Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Martin Bickman

Second Advisor

Maria Windell

Third Advisor

Mary Klages


The definition of Thoreau's conception of nature and its application to architecture maintain one aspect of realizing and defining what I refer to as the “essential self.” Several paradoxes are born in this application of Thoreau's conception of nature to architecture, each of which maintains the idea of unity existing among distinction.

Walden is a work of literary architecture structured to convey Thoreau's intent, which is for all people to discover and live according to their essential self. This idea is evidenced through a close reading of the book in its entirety and in the design and construction of Thoreau's pond-side house.

The integration of the metaphorical Aeolian harp shows how the relationship between flux and rigidity is a design which mirrors the form and function of the Aeolian harp and how it is employed to allow Thoreau's more rigid, mathematical, and scientific approaches to uphold the more free approaches to his poetics and philosophy.

In consideration of all of the above, the content and structure of Walden determine one another.