institutions, a community will prosper. In the case of Bethlehem, PA, however, when these communal spaces and the connections developed within them faltered, so too did the community. Bethlehem Steel was a vital component to the surrounding area. Employment here was a source of pride. Deep bonds among its workers were forged in the sweltering pits of the blast furnaces and forgeries much like the steel being manufactured there. When that day in 1995 came and everything stopped, when a eerie silence overtook the complex, that tight-knit, generational community began on a path of deterioration. This thesis seeks to explore how public space can be recaptured within a context of historical significance, allowing for the proliferation of these social connections and financial prosperity once again. By introducing manufacturing, albeit in a different fashion than before, back into the fabric of Bethlehem and designing with adaptability in mind, we can begin down a new path of community cultivation and economic viability.