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suburb as alterity

Nick Axel Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute B.Arch Final Project 2009-2010 Advisors: David Bell Thomas Mical Bradley Horn



the aberrance of suburbia


the supurban project












list of figures

The suburb was established as a dialectical model to the industrial city through which a physical and ideological distance served as the framework for the production of an identity. Its comprehensive inundation of space has reified the suburb as the prevalent urban condition while undermining its subjective efficacy. Consequentially, the city has become subordinate to other means of individuation while effectively collapsing the significance of place and context, ultimately generating an extensive condition of disassociation. The subsequent atrophy of the built environment serves as the foundation to reinstate the existential relationship between the individual and their context. Exploiting the aberrant logics of the contemporary city allows for a new form of urbanism to be superimposed as a continuous network, subversively engendering a heterogenous transformation of the built environment by stratifying distinct spatial ecologies into a symbiotic relationship.


the aberrance of suburbia The suburb is a typological form of settlement that is a product of the industrial revolutions. It stands as a dialectical model to the city in which the bourgeoisie was increasingly growing in power and economic potential while simultaneously becoming disassociated from their urban environment due to the booming population of the working class. In response to this, an escape from the dense, unclean and unsafe living conditions was proposed that engendered a new relationship between the individual and their environment and socioeconomic context. This instilled a sense of freedom with which an identity could be created through subjective opportunities availed within this new situation in contrast to one where they were not possible1. The suburb provided an ideal environment for 19th century Romantic notions of individualism and self-fulfillment to unfold through the articulation of the built environment and its patterns of inhabitation. The city remained as the economic locus and foundation of society, yet the coupling of a growing bourgeoisie with advents in transportation made it feasible for one to live away from this center while still retaining a connection. This detachment was reflected in the sociological structure of the suburb, contrasting the overpopulated city streets and apartment blocks with a single-nuclear family house sitting on a piece of nature. In this sense a physical and ideological distance is created by which an identity is formed based on the subjective negotiation in and of these two spaces2. The formation of identity is essential to the eventual success of the suburb and its facilitation is integral to nearly every element of the suburban typology. The primary difference between the suburb and its city is the axiomatic establishment of personal property. By physically separating each inhabitant in the landscape as a distinct entity, their associated objects become the constituent elements for the social communication of identity3. By erecting a complex exterior image as a representation of an interior identity, freedom is further engendered, facilitating the production of singularizing events that form concrete relations with others and the context. An emphasis of this interiority is embedded within the suburban model as it was originally a privilege of the bourgeoisie class; fundamental to the suburb is the economic and/or ideological similarity to ones neighbors. While predicated largely on the single private property, this con-

1. “to escape the social constraints of urban society, and to have the corresponding freedom to indulge their personal ambitions” (Archer, 254).

2. “[Man] makes himself known to himself from the other side of the world and he looks from the horizon toward himself to recover his inner being. Man is ‘a being of distances’” (Sartre, 17).

3. “Once the means were available, prospective homeowners could consider residences as apparatuses for fashioning the self in terms of three available frameworks, material, moral, and rhetorical” (Archer, 183-184).


text-based social relation incentivizes this type of inhabitation even more. As the urban environment increasingly differentiates itself, the suburban development stood in resistance by offering a haven of stability, security, and a communal identity to belong to. After defining itself as a model in which many common grievances of the city could be successfully mediated, the suburb quickly began to proliferate outside of many cities. While its origins lie in the 18th century English countryside villa, the suburb was extensively appropriated in America as early as 1814 with Brooklyn, due to the rapidly increasing population and abundance of land. The means of transportation to this other location was a constraint that additionally emphasized the class distinction of the suburb until 1908 when the car was introduced as a utilitarian form of transportation. While the suburb was developed as a bourgeoisie reality it infused the larger cultural ideology with the notion of a “dream house”. The distinction of class continued until the end of the industrial revolution when the suburb was bureaucratically adopted in 1920 by the presidential campaign of Harding and Coolidge. It was utilized as a means tap into the latent desires of the common man while promoting a sense of nationalism to further American capitalism in resistance to the spread of bolshevism4. Starting in the early 1920’s, there were a series of government sponsored programs and initiatives that encouraged and facilitated the suburban ideal to a larger population such as “A Nation of Home-Owners” (1922), American Individualism (1922), and How to Own Your Home (1923). Simultaneous to this, the ideal was pervasive within cultural media, producing a multitude of musical recordings and periodical publications. As early as 1930, corporate entities began to advertise the suburban home as a way to increase their sales. These movements culminated into the Federal Housing Administration in 1934 with its mission to “extend home ownership to as much of the American population as possible” (Archer, 272) through a strategic pairing of business and government. Campaigns targeted specifically towards lowerincome families starting in 1940 were utilized to conclusively rouse the nation out of the great depression. This represents an ideological shift that fundamentally altered the framework in which the suburb is produced and consumed; as it was formed by the suburban environment, identity is no longer a privilege.

General Electric advertisement pairing wartime with the notion of a “dream house” 4. “Undertaken at least as much in response to the specter of bolshevism as in the interests of American capitalist enterprise, one goal of the campaign was to ensure that property ownership would be as widespread as possible among the American population.” (Archer, 263)

Federal Housing Administration promotion from 1940 advocating lower income suburb potentials.

the aberrance of suburbia 04

The association between the suburban home and the emerging middle class was reified by federal initiatives and sociological patterns after World War II. While the FHA continued to give loans for owning personal property, the interstate system made more opportunities for development with fewer consequences due to the increasing ubiquity of personal motor vehicles. The “baby-boomers” were a result of the ideological promotion of the single-nuclear-family house while becoming the hegemonic constituency of social relations. Industry, no longer having to focus on wartime production shifted towards the homeowner industry. This reduced the cost of assets while inundating the market with the potential for their ownership, providing businesses with a much more expansive and lucrative market. In order to further facilitate the ease in purchasing a home, corporations such as General Electric began to directly incorporate their consumer technology into the advertisements of houses. Coupled with the typical elements of the American dream home was a house that makes life easier, by “taking the chores out of running a home” (Archer 278). This ultimate ideological subsumption of business into the evolution of the suburb transformed the dream home into a commodity itself by which identity becomes an object that, effectively, loans can be taken out for. The commoditization of the suburban home amplified its growth due to the opportunities that the industrial process offers. By being able to quickly align with sociological trends and technological improvements on a regular basis and at a large scale, developments were able to exalt their economic viability by embodying the perceived cultural zeitgeist in built form. In doing so, the developer can offer a greater incentive to the prospective buyer at greater ease and optimization of profits. The resultant of this socioeconomic situation is sprawl. As a process, sprawl emerged from the internal logics of the suburban model itself and was only appropriated and intensified by the modern capitalist machine with governmental reinforcement after it became hegemonic. Sprawl creates a new metric of identity and social status based specifically on the commodity itself which is subject to drifts of obsolescence. As the notion of distance is essential to the suburb, the homogenization of the built environment has diminished the potential for the suburban model to differentiate itself in a typological manner as it once did, effectively negating the framework for the production an identity.

the nuclear suburban family

commodity apparatuses as a source of individuation

Advertisement of General Electric appliaces as the constituent of a dream house


The lacking performance of the built environment’s role in reconciling the individual with its context has privileged other methods and strategies of individuation to arise. While still retaining the classical developmental pattern of sprawl, characteristics of the suburb have been mutated to further entice homeowners by reasserting fundamental attributes that engendered the potential for establishing an identity. The continual production of newer qualities demonstrates and labels older developments as sub-standard and destitute, often resulting in the physical atrophy of the city. Persistently low land costs along the periphery and the augmentation of vehicular circulation networks that still support the practice of sprawl promote the abandonment of space in favor of newer developments. While this practice succeeds in one sense by reestablishing a bourgeoisie class distinctions within the suburban context, its products are still vulnerable to the competition of commodity-based status and the failures of homogeneity5. The role and pervasiveness of technology in the contemporary socio-spatial context places the practice of suburban sprawl in an entropic paradox. While acting as an essential element of the suburb by mitigating the consequences of geographical separation, transportation and communication technologies critically threaten the role and viability of institutions that are historically constituted by place, including the suburb itself. These technologies have mutated the way in which we understand the limits and potentials of space by enabling social and communal relations to be maintained over greater and greater lengths. Networked technology reduces the economic dependency upon which the suburb retains a connection to its host city, increasingly providing an incentive to escape the traditional urban center. The significance of location and distance has collapsed, altering ways in which we formulate our identity and basic conceptions of place6. Identity has become drastically deterritorialized while disjunctively locating it in an environment that reifies the notions of place and order. Consequentially, this produces a condition of disassociation by failing to establish a synthetic connection between the individual and their context. The atrophy of the built environment is thus accentuated in a psychological manner by diminishing the role of space in communicating a subjective identity that carries relevance in everday life.

daytime displacement as a source of individuation

5. “such suburban homogeneity appeared to demonstrate a connection between the built environment and how the identities of those who lived there were shaped” (Archer, 311). Homogeneity negates the subtle differences in people that define the discrete elements of ones identity.

technological activity as a source of individuation

6. See the chapter entitled “Place: The Networking of Public Space” in Networked Publics by Kazys Varnelis for explications of how we interact with each other and our environment has been altered by the ubiquity of networked technology.


the supurban project This project takes the aberrant conditions of the suburban environment as the framework upon which a new typologically dialectical form can be proposed. Proximity, while its significance has been largely negated, is retained as a fundamental spatial principle of community and identity. The somatic sensations of interaction still form the underlying basis for our perceptions, understandings, and volitions. By negating one sense or exalting the significance of another through mediated forms of communication, disassociation is produced which is literally detrimental to the constitution of the city. In response to the rigid and isolating structures of the suburban model that further promote this apathy and negligence, a network is pervasively implemented throughout the context to liberate the individual from its constraints and discordances. In this sense the logics of sprawl are directly instilled within the plan’s conception in order to resonate at the scale of a subversive urban typology. Strategically embedding the project within the preexisting context provides opportunities to resist homogeneity and the subsequent tendencies of persistent atrophy and obsolescence. Situating a project in the midst of the a suburban context has the potential to undermine homogeneity while synthesizing with the existing community, but by prescribing to and working within the logics of the suburb its performance is continually antagonized by its own typological transgressions. The matter of synthesis is critical while intervening in a suburban context, which despite all oppositional factors still acts as the communal environment in which people inhabit and form social relations within. Sites that do not play an active role in the production of this community such as vacant and abandoned properties are utilized as the foundation upon which the project may develop. While this serves as the ground for synthesis, the ways in which these sites are used must be addressed in a radical manner in order to prevent the vulnerability of infill strategies. Acupuncture-style proposals tend to either fail at grafting to their context or act as agents of gentrification, which in turn supplant the existing community. To avoid these perils of individualized interventions, an architecture is superimposed and elevated above the existing context as a distinct system that places the two forms in a symbiotic relationship.

the home as the amalgamation of the self

manifestation of subjectivity within the suburban model


Naturally, in this type of situation competition emerges as a threat to the livelihood of both ecologies. By extending vehicular circulation into the proposed structure an infrastructural continuity is maintained while traversing the landscape that augments the conceivable limits and potentials of place. This also affords the potential for fundamental elements of everyday life to programmatically embody the premise of this new form. To further infrastructurally unite the two systems, existing sewage lines are integrated into the form for their potential to offer a new type of environment through phytoremediative processes while creating an beneficial energy exchange. In order to stand as a dialectical model, the functional composition of its genetic predecessor must be reflected while transforming the behavior of its parts. Accordingly, the project is homogenously comprised of residential program that is strategically used in an explicitly polemical fashion:

Homogeneity + Homogeneity = Heterogeneity In articulating the two systems as physically separate entities that connect at specific instances, an immanent synthesis is produced as the amalgamation of discrete forces charges the built environment. By engendering the situation in which one has the potential to capitalize upon the dynamic intersection of explicitly distinct spatial ecologies, heterogeneity emerges as the product of the dialectical relationship itself.

heterogenous subversion of the suburban environment engendered by the symbiotic dialectical relationship

the supurban project 08

The means for establishing the foundation of the project originates with the existing conditions of the site. For this, the the Garfield neighborhood in Phoenix Arizona has been chosen for its prototypical representation in its infrastructural form and contemporary state of the suburban model. A preliminary recursive analysis is conducted on all of the available vacant and abandoned lots in order to determine which sites are viable to serve as nodes within the proposal. Once the preliminary sites are identified, an objective analysis can be performed by which the potential connections between sites are mapped out, disregarding any constraint. This further reveals the vitality each site potentially has within the greater network. Also identified is proximity to existing sewer lines in order to highlight the sites that could infrastructurally optimize this synthesis. The axiom of this logic is that sites which are closed to each other have a greater potential to support a cohesive community.



The next step for optimizing the synergetic relations is interpreting the degrees of connectivity. By taking each individual point determined in the previous step, a vector is created from the center of each site to that point. For each site, every vector is added to create a conclusive site vector. This vector reveals the directionality of each node based on where it has the strongest affinity for connection in relation to all of the other sites. This method also begins to visualize the significance of the site’s size. The axioms of this logic is that sites which are more connected to other sites have a more significant role in the network.

the supurban project 10

The relative data derived from the previous step is then recalibrated to the scale of the context so that it can begin to directly inform the architectural design. This is a final visualization of each site’s existing propensities when the conceptual logics of the project are applied to it. It reveals the degree to which each site is connected within the network and the directionality of this connection when scaled to the relative site proportions. The final vector is used to determine the extent to which the project is detached from the ground plane and site itself while establishing the potential means of circulation connecting the two forms. The axiom of this logic is that sites which have a greater degree of connectivity and are larger combine to conclusively reveal the viability of each node in the potential to support a community.


The accumulation of this analysis can now begin to formulate a plan for growth. Large sites near the intersection of sewers serve as the source from which the network may begin to propagate. From these points of origin, sites that are closest in proximity are selected for further development. Inadvertently, this optimizes structural efficiency while amplifying the dynamic effect of this intervention.

the supurban project 12

This pattern of growth theoretically continues indefinitely with the potential to expand far beyond the site of Garfield that served as the basis for its analytic process. Disparate sites are eventually connected to form a continuous network that can add nodes at will while further incorporating and extending the symbiotic relationship through the infrastructural networks of vehicular circulation and sewage. The network displayed here is simply an optimized version based on the axioms just stated. Other factors can influence the direction of growth such as development opportunities and incentive, crime and safety, bottom-up initiatives, and many more.



the supurban project 14

The formal move of elevating a structure above the ground in a bridge condition that spans over a lived in context is essential in facilitating the conceptual fulfillment of the project. It embeds a great deal of complexities, both problematic and opportunistic, that must be negotiated and exploited to sustain this symbiotic relationship for the production of a heterogenous environment. The primary detriment is obviously sun. The environmental context of Phoenix is not adverse to a structure acting as a monumental shading device due to the intense sun that prevents outdoor inhabitation for large portions of the year. Regardless of heat this still threatens the basic quality of sunlight. In response to this issue, multiple strategies are taken to mitigate the consequences and transform them into beneficial situations. The system of enclosure is designed to shield the inhabitant primarily from heat, not light. By utilizing a mesh membrane, the advantageous aspects of a hot and arid environment can be experienced without their overbearing consequence. A permeable skin promotes outdoor activity and emancipates the individual from the constraints of air conditioned capsules. Furthermore, opaque elements are minimized by collapsing them into a thin bar that programmatically necessitates a solid form of enclosure, the area of the home. Collectively this reduces the amount of sunlight that is blocked on the ground plane while maximizing its favorable effects


Facade Component

This situation begins to offer more opportunities that existentially provoke and resituate the individual on both the ground and elevated plane. From directly underneath, this structure is seen as oppressive. Covering the extents of this bottom surface with a highly reflective, mirrored material, liberates the inhabitant from the outdated ideological boundary conditions of the suburb. The structures of the single family plot of land, once standing as a constituent of freedom, is subverted by expanding the limits of sight, awareness, and the potential for social relations.

relational awareness, pre-intervention

relational awareness, post-intervention


These material strategies allow for the formation of a diagrammatic parti that phenomenologically reconciles the individual with their visceral environment. Situating the home underneath the circulatory passage, the resident is viscerally connected with the ground plane. By utilizing the innate human relation to the earth, slower notions of ground that are traditionally associated with the family and home are instilled in a latent manner. Positioning the speeds of circulation above and in a climatically permeable environment emphasizes the sky and horizon, reconciling the transitory nature of movement itself.

phenomenological parti

circulation corridor

the supurban project 16

prototypical plan, top level scale: 1/32” = 1’-0”


The Living Machine is integrated into the residential zone as a means to produce a unique environment that subverts the ecological context. By treating wastewater in a four step process that utilizes the natural effect of phytoremediation and bacterial digestion, products such as agriculture, energy, and drinking water are continually produced. Methanogenic Bacteria Acetogenic Bacteria Biofilter Photosynthetic Algae Carbon Oxygen Flora Mollusca Oxygen Growth Medium Clams + Mussels Detrivores Filter Feeders Ultraviolet Light Growth Medium Freshwater Sponges


Anaerobic Tank Hydroponic Tank

Anaerobic Digester


Drinking Water


Swimming Pool

Recycled Water

Fertilizer Biofuel Biological Gasses Agriculture Aquaculture

The Living Machine

Anaerobic Digester

Aerobic Tank

The Living Machine as it is integrated into the project, mediating between the ground and elevated plane

Anaerobic Tank

UV Disinfection Tank

the supurban project 18

The Living Machine acts as a reinterpretation of the lawn. Green space is utilized as the primary communal space in the form of a shared backyard as it often acts as a site and catalyst for social activity. A secondary mesh membrane acts as a pedestrian surface for the top layer that further shades and promotes the use of this outdoor space on the residential level. The primary pedestrian corridor is located along the perimeter of the middle level. Underneath this are private outdoor spaces for each of the residences, effectively splitting the traditional functions of the lawn of natural elements and privacy in the outdoors. While each residence prototypically consists of a 22.5’ x 22.5’ x 22.5’ module, the modular framework of the system would allow for variable sizes and configurations based on the residents needs and desires.

circulation corridor


prototypical plan, middle level scale: 1/32” = 1’-0”

the supurban project 20

prototypical plan, bottom level scale: 1/32” = 1’-0”


section scale: 1/32” = 1’-0”

the supurban project 22


the supurban project 24


the supurban project 26


the supurban project 28


the supurban project 30

If realized, this project would have an intense phasing plan of construction. The origins for its development is with a single site in which the Living Machine is established.

sites analyzed and chosen based on existing conditions

primary node begins with the Living Machine by splicing major sewers onto the site. Anaerobic digestion begins and the node looks for possible connections


The constituent element for its growth is another site for the first one to connect to. Once this has been determined, the construction process may unfold and the pattern may repeat..



str ian

the primary node selects a site to connect with while the waste is further processed with an anaerobic tank located around the anaerobic digester. Vehicular access point is chosen.

Primary lower structural cage is erected. The living machine continues to process waste while producing energy, fertilizer, and a green environment for evaptranspiration.

the supurban project 32

Primary structural frame is extended to the connected node while the first frame is surfaced for vehicular transportation.

The connector is surfaced for vehicles and residences. The shading facade begins installation below while it’s frame is erected above. The Living Machine is brought up into the bar. Adjacent sites recognize the new patterns through an emergent heterogeneity.


The shading screen is continued over the rest of the project while sites continue to be influenced by its growth.

A single bar is complete, and while the Living Machine continues to process waste for energy and the site continues to transform, the project looks for another connection, another relation, another opportunity.


context Phoenix was founded in the 1860’s due to its foreseen agricultural potential as a result of the native Hohokam tribe who dug over 135 miles of irrigational canals. Its name, Phoenix, is based on the mythical creature, embodying its spirit as “a city born from the ruins of a former civilization”. The introduction of the railroad connecting Phoenix to a larger network of Tucson, Los Angeles and beyond introduced a material, economic and programmatic flux that began to change the economic and social situation of the urban fabric. In 1887 the city implemented its first form of public transportation, upgrading to an electric street car shortly after which continued its service until 1948.

1,800,000 1,600,000 1,400,000 1,200,000 1,000,000 800,000 600,000 400,000 200,000

800% 700% 600% 500% 400% 300% 200% 100% 2010 2000 1990 1980 1970 1960 1950 1940 1930 1920 1910 1900 1890 1880 1870

The 1940’s and World War II decisively shifted the environment and development of Phoenix from agriculture to industry. The war transformed the city into a distribution and production center. After the war there was a huge influx of inhabitants, which, coupled with the encouragement of the commercial media and a governmentally institutionalized version of the American Dream, prevalent urban growth and subsequent form change from urban to suburban. Due to the rapid population increase, large industry relocated to Phoenix after the war providing many jobs on cheap land. Phoenix is the only major urbanized area in the United States that has sustained a steady growth of industry to this day1. Its continual success, economically, urbanistically and socially is engendered by the car.

Population Growth

1: See Alan Berger’s Drosscape, Princeton Architectural Press, 2006
































+ i2 517 m ?


2010 Land Area of Phoenix


Phoenix In today’s urban environment, the suburban form has produced a condition in which vacancies and foreclosures are commonplace due to more preferable communities available elsewhere or the inability to economically sustain within one. In Phoenix, cheap land coupled with a continually growing economy and population has intensified the expansion of suburban sprawl while acting as a fertile test bed for new forms of development, resulting in the least dense city in the world of over one million inhabitants with a land area of 517 mi2 and a population of 1,567,924 which results in a population density of 3032 residents / mi2. urban sedimentation

planned housing communities

Phoenix: urban vs suburban

context climate

Phoenix is most distinctly characterized by its extreme climate. Located in the Sonoran desert, the temperature goes above the limit at which the human body begins to cook; the average high temperature in July of 107 °F. Even though the average daily temperature frequently goes below the comfort temperature, every month has cooling degree days. This is largely due to the consistently intense solar radiation throughout the year, producing solar excess of 3000 to 5000 hours per month. With an average possible sunshine of 85%, heat comes not just from the sky but from the ground. average temperature

heating needed

comfort temperature

cooling needed diurnal swing 36


33 .0




.4° 57

9° 6 8.

° 77.1


° 76.4



.2° 56


.3° 45

36 .2



degree hours





solar excess

6,000 4,000 2,000 month



climate Environmental factors have had numerous consequences on the urban and social framework of Phoenix. The intensity of the sun has produced an environment where the landscape rarely used. A result of this is the liberal population of buildings on individual plots of land. Architectural systems of cooling are seen as the only way to comfortably enjoy space and should therefore be maximized, leading to an environment in which the property is commonly occupied by multiple buildings for different functions built at different times. Architecture is used as a tool to maximize the inhabitable potential of land. Heat has adversely led to a high degree of land vacancies and the severity of sprawl. The maximization of land is very specifically within the confines of the property, but has little to no conscious relation to its neighbors aside from aesthetic relation to establish a sense of belonging and character. In this sense, the climate serves to emphasize the potentially isolating effects of suburbia and the single-family property. It can be uncomfortable to circulate in any pedestrian manner from one plot of land to another under the sun. Therefore, Phoenix has evolved with a strong dependency on the car to transport the individual from one place to another within a temperature controlled environment. The sparsity of inhabitation located around the core has demanded an extensive vehicular infrastructure and has led to a low commute time compared to other cities, emphasizing the use of the car even more. The ubiquity of the car and its relatively effortless nature of operation has led to a general indifference of spatial relativity, where the significance of one specific location more than another is mitigated. This has transformed the importance of space into an importance of community, constantly evolving and emigrating outward to new suburb developments with new innovations to increase pedestrian activity. Large water features and swathes of trees unsustainably cool the local ecosystem through evapotranspiration while being destroyed by the forces they reduce. Phoenix’s hot arid environment offers an ideal opportunity for exterior pedestrian inhabitation, but oppression by the sun coupled with a social and urban ideology of the car have served to curb progressive architectural innovation in this area. The pedestrian cannot be abandoned.

architectural population of land

old development, 3 miles from downtown core

new development, 16 miles from downtown core


context existing situations

According to a study done in 2000, 42.6% of all land in Phoenix was vacant 2 due to the fact that sprawl itself creates a situation in which property value is minimally differentiated and is temporal following the evolution of the adjacent communities. This has produced an environment in which the relationship between architecture and landscape is taken for granted. To combat against this, the city of Phoenix has launched many redevelopment and re-densification projects of the downtown core using primarily vacant land in an attempt to offer a desirable alternative to suburban living. 2:

relationship between building and landscape

vacant lots

civic center

cultural planning districts

landmarked buildings

biomedical research center

core areas core amenities



existing situations The site for this project is the area between Central Avenue and 16th street to the east-west and Washington street to Roosevelt street to the north-south. It is located directly next to several different areas of redevelopment including the expansion of ASU’s downtown, a biomedical research, and the extension of an existing arts community. The site is also adjacent to multiple nodes of a new Light Rail system which act as pedestrian attractors. The programmatic distribution of the site ranges from primarily commercial and intuitional to almost entirely residential in very close proximity to each other

site + mass transit parking industrial residential commercial 7th Ave

3rd Ave


Roosevelt Street

Filmore Street

Van Buren Street

Washington Street Jefferson Street

zoning + circulation

Central Ave

3rd Street

7th Street

12th Street

16th Street

downtown core

Rt 51


context existing situations

The site is considerably older and less valuable than its surrounding context. The devalued land is a product of zoning and its physical relationship to its surroundings. In a landscape when new amenityrich developments are being constructed almost daily, a formally obsolete community next to the downtown core and surrounded by large highways is less than favorable for those who have their free choice. Its proximity to the core and areas of redevelopment, an abundance of land vacancies and foreclosures, and a contemporary ideological shift towards urban living makes this area optimal for reconceptualizing the role and potentials a designed community has for social production.

land value

age of construction


yrs 130




With the recent economic and sub-prime mortgage crisis, property foreclosures have increased the amount of abandoned residential properties within existing communities. It has also altered the historical/psychological landscape of identity by preventing people from owning property. Coupled with the amount of vacancies in the urban fabric, this has produced a new pre-dominant urban condition, a new nature in which architecture can reposition its role in relation to the community it supports.

vacancies + foreclosures

network of foreclosures


process Investigations began with a tectonic system that could act as an objective structural framework and would provide a dialogue between program and formal expression. This initiated the search for a unit of infinite repetition. When these designs began the scope of the project was unknown, but it was figured that a malleability of scale was necessary. To accommodate this as a totalizing tectonic system, the cruciform section was adopted. The cruciform section was chosen for its ability to support both walls and floors in a single unit. By exploring the constraints of this logic, the idealized pure cross was deconstructed into a hierarchy of pieces to accommodate assembly. Furthermore when a system of floors and walls was introduced, the squarecross had to be mutated into a rectangular cross. This would allow for the free placement of surfaces, but still imposed too greatly on the form and subsequent programmatic repercussions as a result of spatial proportion. Therefore, in a reactive manner, non-uniform proportional systems were investigated but resulted in the loss of all systematic integrity.

rationalized module

hierarchy of parts in the rationalized module


iteration 0: framework

perspective within the infinite framework

facade logic: manipulating the directionality and proportion of louvers per facade

fourth floor plan


shading effects due to massing set-backs on the north facade

massing sketch

extended structural cruciform member section aa section

shaded north courtyard facade facing the street section b

The ground floor public program was designed with the concept of urban accupuncture. By strategically inserting public program into a homogenous field of residential development, the space can act as a cultural attractor with the potential for many different types of events and encounters by closely overlapping programs. A cafe and public living room are enclosed on the ground floor serving as a communal space of different speeds and purposes. A courtyard is the entrance to the north, shaded by the massing. To the south is a communal garden promoting community involvement. The structural system is continued on the ground plane to sculpt the landscape and circulation by differentiating scales and types of space.

third floor plan


second floor plan


This project is an experiment in order to test the thesis in the structural logic and conceptual fulfillment through site and prohorizontal gram. Its motive was to create a vertical residential development with a louvers become a lattice dynamic relationship between the inhabitants through a spatial negotiation of interior and exterior spaces with public space of variable enclosure on the ground floor. A sketch massing was developed to produce this type of architecture which would formally mediate against the sun to provide desirable outdoor space for both residents and visitors through a proportional module.

mies van der rohe - federal plaza

section c

section b

section a

process iteration 1: urban accupuncture

stress the horizontal for a pedestrian scale extended structural members can act as louvers

a b



first floor plan


bathroom -residence / local gallery


art studio

section c

first floor plan


rd / market

dining room

facade concept: 44

garfield school


iteration 1: urban accupunture The project was developed and built though a constant dialogue between physical modeling and the negotiation of massing from the ground up. Instead of applying an objective open framework across the site as was implied in the earlier investigations, modules of varying sizes were volumetrically arranged and manipulated to provide the spatial qualities desired. In retrospect, this produced many inconsistencies within the structural system where members do not align, creating an arbitrary flexibility in the design of space by reducing the framework to merely a structural system system. The golden rectangle was originally explored to define a pattern that allowed for spatial differentiation, but it resulted in spatial differentiation that did not necessarily lead to a pattern.

systematic inconsistencies

roosevelt street arts district

garfield school

site tectonic concept:

tectonic logic:

facade concept:

facade logic:

express the infinite to achieve an existential relativity

standardized panels and members

stress the horizontal for a pedestrian scale extended structural members can act as louvers

manipulating the directionality and proportion of louvers per facade

The site is a vacant piece of property located on Roosevelt Street, is on axis ot the arts community extension. To play an active element in the process of redevelopment and a part of the existing community, the second floor is dedicated to an art gallery for local artists as a continuation of the ground-floor public space.


community living room



dining room

courtyard / market

art studio

artist-in-residence / local gallery





roof plan



section through primary steel member, diagram



vertical horizontal

mies van der rohe - federal plaza

louvers become a lattice


A base dimension of 10’ was used for the standard module. When building vertically from the public space already established, the site began to impose constraints on building to the east or west. Due to the small footprint of the ground floors, only one residence was able to fit on top of the structure while still remaining under a relative height; programmatically working as an artist-in-residence space. This was unexpected and undesired as it is antithetical of the thesis of communal housing. first floor plan

second floor plan

third floor plan

shading effects due to massing set-backs on the north facade

section a

section b

section c

fourth floor plan

model, north facade facing the street

fourth floor plan

fourth floor plan

first floor plan

second floor plan

roof plan




section c second floor plan

section c fourth floor plan

section b

shading effects due to massing set-backs on the north facade

third floor plan

mies van der rohe - federal plaza

section b

first floor plan


section a

third floor plan



louvers become a lattice

vertical horizontal

second floor plan

section a


dining room mies van der rohe - federalart plazastudio

artist-in-residence / local gallery

courtyard / market


third floor plan




lart plazastudio

dining room

46 process iteration 1: urban accupuncture

vertical hori louvers becom

47 section a section a

section b section b section b

section c section c section c

consequences of systematic inconsistencies


artist studio


community living room

dining room


local art gallery



massing + program


process iteration 1: urban accupuncture

urban accupuncture physical model


iteration 2: physical framework In this design iteration, the forces of individuation were synthesized with the context of the home by looking at the greater relationships it has has with other like-spaces in order to rearticulate the link between individual and collective. Relationships are established and defined by their boundaries and distinctions; in a sense to the degree that they are autonomous. These boundaries are created in ways both spatial and psychological: rigid property lines strictly distinguish between presence and absence, and the methods of representing our identity through cultural aesthetics emphasize difference or similarity. The project creates an environment in which there is a permeability to both these boundary-types while still engendering their subjective and suburban constituencies of privacy and identity. These axioms are blurred by establishing a consistent yet expressive framework for the house and restructuring the “rules� of property. The active inhabitation of space, the tangible relationships one has to another and the subsequent way space is used, is negotiated through the modular flexibility of a pixelated logic. The house itself is situated as the boundary condition typically enacted by the lawn or fence. Instead of mediating between the collective and individual environment, between the public and private, the house negotiates between two distinct types of communal spaces by establishing varying degrees of collectivity and individuality. This engenders a more fluid and synthetic method of inhabitation by providing an environment in which the properties and characteristics of each space are dynamic and therefore offer a unique space for appropriation and subjectivization. What this strategy reconciles is the fluidity of contemporary individuality that is required for the production of events; not only do choices need to exist but in variance and differentiation. The forces of individuation have become more pervasive, producing a social tendency of informality and intensity as opposed to the formal rigidity of boundaries such as inclusion/exclusion. The complexities and ubiquity of communication have effectively shattered these preconceived binary logics and require a more porous environment for the synthetic production of subjectivity. The rules of inhabitation and the proportional framework that are defined in the following project engender this type of environment by creating a hyper-differentiation of space as op-


process iteration 2: physical framework

posed to form. This provides the opportunity for people to have a multitude of spaces to choose from in ranging degrees of scale, privacy and activity based on their moods, feelings, psychologies, and desires. What this strategy lacks or fails at is integration with the context, ultimately its synthesis. The design was conceived of with its proportional logics taken from the site, but was abstracted and decontextualized to explore the maximum potential opportunities and consequences of the system. When and by doing this, crucial elements for design were overlooked or never seen due to this abstraction; the boundary condition in which so much was done to relieve was ignored if this was to be translated onto a site. In isolation, in itself, the product of this system is an environment of multiple multiplicities, dynamically charged by the relationships of the home. The house in this situation serves as the negotiator between two public environments as a private boundary that remained permeable. This would create a consistent dialogue of participation and awareness effectively rearticulating the subject with every event to occur in their proximity. This approach, emphasized by the representational and conceptual tools employed to realize it, questions the value and pure difference between the contemporary situation and the proposal that is resisting it. As opposed to resisting, this iteration seems to duplicate under slightly different conditions what already exists. A subversive element is lacking because in the early design conceptualization, a specific element was not highlighted and focused on. The boundaries of property are modified but yet still exist in somewhat less isolating forms but carry the same significance of presence. This was done in order to accommodate the axiom of the single-family house, which critically raises the question: is the single family home an assertable form in the contemporary context of subjectivity and for the production of a new environment?


Rules: • The entire site is divided into a 10’x10’ grid. • There are 2 homes per property. • Property is effectively defined as the area of the home in its relation to the landscape, not the landscape with a home on it. • Each home can use the first 6 grid modules on the property aligned to both sides. • Each home consists of a primary 30’x30’x30’ structure which can be situated anywhere within the 6x5 buildable area • In addition, each home has a secondary 30’x30’x30’ structure for future expansion that can be divided along the vertical axis and rearranged in relation to the home. • The property line is extended on top the sidewalk, fronting the street; there are no sidewalks. • Alleyways are expanded so that they can perform equally to the street. • By evenly distributing vehicular circulation, the main road can be reduced from 30’ to 22’6” • An interior pedestrian path to form in the middle of the two homes on each site. When implemented on a single site, it can be for two friends or close members of a family. When implemented on two sites, it can be for a group of friends or an extended family. While this potential exists at smaller scales, when implemented on 3 or more sites, it can be a dynamic environment, amalgamating various individuals into a new community. Existing property proportions 150’



15’ 30’ 15’










Proposed property proportions




process iteration 2: physical framework

vehicular corridor

interior community


infinite plan scale: 1/96” = 1’-0”


process iteration 2: physical framework

single property planning strategy

distributions of interiority


This series of investigation is within the iteration of “physical framework” and is a means to explore the ways in which its formal system can be reconciled with the expression of identity. The 30’x30’x30’ cage was taken as a base module and was coupled with a tensile fabric system. In isolation, neither of the systems are structurally stable or can produce architecture, but through the interaction between the two an equilibrium can be attained to support the home and its subsequent identity. In study 1 a single surface was fastened to opposite corners and then pulled in various directions. This developed as a purely formal exploration and started to reveal the tendencies of the material and structural relationship by manipulating the experiment until failure. Study 2 was a further investigation of the formal plasticity and structural balance between these two systems. Three surfaces were used remaining horizontal to simulate the potential floors in a building. The tensile manipulations were mainly done for aesthetically arbitrary reasons, but towards the end of the study architectural elements began to emerge as diagrammatic representations through the manipulation of the surfaces; for example stairs were implemented toward the rear of the model by a rise in the fabric. While this model maintained relatively structural due to its symmetrical forces, it needed cross bracing to stablize it back into the original cube-form

study 1, physical model


process iteration 2: physical framework

study 2, physical model


During the third study a level of proficiency with the formal system was attained, allowing more architectural and spatial factors to be integral into the design as well as providing more freedom in the manipulation of form and surface. Using two surfaces instead of three, an inherent slant was given to both in order to see its spatial opportunities consequences. Not requiring a symmetry of tensile forces provide a greater freedom in design. When designing the issues of circulation and program were directly taken into consideration. This model was designed as a one story house of approximately 900 ft2 with an entry hall, living room, dining room, kitchen, private bedroom, bathroom, staircase leading up to a roof deck and a staircase leading to the communal space in the rear of the building. The structural stability of this iteration was again not perfect, but did not threaten the structural integrity of the model and did not require additional support.

study 3, physical model

study 3, physical model


process iteration 2: physical framework

In the fourth study, the cage was subdivided along the exterior in 10’ x 10’ modules. This allowed for a much greater freedom of formal expression along the interior while not imposing directly on them. The consequence of this is when viewing the larger module, there are more obstructions to the internal form, emphasizing the cage-like nature of this system.

study 2, physical model

This study ended the design investigation specifically into “the framework”. By starting with a preconceived idea of a system and later trying to apply it to a site raised many problems that were to be avoided. By starting as two distinct things it would constantly be a struggle to make a convincing argument for how the two were actually united and related to each other aside from sitting right next to one another. The modular concepts of the framework were folded into the design logic of The Supurban Project and manifested themselves in the residences themselves, but their explicit design was given up in favor of a more holistic design approach.


study 4, physical model


historical discourse A project of this type is instantly situated within the discourse of superprojects. Archigram in this regard is prolific in multiple ways and projects. The Plug-In City project envisions a new form of urbanism that is based on modern forms of production. The project is a pure utopia, not taking into account an existing context at all. The Instant City project is a proposal for how to revitalize the cities we currently live. This was in direct response to the homgenizing tendencies of development that are antithetical to subjective opportunities.

archigram - plug-in city - 1964

archigram - instant city - 1968


Constant Nieuwenhuis’s New Babylon project is similarly based on contemporary modes of production in order to propose a new form of urbanism. It intentionally and explicitly negates the existing context, setting as its ambition to literally replace what is currently there (revealing the sandy beaches underneath). The interiors are designed as transient labyrinths and the conception of the home is entirely erased. This theoretically is a formal manifestation of the increasingly transient nature of individuals, allowing for the maximum potential of events, situations, and subjectivity. The tectonic expression resonates closely with my own, while taking on a much larger scale (possibly anticipating the collapse of distance)

constant nieuwenhuis - new babylon - 1952-1974

historical discourse 62

These two projects focus on the ability for a modular construction system to engender a new type of community and new existential relationship. Dietrich’s project, when ultimately realized lost a great deal of its allure by sacrificing tectonic clarity and material transparency. Safdie’s project though is arguably most successful in built form (as opposed to theoretical projection) by explicating the modular potential of dynamically mediating between interior and exterior.

moshe safdie - habitat - 1967

richard j. dietrich - metastadt-bausystem - 1965


These projects bear close affinity to ones previously mentioned but abstract the idea of a framework to its tectonic level that bears resonance with my own design process. The Fun Palace is a utopian logic (though he is explicitly not a utopian architect), which is applied to contexts in a prototypical fashion. A degree of reality is always maintained while envisioning these spaces as evidenced by his formal aesthetic. The idea of a module permeates the totality of his work, but is possibly most explicit in the Generator project which applies its potential logics to the topic of housing and community. clusters, direct environment, and density were able to be easily taken on through the use of this module. By creating a spatial differentiation of density and loose programmatic uses, he believed the environment would produce “generative� action, creating sense of place through the production of an active society.

cedric price - fun palace - 1961

cedric price - generator - 1976

historical discourse 64

These projects explicitly propose new forms of community. BKK-3’s project is situated in an urban setting and therefore does not need to compete as directly with suburban ideals and offers opportunities to bring in public activities and program to the internal community. This is achieved through a delicate negotiation of inside/outside and private/public. The project by Wes Jones is a theoretical proposal to provide the ideals of the suburb in a form of urbanism that is more optimized to these ideals. It still maintains at its core the single family dwelling with private backyards and lawns, assimilating them into a single space by lowering the ground of inhabitation (as opposed to elevate, as I did). Cars are integrated as essential elements but a more compact prototype is designed to be more conducive to a pedestrian environment.

wes jones - sub-’burb / house of the future - 1999

bkk-3 - sargfabrik - 1996


These projects are a critical reinvestigation of the suburb and the suburban ideals. Elemental is situated in a context in which the suburb has not become the predominant condition. In response to this the suburban ideals are reappropriated in a modular fashion and synthesized with the existing informal context. Teddy Cruz on the other hand, is situated in the context of a dissasociated suburbia, where its structures are in direct conflict with its inhabitants (typically low-income immigrant families). His elemental - quinta monroy - 2004 projects architecturally adopt an informal logic to a situation that is overly defined. This synthesizes the cultural context with its physical environment that it inhabits.

teddy cruz - non-stop sprawl - 2008

teddy cruz - manufactured sites - present


conclusions The primary form of conclusion for this thesis is this book itself. The past year has been a struggle to reveal the synthetic relationship between the project of this thesis and the thesis of this project. The iterative design process that was undertaken was one of trial and error, which may make them seem scattered and unrelated upon quick glance. A fundamental element of this effort was defining and accepting the limits in which I would allow myself to work within. While originally proposing to create a single site intervention, I began to understand the political motives behind this thesis through being confronted with a failure in this regard; the proposal did not do enough. After exploring this route, I temporarily immersed myself within the context of Garfield. When I visited the site, meeting the people and their community, I was faced with a reality which I felt might be contradictory and detrimental to the aims of the thesis. I was presented a place when I was expecting to find (with some exaggeration) a desolate wasteland. After realizing the reality of the situation, a dialogue of negation emerged that is radically prevalent in the final representational techniques of the drawings, particularly the section. While I hyper-engineered the final project, the context below is entirely negated, “abstracted� to black or white boxes. In this regard, although I claimed to engage the existing environment and physically did, I was unable to access the suburb in a conceptual level of understanding the scale of inhabitation and subsequently failed to produce a true dialogue between the context and the intervention. I originated the design process through an investigation into the social diagram of the suburb, and the foundation for this project and this site was more in response to the changing urban situation of Garfield. These were abandoned once a prototypical system and formal process was revealed, which ultimately allowed for a negligence of the ground plane. While alluding to methods of interaction between the existing context and the proposal through polemical ideas of heterogeneity, I inadvertently reintroduced classical notions of Marxist alienation that threaten the integrity of the project and its transformative efficacy.


Possibly emphasizing the disjunction between the proposal and the context even more is the void space that remains in between them. I was searching for a way in which I could use this space as a means to relate and connect the two spaces as opposed to it being a signification of their difference. By materializing the bottom surface of the intervention, the new roof of the context, as a mirror I was able to make the space performative, but not in the form of an exchange. This is a missed opportunity, which could have massively altered the direction of the project. Most likely, this would have led to a subversion of programthe manipulation of form as opposed to using it in an industrial fashion as I did by placing it repetitively in the bar. This also would have directly engaged the existing context in the design process. This is the problem that Sartre warns early on in his tome of existentialism about synthesis, as it leaves the potential open for bad faith to emerge as the inadvertent act of self negation: “it is not profitable first to separate the two terms of a relation in order to try and join them together again later. The relation is a synthesis” (Sartre, 3)

This thesis took the stereotypical suburb as its ground, but did not respond to the prototypical reality of it, plus failed to take into account the recent trends of exurbia that are increasingly prevalent in cities such as Phoenix. In a sense, I fabricated the context to fit the aims of my thesis, which ultimately ended up jeopardizing it. With all of this self-critique said and done, in the end I am happy with what I have produced. I feel it is an accomplishment to formulate an argument and proposal of this scale. Through my analysis I was able to make a coherent narrative about a topic as grand as the suburb, and was able to locate the critical points and issues that lead to its “failure” at a conceptual level, underlying its contemporary manifestations. This project stands as a dialectical model to one which typologically is becoming obsolete, and while working on a polemical level reveals many further vectors and opportunities for design investigations into its discrepancies. Only through the radical nature of this form could the latent structures and implications of the suburban model be revealed, presenting them as subjects for critical questioning and apprehension.


bibliography architecture books • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Archer, John. Architecture and Suburbia. University of Minnesota, 2008. Berger, Alan. Drosscape: Wasting Land in Urban America. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2007. Cook, Peter. Archigram. New York: Princeton Architectural, 1999. Duany, Andres, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck. Suburban Nation. New York: North Point, 2001 Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping. Köln: Taschen, 2001. Koolhaas, Rem, and Bruce Mau. S, M, L, XL. New York, N.Y: Monacelli, 1998 Koolhaas, Rem. Delirious New York. New York: Monacelli, 1994. Kwinter, Sanford. Far from Equilibrium. Barcelona: Actar, 2008. Lerup, Lars. After the City. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2000 Lerup, Lars. Planned Assaults. Montréal: Centre Canadian D’Architecture/Canadian Centre for Architecture, 1987. Price, Cedric. Cedric Price: The Square Book. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Academy, 2003. Pope, Albert. Ladders. Houston, Tex: Rice School of Architecture, Princeton Architectural, 1996. Reiser, Jesse. Atlas of Novel Tectonics. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2005. Sarkis, Hashim. Corbusier’s Venice Hospital and the Mat Building Revival. Munich: Prestel, 2001. Smithson, Peter and Alison. Urban Structuring. Littlehampton Book Services Ltd, 1967. Soleri, Paolo. Arcosanti: an Urban Laboratory? Santa Monica, CA: VTI, 1987. Team 10, 1953-81: In Search of a Utopia of the Present. Rotterdam: NAi, 2005. Venturi, Robert, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour. Learning from Las Vegas. Revised ed. New York: The MIT Press, 2001 Wigley, Mark. Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire. Rotterdam: Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, 010, 1998. Tadashi Oshima, Ken, Rasmus Waern, Barry Bergdoll, and Peter Christensen. Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008.

other books • • • • • • • •

Badiou, Alain. Ethics: an Essay on the Understanding of Evil. London: Verso, 2001. Badiou, Alain, Oliver Feltham, and Justin Clemens. Infinite Thought: Truth and the Return to Philosophy. London: Continuum, 2008. DeLanda, Manuel. A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History. New York: Zone Books, 2000. Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. University of Minnesota, 1987. Deleuze, Gilles. The Fold. New York: University of Minnesota, 1992. Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things. New York: Vintage, 1994. Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. New York: Penguin, 2005. Klibansky, Raymond, Erwin Panofsky, and Fritz Saxl. Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art. Basic, 1964.


• •

Nealon, Jeffrey T. Foucault beyond Foucault: Power and Its Intensifications since 1984. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford UP, 2008. Sartre, Jean-Paul, and Hazel Estella. Barnes. Being and Nothingness: an Essay in Phenomenological Ontology. New York: Citadel, 2001.

essays • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Bratton, Benjamin H. “iPhone City.” Architectural Design 79.4 (2009): 90-97. Beardsley, John. “Border Crossings: Tijuana/San Diego.” Harvard Design Magazine 28 (2008): 62-63 DeLanda, Manuel. “Extensive Borderlines and Intensive Borderlines.” from Architecture of the Borderlands. Wiley-Academy, 1999. 78-80. Foucault, Michel. “Of Other Spaces.” Web. 22 Apr. 2010. <>. Guardia, Rodrigo. “Korean Cyber-Bangs: Seoul.” Architectural Design 75.6 (2005): 8-9. Jones, Wes. “Sub-’burb.” Architectural Design 74.4 (2004): 53-59. Kipnis, Jeffrey. “Towards a New Architecture” from Folding in Architecture. By Greg Lynn. New York: Wiley-Academy, 2004. 57-64. Marling, Gitte, and Hans Kiib. “The 21st-Century Welfare State.” Architectural Design 75.6 (2005): 50-55. Marston, Sallie A., John Paul Jones III, and Keith Woodward. Human Geography Without Scale. Thesis. University of Arizona, 2005. Tuscon, AZ: Department of Geography and Regional Development, 2005. McMorrough, John. “Notes on the Adaptive Re-Use of Program.” Praxis 8 (2006): 102-10. Moneo, Raphael. “On Typology.” Oppositions 13 (1978): 22-45. Moussavi, Farshid. “The Function of Ornament.” from The Function of Ornament. Barcelona: Actar, 2006. 5-12. Petit, Emmanuel J. “Botox-ing Architecture’s Hermenuetical Wrinkles.” Perspecta 38 (2006): 2938. Pope, Albert. “Terminal Distribution.” Architectural Design 78.1 (2008): 16-21. Robbins, Bruce. “The Public and the V2.” Architectural Design 78.1 (2008): 12-15. Robert, Laurent-Paul, and Vesna Petresin Robert. “Distructuring Utopias.” Architectural Design 79.5 (2009): 42-49. Ross, Andrew. “Housing, immigration and fairness: learning from San Ysidro.” Harvard Design Magazine 27 (2007): 22-29. Scott Cohen, Preston. “Dextrous Architecture.” Harvard Design Magazine 29 (2008): 65-69. Segal, Rafi, and Els Verbakel. “Urbanism Without Density.” Architectural Design 78.1 (2008): 6-11. Tajima, Noriyuki. “Tokyo Catalyst: Shifting Situations of Urban Space.” Perspecta 38 (2006): 8189. Wall, Alex. “Public Lifestyle in the Low-Density City.” Architectural Design 78.1 (2008): 22-27. Varnelis, Kazys. “Place: The Networking of Public Space.” from Networked Publics. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 2008. Virilio, Paul. “Big Optics.” from On Justifying the Hypothetical Nature of Art and the Non-Identicality Within the Object World. ed. Peter Weibel, Koln: Walther Koenig Bookshop, 2002.


list of figures All images are produced by the hand of Nick Axel unless henceforth noted: All images on pages 3 & 4 are taken from the book Architecture and Suburbia by John Archer The underlying photograph for the image on page 13 was taken from the website <> All images on page 52 were taken from the website <> All images on page 53 were taken from the book Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire by Mark Wigley All images on page 54 were taken from the book Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling by Ken Tadashi Oshima, Rasmus Waern, Barry Bergdoll, and Peter Christensen All images on page 55 were taken from the book Cedric Price: The Square Book by Cedric Price The images of the Sub-’burb project by Wes Jones on page 56 were taken from “Sub-’burb” in Architectural Design 74.4 The images of the Quinta Monroy project by Elemental on page 57 were taken from the website < http://www.archdaily. com/10775/quinta-monroy-elemental/> The images of the Manufactured Sites project by Teddy Cruz on page 57 were taken from the website <http://arpafil.blogspot. com/2009/08/teddy-cruz-nacion-en-la-ciudad-de.html>


I would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who has taught me and everyone I have learned from.

THESIS // Suburb as Alterity  

Final thesis book completed in Spring of 2010 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as part of the B.Arch program. Research into the theoret...

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