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Lunch is a design research journal printed in the United States by the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia University of Virginia School of Architecture Campbell Hall PO Box 400122 Charlottesville, VA 22904 www.uvalunch.com Editors Luke Harris, Laurence Holland, Kaitlynn Long, Juliana Shapiro, Dillon Wilson Team Batul Abbas, Salvatrice Aul, Claire Casstevens, Angie Door, Fatin Hameed, Del Helper, Yijun Li, Sam Sidersky, Ed Taylor, Cara Turett, Pia Von Barby, Brian Waite Advisors Iñaki Alday, Amanda Coen, Amanda Goodman, Katie Long Special Thanks Elizabeth K. Meyer Copyright © 2016 Lunch Journal Copyright © 2016 University of Virginia Cover image by Luke Harris, Karilyn Johanesen, Lillian Radkoff, and Dillon Wilson Charlottesville, VA All rights reserved ISBN 978-0-692-71840-7
Contents 1 Make Yourself at Home The Editors
Housetraining 7 Synanthropic Suburbia Sarah Gunawan 23 Cut Flowers Hannah Barefoot 31 Human Occupation Within a Wild River Alexandra Dimitri 41 Re-wilding the Riverfront Phoebe Crisman 51 Living with Fire Ian Carr
Home Economics 65 Havana Parcel Scott Shinton and Lucy McFadden 81 Towards a Speculative Home Economics Curtis Roth 97 This Home is Not a Hospital: Disease in the Interior Katie Long 105 Disruptive Stimuli Amanda Coen 115 Beyond Human Publics Bonnie Kate Walker and Claire Casstevens 129 Eating At Home, Outside the House Ana Cubillos-Torres
Domestic Politics 143 Destination Gestation Rennie Jones and Abby Stone 153 Domestic Bodies, Trans Embodiments: Reframing Binary-Gendered Spaces A.L. Hu 159 Good Intentions Maria Letizia Garzoli and David Himelman 165 My House Em Cheng 173 Domestic Ecology: The Anglo-Indian Bungalow Olivia Houck 181 Go Vertical Margaret Rew, Taylor Hewett, and Karilyn Johanesen
Open House 191 Home is Where the Work Is Jennifer Davis 203 Shelf Life: A New Domestic Landscape Carol Kaifosh 213 Tools for Domestication in a Conditional World Owen Weinstein and Brian Osborn 225 No One Feels at Home Anymore Florence Twu 231 Romeâ€™s Teverone Jorg Sieweke
Make Yourself at Home The Editors
Domestication is the attempt to control or govern objects, spaces, and life forms: to use their value to enrich one’s own quality of life. The desire to manage and organize space, to situate oneself in a home, and to enlist the environment in the construction of identity are all key aspects of human fulfillment and well-being. But this control is never complete, and so domestication must be understood as an ongoing and mutually transformative negotiation.
1 Mary Douglas. “The Idea of a Home: A Kind of Space.” Social Research 58:1 (1991:Spring) 289.
Rather than examining “the domestic” as a condition, Lunch 11 explores domestication as a process, emphasizing practices of familiarization, affiliation, and assimilation that help people to construct domestic space. Lunch 11 is concerned with modes of domestication that individuals and groups initiate for themselves, driven not by a desire for total control, but by a need for allegiance and identification with the built environment. In these pages, contemporary designers critically assess existing processes of domestication and propose new techniques, seeking to establish more equitable and responsive relationships between species and spaces. We believe that domestication is a reciprocal transformation, not simply mastery and obedience; it is a dynamic, active, and often contentious relationship, rather than a final state. Domestication is not the eradication of otherness, but the recognition and celebration of relationships that situate us in the world. Home starts by establishing some measure of control over a space, but this is just the beginning.1 Domestication is realized through time; it is
enacted and reenacted. In parts of Great Britain, village residents carry on an ancient tradition of “beating the bounds”--walking their parish boundaries each year to ensure that the community’s spatial extents are remembered and maintained across generations. Such traditions reveal the essential temporality of domestication; the home is defined by formal marking of boundaries, but also by regular care and maintenance of the bounded space. The temporal dimension is crucial to an understanding of domestication as a negotiation between domesticator and domesticated. As Donna Haraway explains, the process of training a dog changes both the dog and its human trainer, generating “coconstitutive relationships in which none of the partners pre-exist the relating, and the relating is never done once and for all.”2 In spite of all attempts at complete domestication, there is always, “significant otherness at every scale.”3 Recognizing the desire for control embedded in the concept of domestication, we advocate for practices of domestication that engage critically with their own relational dynamics, power structures, and histories: an ethic grounded in the understanding that control is always incomplete. The freedom to create and control domestic space is fundamental to the identity, dignity, and cultural survival of marginalized people; the right to domesticate is a prerequisite for social equity and justice. Describing the lives of enslaved people in the American South in her 1990 essay “Homeplace (a site of resistance)”, bell hooks explains: “Despite the brutal reality of racial apartheid, of domination, one’s homeplace was the one site where one could freely confront the issue of humanization, where one could resist. Black women resisted by making homes where all black people could strive to be subjects, not objects, where we could be affirmed in our minds and hearts despite poverty, hardship, and deprivation, where we could restore to ourselves the dignity denied us on the outside in the public world… When a people no longer have the space to construct homeplace, we cannot build a meaningful community of resistance” 4
The act of controlling space by constructing boundaries, however porous, allows for the creation of a “homeplace” defined against dominant political institutions and narratives. It is not the dwelling per se that is the “subversive political gesture,” but rather the process of constructing and maintaining the dwelling space, both physically and culturally.5 In the discipline of architecture, domestication has been enacted through two major strategies: the transitive (housing), in which one party domesticates another and exerts control over the other’s conditions of domestic life, and the reflexive (homemaking), in which a party creates its own domestic space. While these two modes are not precisely opposites, they provide a framework for understanding historical modes of design intervention in the domestic realm, and how these domestic spaces have aggregated to form the city.6 While interest in alternative modes of domestication has waxed and waned, the history of architecture has been marked by periods of intense interest in transitive practices, perhaps because they articulate a clear role for the designer--the person who, before the space is inhabited, decides the activities and relationships that will be permitted and proscribed there, what will be encouraged or discouraged. A top-down approach often precludes the rigorous and empathetic study
2 Donna Haraway. The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness. (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003) 12. 3 Donna Haraway. The Companion Species Manifesto. 24.
4 bell hooks. “Homeplace (a site of resistance.” Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics (Boston: South End Press, 1990) 42.
5 bell hooks. “Homeplace (a site of resistance.” 43.
6 Pier Vittorio Aureli. “Means to an End: The Rise and Fall of the Architectural Project of the City” in The City as a Project (Berlin: Ruby Press, 2014) 37-38.
of reflexive practices, but some architects, including Herman Hertzberger and, more recently, Alejandro Aravena, consciously accommodate reflexive domestication in their designs, employing a methodology that cultivates potential for creation of a homeplace. The continual construction of the homeplace is a fundamentally civic act that is not limited to the traditional boundaries of the house. The city comprises a network of overlapping realms of domestication that, rather than fitting neatly into a public-private dichotomy, extend and collide across the urban landscape. The city can be understood as a matrix of complex and contradictory domestications. To grasp this shifting terrain, we propose a close reading of the reflexive processes of domestication, building on traditions of community-based design and environmental psychology. Taking peopleâ€™s observed spatial behaviors and preferences as the foundation for design is crucial for architecture to remain relevant in physically and socially diverse urban environments. Understanding the city as an extended field of the domestic, Lunch 11 juxtaposes small-scale practices of space-claiming with systemic policies of domestication, thereby confronting the complexity, controversy, and excitement of making ourselves at home in the contemporary world. Luke Harris Laurence Holland Julie Shapiro Dillon Wilson
Practices of domestication are practices of control: they redraw the boundaries of the domestic realm by imposing order on people, animals, and territories. Alternative models of domestication can establish new relationships between ecology and the constructed environment, restructure the thresholds between human and non-human natures, and subvert the illusion of complete control. Tales of domestic spaces as isolated, closed systems have been ruptured and the home embedded within broader ecological networks.
Synanthropic Suburbia Sarah Gunawan
fig. 1 (facing) Synanthropic suburban house: The application of prosthetics embeds ecological potential into the architecture of emerging suburban ecosystems.
A multi-species migration is underway in North America. For the last century, human migration from rural regions to city centers has been shadowed by the migrations of animal species who have found ideal habitats within the expanding urban environment. Subway systems and sewer infrastructure provide dark, protective havens for poor-sighted brown rats to call home. Domestic attics and garden sheds are ideal domiciles for nocturnal raccoons. Innumerable species of birds and rodents find prime real estate on the surfaces, ledges, and cavities of the architecture of the city. Urbanization has inadvertently created novel habitats for synanthropic species who have adapted to, and benefit from, living in close proximity to humans. Cities throughout Canada and the United States continue to expand outward into their hinterlands, converting agrarian and natural landscapes into residential and commercial developments. The explorations of Synanthropic Suburbia are situated within this landscape of dramatic ecological transformation â€“ suburbia â€“ at the site of greatest contention between human and animal: the domestic territory of the house. Suburbia blurs the edges of cities, integrating patterns of low density development with existing environmental systems of ravines, ponds, streams, and forested areas. Within this context, the once binary anthropogenic definitions of city and nature, domestic and wild, dissolve, and architecture is called upon to negotiate the boundaries between human and synanthropic animal. The freestanding single-family house, surrounded by a manicured lawn, is the idealized image of suburban domesticity. It is an intensely
managed habitat, in which the homeowner attempts to fully control the appearance, operation and, most importantly, occupation of the domestic territory. The invasion of the home by foreign animal species is considered intolerable, as evidenced by the array of poisons, traps, and pest control services available to the suburban homeowner. The envelope of the house, as perceived by humans, is meant to be a boundary of exclusion (fig. 2). On the other hand, synanthropic species, whose previous habitats were supplanted by development, perceive the suburban house as an opportunity for cohabitation. Exterior surfaces, peripheral cavities, and heated spaces register as available perches, pathways, or nesting sites within an animal’s umwelt 1 or perceptual world. Synanthropic Suburbia engages this multiplicity of perceptions as a foundation for re-imagining the interface between humans and synanthropic species in today’s ecological reality. The project proposes a set of architectural extensions or ‘prosthetics’ to the single-family house which restructures the behaviors and territorial boundaries of six animal species and their human neighbors (fig. 3, fig. 5, fig. 7). It targets a range of species from the contentious raccoon to the at-risk chimney swift. Each prosthetic leverages and augments the identifiable suburban forms of the dormer, chimney, and eave to subtly and strategically integrate potential for species’ inhabitation. The Compost Chimney prosthetic (fig. 4) employs the clever and dexterous raccoon as a laborer in the composting process while also providing shelter for chimney swifts above. The Extended Eave prosthetic (fig. 6) improves the performative function and aesthetic value of the otherwise banal eaves, while providing heated nesting space for at-risk bluebirds and tree swallows. The Habitat Dormer prosthetic (fig. 8) provides additional real
fig. 2 (above) A range of human-animal interactions illustrate the dynamic relationship between the factors of control and perception which inform human interactions with animals
1 Jacob von Ueküll, J. A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: with a Theory of Meaning. Translated by J. D. O’Neil. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010).
estate not only for humans but also for barn owls and brown bats who pay rent with their pest control services. The goal is to engage particular species in domestic systems of resource production, pest control, and ecological management, thereby repositioning synanthropic animals as desirable and productive neighbors within the suburban environment. In turn, the architectural prosthetics train homeowners to be caretakers of their own domestic ecosystems. Homeowners are encouraged to perceive synanthropic species as allies instead of enemies within the suburban ecosystem. Homeowners can then relinquish hyper-control of the domestic realm, and instead cultivate relationships of mutually productive cohabitation (fig. 2). The prosthetics are designed to capitalize on conventional North American wood-frame building types, facilitating the replication and adapation of the system across a range of houses and ecological conditions. Using the logic of the prosthetic systems, entirely new synanthropic suburban neighborhoods could be constructed, or existing communities renovated, to encourage allied species to cohabitate. Over time, synanthropic suburbs would become diverse habitats in which the spatial definitions of domesticity are restructured to enable hybrid, mutually beneficial conditions of human-animal living.
fig. 3 Spatial & biological parameters of the common raccoon
fig. 4 Compost chimney prosthetic The metal chimney frame is anchored by a composting chamber. An external gear wheel, which a raccoon can easily rotate, circulates a conveyor belt inside which enables the composting process. In exchange for its labor, the raccoon is rewarded with morsels of food dispensed from the Wage Tube, and the homeowner receives nutrient-rich compost with which they can enhance their domestic ecology.
fig. 5 Spatial and biological parameters of the eastern bluebird
fig. 6 Extended eave prosthetic The eave merges water mitigation systems with exhaust vents to create an extended season habitat for bluebirds and tree swallows. The system could be modified to the biological and spatial parameters of various bird species, creating diverse habitat opportunities.
fig. 7 Spatial and biological parameters of the barn owl
fig. 8 Habitat dormer prosthetic The prosthetic provides a moderately heated nest box for rodent-consuming Barn owls. The form of the dormer is wrapped in a wood-slat cladding system which provides habitat for brown bats.
Cut: Give Me Flowers While I’m Living Hannah Barefoot
fig. 1 The decay of an arrangement of tulips, purchased at Whole Foods in Charlottesville, VA
What does it mean to bring flowers into a home? What are the implications of cutting (killing) a plant, and attempting to preserve it in our homes for a brief period? The domestic practice of bringing plants inside for consumption, sentiment, and aesthetics can be luxurious, habitual, or ceremonial. Consumers of flowers witness a brief moment within a plant’s life cycle. By transferring the flower into the home, the presence of mortality is registered and acknowledged in the domestic realm. Trying to delay their vivid and visible decay, we confront the fragility and tenderness of flowers’ bodies, and our own. I would like to examine the professional practice of arranging flowers, the history of their connection to our domestic lives, and their sensual, ephemeral presence in a home. My first paying gig with cut flowers was at an opulent wedding in Keswick, Virginia. Sarah Ryhanen, the florist for the event, is the mastermind behind Saipua, a NYC-based floral design and soap business turned flower farm, composting center, and occasional school. For the past decade she has advocated for the use of local, seasonal flowers in the floral industry. Her own floral designs draw on the imperfections and eccentricities of flowers; they resemble a kind of weedy Dutch master painting. The arrangements at the wedding in Keswick during October, 2013, were made up mostly of dahlias, along with branches foraged from roadside thickets. The space devoted to flower preparation at the wedding facility was astonishing; masses of blooms occupied two 200 square foot rooms, which were carefully air-conditioned to preserve the delicate plant material.
VEGETAL GROW TH
OVAR IAN D EVEL OPM ENT
This was my first glimpse into the global flower industry (which depends on the transport of fragile, ephemeral plant material) and it was intriguing, charming, and, on some level, absurd. At the wedding, the budget for flowers alone was estimated at $25,000. Ryhanen knew how to convince the bride that this expenditure was worthwhile; by providing a unique palette of local, seasonal flowers, and the chance to engage personally with growers. But what are the larger reasons, or motives, for having flowers at a wedding? What does the tradition of cut flowers and floral arrangement mean as an act of â€œdomesticationâ€? and human connection to the larger environment? Although the economics, logistics and methods of highend floral design may seem remote from daily household life, the act of cutting flowers and bringing them indoors is in fact an important historical practice, rich with significance as a ritual of domesticity. Egyptian records from as early as 1000 BC indicate the use of cut
fig. 2 Annual phenology of Lupinus perennius
Japan USA China Israel
fig. 3 The global floriculture trade (2013 data from FloraHolland and Rabobank) 1 The Neanderthal remains were found in the Shanidar Cave in northern Iraq. The remains of ten Neanerthals dating from 35,000 to 65,000 years ago were unearthed between 19571961 by Ralph Solecki and a team from Columbia University 2 R. S. Solecki, “The Implications of the Shanidar Cave Neanderthal Flower Burial.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 293 (1977): 114–124. 3 Laura Anne Kalba. “Blue Roses and Yellow Violets: Flowers and the Cultivation of Color in the Nineteenth-Century France.” Representations, Vol. 120, No. 1 (Fall 2012): 83-114. 4 Beverly Seaton. The Language of Flowers : a History. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995).
flowers in funerary rites. The discovery of high concentrations of ancient floral pollen in the soil around Neanderthal skeletal remains suggests a link between flowers and hominids that predates the dominance of Homo sapiens.1 Ralph Solecki explores the implications of the “flower burial”, suggesting that the Neanderthals’ awareness of flowers, particularly the practice of burying them with their dead, proves they were more “human” than previously assumed.2 The Victorian era marked a highpoint for flower-fascination in Western culture. As documented by Laura Anne Kalba, the 19th century French practices surrounding flowers revolved almost exclusively around rampant, quick propagation and increasing the diversity of color in flowers, which were worn on the body, or displayed in arrangements.3 Western cultural associations with flowers, language, and meaning derive almost entirely from the fashions, morals, and ethics of flowers developed during the Victorian era. Beverley Seaton tracks the progression of flower culture in the United States, where morality was conflated with beauty, and flowers became central to popular perceptions of female virtue.4 The act of cutting flowers follows a long trajectory from pre-history, through Victorian times, to a 21st-century Virginia wedding. The specific uses of flowers may vary with cultural context, but there is a consistent desire to appropriate flowers’ forms and colors, their ephemerality, for inspiration and symbolism in domestic, religious, and civic rituals. Investing flowers with meaning connects us to the non-human world, and ties our practices of civilization to our landscapes. I took one “Café au Lait” dahlia home from the wedding with me, along with some broken-stemmed ranunculus to float in a bowl of water. The presence of flowers brightened my house immediately, elevating my shabby kitchen with their arresting presence. Cut flowers are something fragile that we bring into our homes and witness in their decay. Initially a fresh element of “nature” brought indoors to decorate the domestic sphere, they become—as they droop, dry out, turn brown—reminders
fig. 4 The decay of a Whole Foods tulip, tracked over two weeks
U.S. cut flower imports by origin, 2003–2013 fig. 6 (facing) The decay of a floral arrangement purchased at Trader Joe’s in Charlottesville, VA
US Cut Flower Imports by origin 2003-2013 of how life actually works. Their ephemerality and change is more akin to our own bodily experience than the hardness and constancy of other materials that compose and populate our living spaces. Maybe we bring flowers indoors to witness beautiful life and encounter an ephemerality that is typically absent in our homes. Our furniture will not wilt, our walls hopefully will not brown and crumble – but flowers will. We are testing our edges—introducing the landscape and the art of observing decay into our daily life. Witnessing a flower’s decline—the scent of hyacinth changing from sweet to dry, musty, and rotten—is a profound experience. No one can keep the flower in its original state, despite the myriad methods for drying, pressing, and preserving them that have been developed throughout history. This transcription of natural life-cycles from the outside world into the realm of the home plays a unique role in domestic life. Bringing decaying plants into our homes helps us acknowledge, however subtly, the cycles at work in the larger world, the kinship and similarity of human and botanical bodies, and the blurred boundaries between landscape and the home.
Human Occupation Within a Wild River Alexandra Dimitri
fig. 1 (facing) View of the James River from Belle Isle
As I have studied the “shrinking” cities of New Orleans and Detroit, I have observed organizations trying to implement large-scale planting programs in the fallow ground of these cities. At a municipal level, it is difficult to orchestrate the use of green infrastructure to infill vacant lots. While many organizations have been successful at realizing their projects, these types of ecologically rehabilitated sites are often expensive to create and lack true integration on the block and neighborhood scale. Disconnected from a sense of place and lacking the proper scale, many of these planting projects fail to initiate the social change that their creators had hoped they would facilitate. Many of these organizations discount the presence of existing wild vegetation. While not appropriate for every city (for instance, plants in New Orleans grow far too quickly for this to be an effective solution in a partially occupied neighborhood), existing wild vegetation can both serve as a medium to edit and sculpt, as well as provide ecological services for the city. It is useful to consider how existing overgrown “wild” spaces are utilized without the input of designers, and how human inhabitation has the power, often with the support of municipal politics, to transform and incorporate what architect Ignasi de Solà-Morales called “terrain vague” into public space. Since the emergence of landscape thinking (the ability for humans to perceive themselves as distinct and separate actors on the landscape), the question of the interface between humans and the wild has interested political philosophers, aestheticians, and designers alike. Divergent preferences for the beautiful (the presence of smoothness and gradual transitions between landscape types), the sublime (scenes that inspire awe
fig. 2 Designed and emergent parks
duisburg - nord park andre citroen
the high line
EMERGENT or terror) and the picturesque (a pleasing scene but with elements of the roughness or decay) created disputes in 18th-century England as the country was attempting to define a nationalistic conception of landscape design. The intentional integration of so-called â€œwildnessâ€? into urban spaces has existed for centuries. However, the incorporation of spontaneous vegetation into our cities is often met with resistance for all sorts of reasons, including perceptions of safety, maintenance, and aesthetic preference. Nonetheless, landscape architects, planners and designers are beginning to acknowledge the potential of novel ecologies to function as pieces of a larger network of ecosystems and land use management practices. But it remains unclear how novel ecologies fit into traditional methods of conservation and preservation. Little research has been done regarding the social component of wild vegetation. For instance: in what context is it accepted or rejected? And why do people choose to cut trails through dense masses of invasive privet, or venture over an abandoned flood control structures? Often it seems that abandoned and overgrown places have a sense of gravitas, an aura of mystery and adventure. These are the elements that designers strive to create in more formal landscapes. Unfortunately this
fig. 3-5 Lessons from Berlin parks about plant density, materiality, and programmatic choice that convey a sense of care and management despite low maintenance regimes
replication often falls short, even when compared with derelict, abandoned sites. By focusing on a single, well-functioning, and well-loved destination, Belle Isle in Richmond, Virginia, I have analyzed and illustrated detailed relationships between vegetation, occupation, and other systems that comprise this particular urban wild park. This exploration is a guide on “how to see” urban wilds in terms of their ecological function and human occupation. Belle Isle, which has a deep connection to Richmond’s military and infrastructural past, has been altered by human activity over hundreds of years. Years of deforestation, mineral extraction, and energy production were followed by decades of abandonment, contamination, and crime. Since the 1970s, the island has incrementally transformed into a thriving public space due to smart low-cost stewardship and visitors’ natural urge to explore. While visitors to the park generally stick to prescribed paths, there are dozens of overgrown desire lines, and of course, the rocky bank of the river to travel along. Smaller paths lead the visitor up to the higher part of the island, about a one hundred foot change in elevation. On nice days, depending on the water level, people stake out their turf on the granite rocks jutting into the river. Human activity through the years can be read spatially here. Traces of steel and iron from old structures and old quarry ponds and terraces stand in relation to the presence of the river, which, looking out upon it, make clear that the previous attempts to control its flow and harness its power were not fully effective. Despite all of its wildness, Belle Isle has not fully evaded domestication. On the contrary, the presence of human activity on the island has made it an even richer place. The island’s slow rebirth through decades of activism and management have given its de facto designers the ability to edit and experiment with (rather than erase) the untamed nature of the island.
fig. 6 Sketch of an urban wild web fig. 7 Traces of human occupation on Belle Isle, with the Manchester Bridge visible in the background
fig. 8 Typical path along the northern edge of the river
fig. 9 Maintenance access bridge overlooking the Hydroelectric Power Plant
Re-wilding the Riverfront Phoebe Crisman
fig. 1 (facing) Exterior perspective by Scott Levine
1 Vivien Gornitz, “Coastal Populations, Topography, and Sea Level Rise,” NASA (March 2000).
2 Jack Eggleston and Jason Pope, Land Subsidence and Relative Sea-Level Rise in the Southern Chesapeake Bay Region, Circular 1392 (USGS, 2013). The Chesapeake Bay: Geologic Product of Rising Sea Level (USGS Fact Sheet 102-98) http://pubs.usgs. gov/fs/fs102-98/ accessed 9/12/15. Nathalie Baptiste, “Atlantic Surging, Virginia Sinking,” The American Prospect (Winter 2015).
As climate change and sea level rise threaten coastal communities and their domesticated waterfronts, designers are compelled to rethink these territories of control. Resilient design strategies that embrace temporality and liminal land/water thresholds are a crucial response to the global challenge that “eleven of the world’s fifteen largest cities lie along the coast or on estuaries. In the United States, around 53% of the population lives near the coast.”1 This essay examines an ongoing design research study in Norfolk—one of the most threatened coastal cities in the US. Sea levels in Norfolk and Southeastern Virginia are rising faster than anywhere else on the East Coast. With land in the region sinking at a rate of 0.12 inches per year, subsidence exacerbates the threat of rising seas.2 The Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Center for Coastal Resource Management predict that sea level in Norfolk could rise as much as 7.5 feet by 2100. Widespread practices of control have filled and piped tidal tributaries and wetlands; concrete bulkheads have hardened shorelines, and extensive dredging has transformed river flow. Yet amidst this domesticated urban landscape, high tides overwhelm stormwater infrastructure and future threats are dire. As part of this larger coastal resilience research, my fall 2015 undergraduate studio at the University of Virginia collaborated with the City of Norfolk and the Elizabeth River Project to develop adaptive design proposals for the flood-threatened Harbor Park district (fig. 2). Most of the site was a wetland and tidal tributary of the Elizabeth River’s Eastern Branch before extensive landfill operations in the nineteenth century that created a bustling working waterfront. Today this vacant, 36-acre
coastal brownfield is cut off from downtown Norfolk by a tangle of elevated highways. How can this crumbling post-industrial edge be reconceived as a publically accessible living shoreline? Beginning with ecosystem, culture, and precedent research, several strategies have emerged: wetland inundation parks, floating islands, integrated floodwall riparian parks, canals, bio-retention, and underground cisterns. Demonstrating how to build on a wet site, we developed proposals for an off-the-grid environmental education center adaptive to fluctuating water levels by elevating habitable spaces on piers, designing lower levels to be inundated by occasional flooding, and integrating structures with elevated earth forms. By investigating the hybrid coexistence of human inhabitation and (re)wilded environmental restoration, the design research imagines resilient possibilities for this toxic stretch of liminal land while embracing Norfolk’s rising waters. Designing interconnected systems across territories and time is essential to our approach and requires critical consideration of social, economic, ecological, and aesthetic issues. Scalar interdependence has been theorized in publications about resilient or fracture-critical systems. In Designing to Avoid Disaster, Thomas Fisher argues, “Resilient systems…cannot exist in a vacuum. Unless redundancy and resistance to sudden failure occur at multiple scales, the system remains as vulnerable as its weakest link. The lack of resilience at one scale can cancel out an abundance of it at another; particularly if the fracture-critical systems exists at a larger scale or in support of the more resilient one.”3 In order to understand Harbor Park within a larger set of systems, for instance, the studio studied the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Hampton Roads metropolitan area and Norfolk’s place within it, the Elizabeth River and its Eastern Branch, the Harbor Park redevelopment area, and the Environmental Center architecture. We discovered that the Harbor Park
fig. 2 Norfolk’s Harbor Park district (City of Norfolk, 2014).
3 Thomas Fisher, Designing to Avoid Disaster: The Nature of Fracture-Critical Design (New York: Routledge, 2013): 100.
fig. 3 Aidan Garrity, study model
4 Paul Kibel, Rivertown: Rethinking Urban Rivers (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007): 3-4.
“neighborhood” or “district” exists in name only. Harbor Park is currently a “site out of mind” whose disconnection results from interrelated physical, social, and economic transformations. Until the late nineteenth century, most of the 36-acre area was a large tidal water body known as Newton’s Creek Basin. Norfolk grew on higher ground around this basin. With the introduction of new transportation modes, the “unnecessary” tidal wetland basin was filled to accommodate massive railroad marshaling yards that again blocked pedestrian, vehicular, and water movement across the area. Newton’s Creek was channelized and connected to the Elizabeth River as Mahones Canal. The newly created land became a busy entrepôt and working waterfront between downtown Norfolk and eastward residential expansion. Between 1965 and 1980 Mahones Canal had been mostly culverted and rendered invisible. As part of Norfolk’s twentieth century urban renewal efforts and changing transportation requirements, railroad lines and wharf buildings were demolished and the massive Harbor Park Stadium now floats within acres of surface parking. Severed from downtown Norfolk and the economically challenged, racially diverse public housing neighborhoods of Tidewater Gardens and Grandy Village, Harbor Park lacks both advocates and residents. Understanding and engaging local communities is an important aspect of literally and conceptually reconnecting interdependent systems and scales. As Paul Kibel notes in Rivertown: Rethinking Urban Rivers, “The current debates over the use of urban riverside lands therefore raise questions that are of particular concern in the post-urban-renewal era. If parkland and open space are going to be created, who will be the primary users and beneficiaries of these new resources? Will new riverfront proposals come from within the community where these lands are located or from developers outside the community? What role will governmental agencies and policies play in the process?”4 This site is a study in shifting
priorities—from Norfolk’s focus on eradicating “urban blight” in the 1950’s and 60’s, to increasing the tax base in the 1980’s and 90’s, to current concerns about climate change, sea-level rise mitigation, and urban resilience. Like many older East Coast cities, Norfolk’s riverfront is lined with vacant brownfield sites in need of regeneration. The combined challenge and opportunity of remediation, flood mitigation, and longterm sustainability require a radical rethinking of how to intervene. Our research is in partnership with a non-profit, community based environmental group, the Elizabeth River Project (ERP), who has worked to restore the Elizabeth River for over twenty years. ERP convened local stakeholders to generate environmental restoration goals for the Eastern Branch and produced an excellent policy document, but specific physical proposals were not developed.5 Currently three factors limit coastal resiliency on the Elizabeth: loss of 50% of tidal wetlands since 1945; intense urban development along a majority of shore that limits the ability of marshes to migrate as sea level rises; and a lack of regulatory and public acceptance of natural approaches to shoreline development. Flooding is already happening and the question is not if or when, but how much. Given these challenges, Norfolk was selected as a pilot municipality for the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative. Harbor Park is an important intervention area within the Norfolk Coastal Adaptation and Community Transformation Plan. Professional consultants to the City have proposed high-rise commercial and residential buildings protected by conventional floodwalls on this vulnerable site. As a critical alternative to that normative approach, the UVA research team reconceived the half-mile long, crumbling industrial edge as a living shoreline that demonstrates resilient strategies.
fig. 4 Jenny Adair, exterior perspective
5 The Elizabeth River Project convened a team of almost 90 stakeholders from government, science, business, and citizen groups to create the Eastern Branch Environmental Restoration Strategy (2014). The University of Virginia’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation facilitated the process.
The Harbor Park Studio I incorporated my Fall 2015 undergraduate architecture studio into the larger UVA research effort. Studio proposals ranged from reclamation of all 36 acres as an “inundation park” without new building development, to the creation of a narrow riparian buffer park with flood walls and levees that protect new midrise blocks. The proposed protective measures are designed to actively engage the people of Norfolk in restorative and recreational public places that reconnect this wasteland with downtown Norfolk and nearby neighborhoods. Along with urban strategies, the studio imagined new ways to live and educate in this watery landscape. The City has offered the Elizabeth River Project a prominent Harbor Park parcel for their Environmental Center that would attract visitors to the waterfront and make their efforts more visible to the public. The studio designed alternatives for a small, off-the-grid building that promotes health and wellness, connects outside and inside in provocative ways, employs sustainable materials and innovative details, and educates about resilient and zero-carbon architecture. Along with natural ventilation, daylighting, and water views, ERP sought architecture in harmony with the natural systems of the site. They also wanted the occupation of the building to be designed as a resilient system over time. These desires were situated within their larger concern for safety from floods and storms. The studio experimented with several building typologies that work with fluctuating water levels, while providing interactive exhibitions, workshops, and offices, along with outdoor classrooms, boat docks, constructed wetlands, and water filtration gardens. Architecturally, the most conventional and expensive approach is to build ‘business as usual’ buildings behind sea walls or earthen levees. The UVA studio proposed resilient strategies
that elevated habitable areas on piers above anticipated flood levels, designed lower levels to be inundated by occasional flooding, and used floating buildings that could adapt to rising waters. Students proposed a self-sufficient Environmental Center, outdoor education spaces, and a living shoreline that together demonstrate resilient urban and architectural strategies. Going beyond a mitigation mindset, the studio sought to create an urban environment that truly embraces Norfolk’s rising waters. They developed adaptive designs that explored several types of flood prevention for this stretch of Norfolk waterfront. Natural prevention approaches included living shorelines, riparian buffers, wetlands, intertidal islands, and other forms of new or restored ecologies. Synthetic prevention proposals included vertical or sloped floodwalls, berms, and jetties. In most cases, natural and synthetic strategies were combined in creative ways. For example, Zeph Ruggles designed a 200’ wide living shoreline by regrading excavated fill into a gently sloping vegetated wetland (Figure 6). This intertidal zone creates healthy habitat, filters river sediments, and prevents erosion. A public pier projects through the wetland to the shipping channel, thereby allowing boat and pedestrian access to coexist with shoreline restoration. As series of demonstration basins step up to the education center and include an oyster bed, sedimentation pool, aquatic vegetation habitat, and dry grasses that filter stormwater onsite. Nicole Zaccack’s proposal excavates a canal and uses the fill to construct a linear intertidal island. Located between the new island and shore, a half-mile long series of basins treat polluted river water and increase biodiversity and habitat. This restorative design strategy creates a protected place for kayaking and interacting with the River. An upland botanical garden and wet meadow surround the elevated environmental center, which serves as a public viewing tower directly connected to the Berkley Bridge pedestrian walkway. As one of the most at-risk areas in Norfolk, Harbor Park has the potential to ameliorate risk to nearby areas by foregoing new building development. In similar locations, for instance, adaptive migration or coastal unbuilding is underway. Residents are relocated and their property is purchased for public mitigation use. Costly building removal is not necessary here. Only the Harbor Park Stadium has been built since the area was cleared by urban renewal. Many students decided to protect the stadium for continued use, while creating a resilient wetland park that reduces the effects of future flooding and storm surge for the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown Norfolk. Some proposals designed a flood prevention system of continuous walls or berms. Emmitt Moore’s scheme cuts back the hardened shoreline and builds a twelve-foot berm to resist floodwaters. Integral to the berm, the environmental center becomes a threshold and public access point to the water. The building’s river-facing wall is clad in aquarium glass to register and make tidal changes visible to visitors. This lower level and its gardens are vertically connected, via an outdoor amphitheater, to a rooftop terrace along a continuous elevated promenade. The building is both part of the flood prevention infrastructure and the popular Elizabeth River Trail. While also using a continuous berm, Caroline Kraska shapes the shoreline to create a sheltered wetland zone (Figure 5). Tightly situated between the berm and river’s edge,
fig. 5 (facing) Caroline Kraska, site plan and exterior perspective
the environmental center mediates vertically between land and water. Designed to be periodically inundated, the entire lower level contains outdoor learning labs, kayak storage, and interactive wetland basins. Another crucial consideration is the collection and storage of flood and stormwater onsite. Combinations of urban bioretention, absorption and water treatment, canals, dry ponds, and underground cisterns were proposed. Scott Levine designed a network of canals to manage water, structure future urban development, and promote pedestrian and small craft movement throughout the Harbor Park area. The proposed environmental center fragments into three separate buildings on earthen berms that define and engage the intersection of two canals. The canals create a strong identity for the revitalized district. Jenny Adair cut a continuous dry swale to capture and filter stormwater for groundwater recharge (Figure 4). Excavated soil is used to form a linear protective berm parallel to the swale. During extreme weather events, this redundant system will offer additional flood protection. The environmental center is elevated on piers and spans the swale to connect with the restored riparian buffer and wetland beyond. An upper floor links the existing, elevated Berkley Bridge pedestrian walkway with a public rooftop terrace and access to the living shoreline park below. Both proposals effectively exploit normative water management systems to structure urban movement and instigate sectional complexity in the associated buildings. By studying relationships between environmental restoration and human dwelling at multiple scales, the research team has imagined new resilient possibilities for this toxic stretch of liminal urban land. During the next phase of this investigation, a funded team of University of Virginia faculty will work closely with the City of Norfolk and the Elizabeth River Project to analyze several approaches for implementation feasibility.
fig. 6 Zeph Ruggles, axonometric view
fig. 7 Aidan Garrity, exterior perspective
The faculty research project and associated studio proposals are assisting the City of Norfolk in their ambitious efforts to plan for sea level rise and climate change. Working within watery landscapes and environmental restoration processes, architects and landscape architects can reveal that which is often hidden: hydrological flow, tidal estuary ecology, invisible toxins, and the geology and settlement history of the Elizabeth River shoreline. In varied ways, these designs seek to reveal relationships between ecology and constructed systems from the infrastructural to the architectural scale. They tell stories about the inextricable link between water and land, the properties and environmental impact of building materials, and the balance between human activity and a living shoreline. While focused on the Harbor Park district of Norfolk, this research proposes translatable strategies for coastal resilience in vulnerable urban settlements threatened by sea level rise, environmental degradation, and the loss of cultural heritage. The intense global interest in the urban implications of climate change and sea level rise, as well as the poetic possibilities at the threshold of land and water, underscore the timely significance of architects making space for water.
Living with Fire : Cultivating the Pyro-Active Periphery Ian Carr
fig. 1 (facing) With the nation’s forest quadrupling in density, low-intensity surface fires have turned into high intensity wildfires. Suburban density complicates “fire-wise” strategies for home protection
1 V. C. Radeloff, R. B. Hammer, S. I. Stewart, J. S. Fried, S. S. Holcomb, and J. F. Mckeefry. “The Wildland– Urban Interface In The United States.” Ecological Applications 15.3 (2005): 799-805. Web.
Landscapes where wildfires occur are contested territories. The Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) is “the area where houses meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland vegetation.”1 The incompatible demands of suburban development and fire-adapted forests produce a volatile system which threatens human and non-human life. The American West has seen rampant wildfires in recent hot, dry summers. Media coverage of the fires conveys the massive destruction and terror they cause in human communities, but generally fails to explain the human responsibility for this ecological and economic crisis. Prior to European settlement of the West, fires played an active role in landscape management, with low-intensity surface burns that purged the forest floor of fallen branches, leaf litter and understory growth. The prairies of the United States were once sparsely forested, and fire acted to regulate succession, allowing for a mosaic of plant communities supporting large and diverse animal populations, as well as native American peoples, whose settlements were relatively transient. In the early 1900s, as more United States citizens began to settle in the Western states, fire was seen as a nuisance and a threat. In 1910, after a series of severe wildfires ravaged the Northwest, the National Forestry Service adopted a “fire-suppression” policy, in which any fire lasting more than 10 hours was to be immediately extinguished. Intended to protect property, save lives, and ensure the preservation of the forests, this strategy has in fact had grave consequences. By quarantining flare-ups, the 1910 fire suppression policy leaves the rest of the forest untouched, allowing the accumulation of saplings and undergrowth that would formerly have been
fig. 2 (facing) The proposal aims to synthesize forestry strategies, revised construction methods, and safe prescribed burning methods as design drivers
fig. 3 (above) The proposal calls for the integration of housing and forestry as a maintenance strategy
removed by periodic burning. By the end of the 20th century, fire-prone vegetation has quadrupled in many of our national forests, overwhelming firefighting efforts and resources when the yearly fire calendar takes effect. As population has increased in fire-prone lands, forests have been relegated to a protected status where they are maintained by state and federal forestry bureaus. Human presence in these zones is frequently characterized by suburban development: low density, high surface-area land occupation. What results is a dichotomous relationship in which human habitation and vegetated landscape are separate entities; suburban development proliferates freely, and “protected” forest systems are suppressed and kept outside the daily consciousness of local residents. It is not until a catastrophic wildfire event that the two entities are actively pitted against one another. The fringes of these developments often sit as “standing reserves,” where housing abuts forested land that is poised for future development. These fringe communities increase the likelihood of fire in already highly flammable WUIs. Simply put, increased development in these areas creates a giant tinderbox in the West. One major response to the wildfire dilemma is that we simply should not build in fire-prone environments. However, this attitude absolves human beings of any responsibility in transforming regular, low-intensity fires into unpredictable high-intensity wildfire disasters. The creation of wildland urban interface zones is increasingly common; as urban centers grow, so too do the peripheral suburban developments that have come to define sprawl. With overcrowded forests proving difficult to manage, fires become more violent and powerful, which increases destruction of houses and communities by wildfires. Designers have a critical challenge, and the opportunity to reverse a disastrous trend through strategic planning. Acknowledging this reality, the Living with Fire proposal argues for increased human agency in planning fire-adapted communities that engineer a mutually beneficial relationship between human occupation and forested landscape; where forestry maintenance and increased development have the potential to both regulate fire patterns and yield a sustainable resource for growing communities. In this case, low-density, high surface area landscape occupation--deployed with deliberate intentions--has the potential to play an active role in landscape remediation. Rather than prioritizing the
defense of the home, the proposal aims to reposition the home as a component of forestry maintenance and take advantage of service infrastructure for homes as a landscape maintenance armature. By situating residential development along new forestry maintenance routes, the suburban desire for access to landscape amenities could be satisfied while also implementing a framework for managing forest health and density. The resulting proposal projects an adaptation of the suburban model, one in which development is reconfigured as a territorial operation of landscape regeneration, and sprawl dwellers become auxiliary foresters. Cultivation of the pyro-active periphery proposes a gradient of housing and forestry ecosystems, where additive housing and subtractive forestry strategies are planned in tandem to cull and care for overly dense forests while establishing managerial settlements. Territorial Redux Drawing on the “shelterbelt” precedent of the Dust Bowl era, (where strategic tree planting in the Midwest protected agricultural land from wind erosion) this proposal uses deciduous tree corridors as the first tool for mitigating fire-spreading winds. Windbreaks extend into existing forests, where “variable retention” forestry operations are performed. In contrast to clear-cutting tactics typically employed for residential development, variable retention forestry utilizes a selection system of tree clearing, where specified percentages of forests are either thinned (partially harvested), skipped (no harvesting), or left as gaps (completely harvested). This technique is applied at a scale that preserves existing wildlife habitats and supports a cyclical harvesting strategy which in turn allows for time-sensitive development planning. An Integrated Interface Isolated, or cordoned off from human settlement, fire-adapted forests are difficult to monitor and manage. This scheme posits an integration of forest and suburban settlement, in which forests can be managed through
fig. 4 Nursery planting beds integrated with live-work lofts
fig. 5 Plan of the pyro-active neighborhood
cyclical harvesting and prescribed burning. As a generator of housing development form, the design exploits the existing Jefferson Grid as a logic for urban organization. The grid is then divided into a series of forestry maintenance lines which run perpendicular to prevailing summer winds. These strips serve as zones in which a new mixed-age forest (including sapling, adolescent, productive, and mature trees) is planted. Finally, prescribed burning corridors, which take advantage of prevailing wind direction, determine the safe subdividing of plots for housing. The New Foresters Communities in fire-prone lands need a staff of foresters to monitor and manage forest ecosystems. A new group of suburban foresters maintains the wellbeing of the both the neighborhoods and the forest. New residents form an administrative body to engage the community in active landscape remediation roles. A sliding scale of engagement ranges from the logger in the furthest fringes of the forest, to the nursery tender at the suburban-urban edge. A constant tending to the cultivated forest requires regular harvesting and planting of new trees for future forest integration The Pyro Active Neighborhood In contrast to typical suburbs, which strive to present a harmonious relationship with tame “natural” surroundings, the physical design of the pyro-active neighborhood is an aggressive reminder of the juxtaposition of artifice and “nature.” Employing regular tree thinning and harvesting, prescribed burning, and consolidation of housing and maintenance
fig. 6 Successional forest and maintenance route integration
routes, the pyro-active neighborhood stresses cooperative maintenance of timber resources and community collaboration for ecological caretaking. Roads and home access run perpendicular to topography rather than artificially hugging engineered contours. These landscape lines organize the reimagined “hearth” of the community as an infrastructural track that minimizes ecological impact and guides future development. The Fire Adapted Dwelling The fire adapted dwelling is a tight-fit kit-of-parts system rather than a traditional autonomous house. A robust Cross-Laminated-Timber prefabricated wall assembly attaches to an elaborate “hearth” network. This integrated assembly is a more fire-resistant timber construction method than the layered construction assembly championed by residential developers across the United States. The simplified house omits features such as complex roof forms (which trap flammable debris such as pine needles), and does away with stud-wall construction clad in the synthetic siding that is particularly prone to failure during exposure to high wildfire temperatures. With the “hearth” as the structural and spatial organizing anchor of the home, the domestic realm is reoriented about the communal energy source.
fig. 7 Typical suburban layering vs. the fire adapted dwelling
fig. 8 Phasing proposal illustrating housing and forest integration at the new frontier
The household is increasingly situated in economic and ecological networks whose operations extend far beyond the traditional domain of the home. Emergent spatio-economic typologies are restructuring long-established urban formations and expanding our understanding of the domestic sphere to include the infrastructures on which the contemporary home relies. Conventional urban forms are being disrupted in the cityâ€™s turn to the hyper-individualization of spatial environments.
Havana Parcel Lucy McFadden and Scott Shinton
fig. 1 (facing) Cyanotype collage
1 This research was made possible by the Benjamin C. Howland Traveling Fellowship at the University of Virginia
In June of 2015, we traveled to Cuba to witness and document a nation in an unprecedented transition – from a socialist to a free-market socialist state, from a Cuba with minimal US relations to a Cuba anticipating the end of US embargo.1 During our time in Havana, we encountered a variety of new physical and social conditions that have been facilitated by 2010 policy changes under the regime of Raul Castro. After a few days in Vedado we became fascinated with cafeterias; the fastfood eateries for locals, which were abundant throughout the neighborhood. These small businesses seemed to play a unique role in structuring the urban fabric as they responded to existing spatial parameters. We studied ways in which private and public realms interact in Havana to produce a novel type of shared space that isn’t quite either, but takes the best of both (fig. 2). We set out to understand what ‘private’ space means, and how that space is inhabited, negotiated, and re-arranged in a country where everything is monitored by the government. We left with the knowledge that many ‘private’ spaces across Cuba have been skillfully transformed into publicly accessible profit-based ventures (fig. 3). The relationship between the person on the sidewalk and the homeowner is now more complex than that of neighbors or strangers, it is also—much of the time—a professional relationship of business-owner and customer. The front yards of colonial homes have been renovated to host small cafes serving milkshakes and fried rice. Tiny spaces of uncertain ownership in dense barrios have been commandeered as workshops for zapateros (cobblers) or relojeros (watch-fixers). On some house lots, salvaged sheet-metal fencing hides a home’s courtyard from the street, and you can hear hammers and drills from inside—evidence of a black-market construction site.
fig. 2 (facing) Inhabiting the public-private threshold at Sergio’s cafeteria
fig. 3 (above) A cafeteria occupying a retrofitted driveway 2 Archibald R. M. Ritter, and Ted A. Henken. Entrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing Policy Landscape. (Boulder: FirstForumPress, 2015), 170. 3 Danielle Renwick and Lee Brianna. “U.S.-Cuba Relations.” Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, Web. 04 Feb. 2016.
Much of this private business space is relatively new, since Cuban President Raul Castro loosened restrictions on private entrepreneurship in 2010, lowering the tax rate on businesses and offering federal loans. The number of licensed private businesses—and in turn, visible, viable small-business infrastructure—in Cuba has increased by over 300% since 2005, from 152,200 to 502,687 self-employed persons, almost 13% of the total working population.2 The U.S. Congress still maintains control over economic sanctions on Cuba, and, under the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, it renewed the 1959 embargo and penalized foreign companies trading with Cuba. The Helms-Burton Act also covers property formerly owned by Cubans who have since become U.S. citizens.3 Since President Barack Obama announced the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, a few changes have occurred: U.S. credit cards, insurance coverage, and bank transactions are now allowed for U.S. citizens in Cuba, and U.S. building materials can be shipped to private Cuban companies. Some U.S. investment in small Cuban businesses is permitted, but trade between the countries is still tightly restricted. Obama may continue to use executive authority, however, to expand U.S.-Cuba trade, investment, banking, telecommunications, and travel. This may help to shift opinions in the U.S. Congress, and eventually lead to the repeal of the Helms-Burton Act.4 Most of these economic policy changes are still not fully public, but we hope to reveal some of the valuable, visible manifestations of the shifting political climate that support individual entrepreneurship and small private business enterprise. What are the spatial, physical, urban manifestations of government policy that does not serve its people? How does city form reflect the shift from one political system to a new, not necessarily revolutionary, one? Answers
to these complex questions may be found in the spatio-economic strategies of under-served people in Havana, as they modify architectural form and program under conditions of severe political and financial constraint. We used several research methods in Cuba, including documentation of existing physical conditions through measured drawings, collage, and film, and interviews with a range of Havana residents, including a retired home-gardener, a recently graduated architect, a city planner, and a small business owner. We recorded the specific conditions of spontaneous vegetation, garden plantings, water flow patterns and infrastructure, ground material quality, building type, and vertical property enclosures in four streets in the four densest neighborhoods of Havana: Habana Vieja, Centro Habana, Vedado, and Miramar (fig. 5). Through these strategies, we were able to compare different neighborhoods and understand how businesses emerge in the context of particular urban scales, architectural styles, and local interests. In 1979, Fidel Castro gave a speech about the newfound accountability and responsibility of the Cuban government: “Today, citizens think it is right to expect everything from the state…and they are correct. And this is precisely the result of a collectivist mentality, a socialist mentality…Today, they do not need to rely on their own efforts, and their own means, as in the past.”5 This apparently magnanimous declaration was contradicted in the 1990s by the state’s dependence on individual household food production to feed the population. Today’s trend of urban transformation by individual entrepreneurs can be seen as part of a history of independent small-scale production that is generally obscured in popular perceptions of Cuba. Each one of these neighborhood ventures falls under the scrutiny of the state, and each has its own oft-contentious relationship with the government,
fig. 4 Early morning activity at a cafeteria on Avenida Quinta fig. 5 (facing) Field notes on vellum: layers of the streetscape
Sidewalk and Street
fig. 6 Typical patio in El Centro
fig. 7 (facing) Site plan of converted driveway cafeteria, including adapted use of existing features and addition of new equipment and furnishings.
yet they also reveal the stateâ€™s reliance on small business owners to provide citizens with goods and services. As private business restrictions continue to loosen, ties with international funders become stronger, and the tourism industry gains a stronghold with US travelers, it is inevitable that many of these vernacular spaces will be claimed for other uses, to the benefit or detriment of local residents, and their economic and social values. With our drawings, videos, photographs, and maps, we hope to show the current state of grassroots spatial appropriation and transformation by Cuban people, and how these improvised spaces effect subtle changes in overall urban form but have significant impacts on street life, neighborhood culture, and the experience of the city.
5 Adriana Premat. Sowing Change: The Making of Havanaâ€™s Urban Agriculture. (Nashville: Vanderbilt UP, 2012), 20.
Ob i sp
Vieja has many public squares and plazas with public seating and nationalistic monuments.
Restoration investment from the government has improved Spanish colonial buildings. Recognizing that tourism brings income to the city, the Office of Historian of the City has worked methodically to restore the urban condition in this neighborhood.
fig. 7 Neighborhood analysis: Habana Vieja
Many local Cuban architecture firms are working to restore aging buildings purely for tourist hotels.
Some streets in Vieja are receiving many infrastructrual upgrades, and many are also becoming pedestrian-only walkways where state-owned businesses thrive on European dollars.
Many usufruct plots, or fallow parcelas, have been transformed into urban organic agriculture projects both for small scale provisioning, keeping livestock, and also state-run agro-enterprises.
Street trees, from almond to banana to palm to Poinciana, provide many cafeterias with the necessary shade to make customers comfortable.
Vedado is comprised of many fenced front yards, both delineating oneâ€™s domestic space from the sidewalk and street, and also creating a space to occupy. Many of these fences are new, created to define businesses and offer privacy.
Calle A fig. 8 Neighborhood analysis: Vedado
ta n i u
In other spaces, business owners will attach shade structures to the facade of their homes.
palm to h the mfortable. Compared to Centro and Vieja, buildings are set back from the sidewalk 10 to 20 feet, allowing cafeterias and businesses to occupy front yards and driveways.
Because of this setback, Vedado residents have more space to garden, using many ornamental flowers, shrubs, medicinal plants. Spontaneous vegetation also has more room to grow.
ta n i u
Due to overcrowded houses and intense heat, people use curbs, sidewalks, and streets as extensions of their homes, which makes for a vibrant street life.
Potted plants adorn the ledges and balconies of Centro. Due to the lack of outdoor space, every square inch is used.
fig. 8 Neighborhood analysis: Centro Habana
San Rafa el
Many cafeterias in Centro occupy the windows of peoplesâ€™ homes on the first floor. Low upfront capital and constant pedestrian traffic is incentive for small scale simple juice windows and fast food cafeterias.
heat, as for a
Licensed street vendors selling fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers follow specific routes daily. It is common to see black market vendors in building threshold spaces and patios.
Locations of clusters of people are sometimes dictated by the shade thrown from densely built structures.
Like Vedado, Miramar is comprised of many fenced front yards, both delineating oneâ€™s domestic space from the sidewalk and street. Large street trees adorn most streets of Miramar, providing much needed shade to the residential homes along with international embassies. Roads were much wider here compared to the rest of the city, allowing trees to branch higher and wider, and roots to percolate further.
Calle 2 8
fig. 9 Neighborhood analysis: Miramar
This neighborhood, like Vedado, is organized around a large avenue that serves as a median, a pedestrian boulevard, and heavy traffic of almendrones and tourist taxis.
Calle 2 8
While less abundant than in Vedado, many cafeterias occupy a similar space. Former driveways and front yards become venues for private enterprise.
Miramar is comprised of many large parks. Parque Miramar, like many in this wealthy neighborhood, was one of the more maintained public spaces in the city of Havana.
Towards a Speculative Home Economics Curtis Roth
fig. 1 (facing) Architecture in advance of code
1 Hammurabi. Hammurabi’s Code. (1792-1750 B.C.E)
2 Eduardo Mendieta. Foucault on Racism, (2002).
“229: If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death. 230: If it kill the son of the owner the son of that builder shall be put to death. 231: If it kill a slave of the owner, then he shall pay slave for slave to the owner of the house.” 1
At its most absolute, the architectural code is a juridical mechanism by which a governing entity, via the regulation of domestic catastrophes, assigns a value to life itself. Hammurabi’s code, which is both the earliest known codification of governance and the first domestic building code, is an economic equation that leverages domestic chaos as a medium for fixing the value of the client’s life as equal to the value of the builder’s life, the value of the client’s son’s life as equal to the value of the builder’s son’s life, and the value of the owner’s slave as equal to the current market rate for slaves. Neither a prescription for how homes should be built, nor the material regulation of domestic construction, the domestic code in its earliest conception was a simple remunerative construct through which domestic catastrophe, as an economic manifold, valued life as a finite resource, such that one eye would always be worth another. “We will approach the theme by way of a contrast: whereas the power of the sovereign under Medieval and early Modern times was the power to make die and to let live, the power of the total state, which is the biopower state, is the power to make live and to let die.” 2
“It is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong.” 3 – Jeremy Bentham, A Fragment on Government (1776)
3 Jeremy Bentham. A Fragment on
The slow substitution of power for biopower recast the role of the domestic code—from a manifold for adjudicating life’s value as a fixed resource, to a collection of preventative edicts intended to indefinitely prolong life. The juridical codification of the home as a remunerative construct where one life equals one life was replaced by a collection of preventative acts of divination, intended not to regulate the exchange of lives following chaos, but rather to cast the inevitability of domestic chaos into further and further degrees of statistical obscurity, such that domestic subjectivity, as a space for future economic transactions, might achieve a state of virtual permanence. No longer a means of fixing the value of life as a resource, the biopolitically codified home renders life a marketplace through its statistically permanent preservation. This near-perfect juridical preservation of life can simultaneously be regarded as the invention of architecture as a liberal economic pursuit through the fabrication of its absolute ontological disciplinary limit: whatever effects an architect may choose to produce through the design of a home, the effect of murdering the client through building is ipso facto codified as an extra-disciplinary effect, and thus outside the professional purview of the architect. The design of homes thus follows two discrete trajectories of development. First: the extra-disciplinary development, codification and implementation of technologies intended to cast domestic catastrophes into ever-further realms of statistical obscurity, i.e.: structural redundancy thresholds, fire safety technologies, hygiene management protocols, etc. Second: the inter-disciplinary diversification of life’s market potential, i.e.: life’s atomization into the discrete market sectors of living, dining, sleeping, shitting, and fucking through the refined articulation of the plan, life’s stylization in the form of life-style accoutrement, the meticulous mining of life’s economic data via smart domestic technologies, etc. All subsequent disciplinary attempts to reclaim any extra-economical value for life through the so-called radical practices of housing reform are equally marked by the absurdity of contesting the diversification of life’s market potential through: free plans, Heideggerian dwelling myths, post-modern ironic consumerism, post-human post-functionalism etc., while paradoxically preserving life’s status as a sustainable marketplace by reinforcing a biopolitical disciplinary ontology which regards domestic murder as an extra-architectural activity. Rather than continue architecture’s antiquated performance of perfunctory rebellion, we choose here to accelerate toward the third and final evolution of the domestic code: life as an absolute speculative commodity. All around us we recognize the emergence of post-governance economics, i.e.: where state-sponsored capital is replaced with post-state crypto-currencies, where state-based sovereignty is replaced with extra-state craft, and where state-regulated building codes are replaced with private transnational codification councils. Life’s value is approaching its final transmogrification, no longer as a fixed resource, nor a marketplace artificially stabilized through sovereign power, but as just one among an infinite number of speculative commodities in an emerging post-state global economy.
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc
fig. 2 fireplace_risk index: 73%_cost: 12.7 bitcoin a fireplace is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 0.09 bitcoin
In lieu of revisiting the well-worn disciplinary debates over what today’s homes ought to look like, what possibilities of subjectivity they ought to engender, or what forms of performance they ought to technologically engineer, we’ve chosen to produce only a successively codified Domino as a post-architectural speculative investment portfolio. By reducing the contemporary home to an encrustation of life-preserving devices, mining the vast statistical quantifications of death in the domestic realm, and utilizing the most advanced speculative investment algorithms whereby [(life value) = ((avg. cost of feature1) / (risk index2)) / (investment index)]
1 Average cost of features calculated by Home Advisor’s construction calculator. 2 Risk index refers to the average statistical chance of death due to a particular domestic catastrophe minus the life saving potential of the safety feature in question. All calculations made in reference
we’ve produced an architectural portfolio for the speculative investor to best navigate the future value fluctuations of life as a commodity. In an age in which both life and buildings can only be regarded as fluctuating commodities in a speculative global market, every post-architectural act can henceforth be understood only as a wager made against the future value of life itself.3
to the National Census Bureau’s quantification of domestic accidents leading to death. 3 At the time of writing this piece, the average human life is worth an estimated 354.99 bitcoin.
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc
<  roof: 33.85 btc
<  heater: 50.78 btc
 insulation: 7.07 btc >
fig. 3 roof_risk index: 100%_cost: 33.85 bitcoin a roof is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 0.17 bitcoin heater_risk index: 73%_cost: 50.78 bitcoin a heater is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 0.35 bitcoin insulation_risk index: 10%_cost: 7.07 bitcoin insulation is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 0.36 bitcoin
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc
<  roof: 33.85 btc
<  heater: 50.78 btc
 insulation: 7.07 btc >
<  foundation blocks: 17.25 btc
 ramp: 3.39 btc >
fig. 5 foundation blocks _risk index: 14%_cost: 17.25 bitcoin foundation blocks are an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 0.62 bitcoin ramp_risk index: 1.5%_cost: 3.39 bitcoin a ramp is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 1.13 bitcoin
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc
<  roof: 33.85 btc
<  heater: 50.78 btc  insulation: 7.07 btc >
 columns: 11.97 btc >
<  foundation blocks: 17.25 btc
 ramp: 3.39 btc >
<  soil prep.: 11.34 btc
fig. 6 columns _risk index: 47%_cost: 11.97 bitcoin columns are an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 1.19 bitcoin soil prep._risk index: 04%_cost: 11.34 bitcoin soil prep is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 1.42 bitcoin
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc
<  smoke detector: 0.41 btc  exit signage: 0.14 btc >
<  roof: 33.85 btc <  heater: 50.78 btc
 insulation: 7.07 btc >
 columns: 11.97 btc >
 ramp: 3.39 btc >
<  foundation blocks: 17.25 btc
<  soil prep.: 11.34 btc
fig. 107 smoke detectors _risk index: 0.0000156%_cost: 0.41 bitcoin smoke detectors are an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 13252.44 bitcoin exit signage _risk index: 0.00000944%_cost: 0.14 bitcoin exit signage is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 13731.59 bitcoin
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc
<  heater: 50.78 btc
<  smoke detector: 0.41 btc
<  roof: 33.85 btc
 exit signage: 0.14 btc >
 doors: 0.51 btc >  insulation: 7.07 btc >
 columns: 11.97 btc >
<  foundation blocks: 17.25 btc  ramp: 3.39 btc >
 fire extinguishers: 0.53 btc >
<  soil prep.: 11.34 btc
fig. 8 doors _risk index: 0.00002%_cost: 0.51 bitcoin doors are an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 14573.61 bitcoin fire extinguishers _risk index: 0.000008142%_cost: 0.53 bitcoin fire extinguishers are an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 16184.20 bitcoin
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc
<  heater: 50.78 btc
<  smoke detector: 0.41 btc
 exit signage: 0.14 btc >
<  roof: 33.85 btc
 doors: 0.51 btc >  insulation: 7.07 btc >
 columns: 11.97 btc >
<  windows: 22.01 btc
<  suicide net: 6.86 btc
<  foundation blocks: 17.25 btc
 fire extinguishers: 0.53 btc > <  soil prep.: 11.34 btc
06 ramp: 3.39 bitcoin >
fig. 9 suicide net_risk index: 0.000178%_cost: 6.83 bitcoin a suicide net is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 19239.65 bitcoin windows _risk index: 0.0005%_cost: 22.01 bitcoin windows are an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 21985.46 bitcoin
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc <  ventilation: 11.34 btc
<  roof: 33.85 btc
<  smoke detector: 0.41 btc  exit signage: 0.14 btc > <  heater: 50.78 btc
 doors: 0.51 btc >  insulation: 7.07 btc >
 columns: 11.97 btc >
 toilets: 8.46 btc >
<  windows: 22.01 btc <  railings: 8.46 btc  fire extinguishers: 0.53 btc >
<  suicide net: 6.86 btc
<  foundation blocks: 17.25 btc  ramp: 3.39 btc > <  soil prep.: 11.34 btc
fig. 10 railings_risk index: 0.000164%_cost: 8.46 bitcoin railings are an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 25780.32 bitcoin toilets _risk index: 0.00015%_cost: 8.46 bitcoin toilets are an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 28186.48 bitcoin ventilation_risk index: 0.0005%_cost: 11.34 bitcoin ventilation is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 35514.97 bitcoin
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc
 fire resistant materials: 1.36 btc >
<  roof: 33.85 btc
<  smoke detector: 0.41 btc
<  heater: 50.78 btc  doors: 0.51 btc >  insulation: 7.07 btc > <  ventilation: 11.34 btc  columns: 11.97 btc >  exit signage: 0.14 btc >
 toilets: 8.46 btc >
<  railings: 8.46 btc
 fire extinguishers: 0.53 btc > <  suicide net: 6.86 btc
 handrail: 4.08 btc > <  foundation blocks: 17.25 btc
<  soil prep.: 11.34 btc <  windows: 22.01 btc
 ramp: 3.39 btc >
fig. 11 fire resistant materials_risk index: 0.00001172%_cost: 1.36 bitcoin fire resistant materials are an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 579381.09 bitcoin handrail_risk index: 0.000004098%_cost: 4.08 bitcoin a handrail is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 497737.64 bitcoin
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc
<  roof: 33.85 btc
 fire resistant materials: 1.36 btc >
<  ventilation: 11.34 btc
<  smoke detector: 0.41 btc  exit signage: 0.14 btc > <  heater: 50.78 btc
 doors: 0.51 btc >  insulation: 7.07 btc >
<  fire retardant insulation: 7.85 btc
 fire escape: 9.87 btc >  columns: 11.97 btc >
<  windows: 22.01 btc
<  railings: 8.46 btc
 toilets: 8.46 btc >
<  suicide net: 6.86 btc
 fire extinguishers: 0.53 btc >
 handrail: 4.08 btc >
<  foundation blocks: 17.25 btc  ramp: 3.39 btc > <  soil prep.: 11.34 btc
fig. 12 fire escape_risk index: 0.000007165%_cost: 9.87 bitcoin a fire escape is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 688438.50 bitcoin fire retardant insulation_risk index: 0.000004568%_cost: 7.85 bitcoin fire retardant insulation is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 858614.04 bitcoin
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc  fire resistant materials: 1.36 btc >
<  ventilation: 11.34 btc
<  heater: 50.78 btc <  roof: 33.85 btc <  smoke detector: 0.41 btc <  fire walls: 36.34 btc
 exit signage: 0.14 btc >  doors: 0.51 btc >
<  railings: 8.46 btc
 insulation: 7.07 btc >
 columns: 11.97 btc >
<  fire retardant insulation: 7.85 btc
<  windows: 22.01 btc
 fire escape: 9.87 btc >
<  sprinkler: 6.86 btc
 handrail: 4.08 btc >  fire extinguishers: 0.53 btc > <  suicide net: 6.86 btc
 ramp: 3.39 btc >
<  foundation blocks: 17.25 btc
 toilets: 8.46 btc >
<  soil prep.: 11.34 btc
fig. 13 fire walls _risk index: 0.000014%_cost: 36.34 bitcoin fire walls are an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 1296386.87 bitcoin sprinkler_risk index: 0.000002608%_cost: 6.86 bitcoin a sprinkler is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 1313135.56 bitcoi
<  fireplace: 12.7 btc
<  ventilation: 11.34 btc
<  heater: 50.78 btc
 fire resistant materials: 1.36 btc >
<  roof: 33.85 btc
<  smoke detector: 0.41 btc <  fire walls: 36.34 btc
 exit signage: 0.14 btc >  doors: 0.51 btc >
<  railings: 8.46 btc  insulation: 7.07 btc >
<  fire retardant insulation: 7.85 btc
 columns: 11.97 btc > <  windows: 22.01 btc
 fire escape: 9.87 btc >
<  sprinkler: 6.86 btc
<  staircase: 16.08 btc
 handrail: 4.08 btc >  toilets: 8.46 btc >  fire extinguishers: 0.53 btc > <  suicide net: 6.86 btc
<  foundation blocks: 17.25 btc
<  soil prep.: 11.34 btc  ramp: 3.39 btc > <  flood wall: 94.79 btc
fig. 14 staircase_risk index: 0.0000013%_cost: 16.08 bitcoin a sprinkler is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 4661610.44 bitcoin floodwall_risk index: 0.000000235%_cost: 94.79 bitcoin a floodwall is an intelligent speculation if the value of life is expected to exceed: 201503358.99 bitcoin
This Home is Not a Hospital: Disease in the Interior Katie Long
fig. 1 Miss Mildred Showalter of Washington, dressed as the Spirit of the double-barred cross of the anti-tuberculosis movement throughout the world, points to various battlefronts throughout the world where the fight is being carried on against the “White Plague.”
1 Susan Sontag. Illness as Metaphor (New York: Picador, 2001), 95.
The ill are neither unavoidable casualties nor the enemy. We—medicine, society—are not authorized to fight back by any means whatever…About that metaphor, the military one, I would say, if I may paraphrase Lucretius: Give it back to the war-makers.1
Modernity consistently aestheticizes cultural anxieties in three separate realms: the external (public/urban/wild), the interior (domestic/private/ safe) and within the interior, the self (mind/body/soul). The fear of disease is pervasive, stimulating protective barriers in all three realms. External measures reconfigure urban conditions, often consolidating political control over the built environment and the population through policy and planning. As fear permeates the upper-class household, images of illness generate counter-images of well-being, which offer rules for domestic dwelling patterns and individual physicality. This convergence of medicine with aesthetics proliferates by translating scientific knowledge into spatial norms and regimens of health into rituals of personal care. The primary maladies of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, mostly contagions transmitted through public environments, established the domestic interior as a frontier of self-care. Today, with cancer as a primary health concern, that territory has evolved into cycle of erratic growth and precise removal, with obsessive monitoring enabling both notions of empowerment and deference to authority.
fig. 2 Map of London by John Snow showing clusters of cholera during the 1854 epidemic. Drawn and lithographed by Charles Cheffins.
Cholera and the Private Body Epidemics, most lethal among dense populaces, are often conceived as urban or external phenomena and are typically addressed at the at the state or national level. In 1850s, the link between cholera and contaminated drinking water was discovered by John Snow, who correlated instances of outbreak with the presence of bacteria in London wells (fig. 2). Around that same time, Florence Nightingale developed advanced statistical procedures while recording sanitation studies in British military hospitals. Nightingale’s work quickly drove the reformation of hygiene standards in medical facilities. Across London, street paving and the installation of sanitary sewers heralded a modern relationship between state, body and built environment.2 This infrastructural project precipitated new public-private/external-interior distinctions, affecting personal behavior. Before paving, Londoners commonly relieved themselves in the muddy streets. On the new impervious streets, however, waste stood out as a public health hazard.3 Lacking the convenience and discretion of absorbent dirt roads, the privileged created new structures to relieve themselves. Over the following decades, the bathroom shifted completely from mobile to fixed, exterior to interior.4 It became a locked room – home within a home – providing a place for the individual body to repose and restore itself in privacy. The external response to the cholera epidemic generated new forms of urban infrastructure and data-collection; the interior increased consideration of personal space, even within the home itself.
Tuberculosis and the Ethereal Body While tuberculosis treatment benefited enormously from Nightingale’s hospital and urban reforms, early strategies for addressing the disease were not entirely external, manifesting in the external/interior hybrid of the sanitarium.5 Patients mostly required palliative care, and
at the infrastructural level. She even
Foucault would describe this new relationship as the subjugation of biological bodies as a means of controlling populations. From this perspective, the genesis of biopower emerged as sovereign states realized that the advantages of a healthy population came with the added potential to monitor subjects via institutions (health insurance, water distribution…) and even influence political loyalty.
3 Thomas Van Leeuwen. “Piss and the City,” Harvard Design Magazine, no. 40 (2015): 44–48. 4 Siegfried Giedion. Mechanization Takes Command (New York: Oxford University Press, 1948).
5 Although Nightingale’s hygiene regulations often dictated interior finishes, her work remained entirely declined an offer to lead compulsory sanitation in private houses and persuaded the Royal Sanitary Commission to leave residential regulations in the hands of local authorities.
fig. 3 La Toilette from William Hogarth’s 1743 Marriage a la Mode series.
6 Beatriz Colomina. “X-Ray Architecture: The Tuberculosis Effect.” Harvard Design Magazine, no. 40 (2015): 86.
understandably preferred home to hospital. However, doctors often prescribed change in environment, sending the ill to deserts and mountains for dry air. Sanitariums offered first class hospitality in addition to hygienic facilities. Doctors collaborated with architects, incorporating drainage, ventilation, and white, easy-to-clean surfaces. Dry air was enjoyed on sun decks and scenic walking paths. Soon, both the elegance and science of the sanitarium moved directly into domestic space. The Adirondack chair, designed to aid respiration, became a fixture of the American deck. Le Corbusier incorporated roof decks and handwashing sinks into his modern villas.6 Terraces and gymnasiums altered the programmatic content of the home, foregrounding physical health and strength, while stark, smooth interiors implied modern hygiene. The home was redefined as a place of individual rejuvenation. Beatriz Colomina notes that even the technology of healing was internalized: Books on modern architecture are filled with images of glowing-glass skins, revealing inner bones and organs; they look like albums of X-rays …This is more than a dominant aesthetic. It is a symptom of a deep-seated philosophy of design deriving from medical discourse. The X-ray effect was integral to a new discourse about transparency…And it was not just the house that had to be see-through. Everything from Pyrex cookware to Saran plastic wrap, to windows in ovens and washing machines, exposed its contents.7
The final interior manifestation of tuberculosis—within the individual body—was not characterized by technological advances, but by cultural and popular perceptions of the disease. Tuberculosis had been a global scourge for centuries, and was a leading cause of death in many western cities. As such, it had a profound impact on cultural understandings of illness, mortality and self-preservation. In Illness as Metaphor, Susan Sontag writes that a disease has two identities: the first is a literal, medical reality; the second is metaphoric. Sontag compares the metaphors of
tuberculosis and cancer, explaining that TB was a disease of mystery and poetry. Bodies are consumed, flash bright, then fade. She writes: It is with TB that the idea of individual illness was articulated, along with the idea that people are made more conscious as they confront their deaths, and in the images that collected around the disease one can see emerging a modern idea of individuality that has taken in the twentieth century a more aggressive, if no less narcissistic form.8
8 Sontag, 32.
The internalization of the TB metaphor into the body drew upon notions of the sensitive, spiritual, emaciated artist. The patient transcended corporeal needs. Indulgence indicated mediocrity. Nightingale wrote, “if [a woman] has a knife and fork in her hands during three hours of the day, she cannot have a pencil or brush.” Cancer and the Toxic Body The division of cancer into external and interior space is still largely defined by the lack of any definitive cause or cure. Cancer has taken lives for thousands of years, but it is only in the past two centuries that it has been understood as a single cell growing out of control. As a metaphor, cancer presents a very different image than tuberculosis. Sontag writes: A disease of the lungs is, metaphorically, a disease of the soul. Cancer, as a disease that can strike anywhere, is a disease of the body. Far from revealing anything spiritual, it reveals that the body is, all too woefully, just the body… Nobody conceives of cancer the way TB was thought of – as a decorative, often lyrical death. Cancer is a rare and still scandalous subject for poetry; and it seems unimaginable to aestheticize the disease.9
9 Sontag, 18-22.
Contagious diseases like tuberculosis are foreign entities until they enter one’s own body, at which point they become a part of the interior. Cancer is not contagious. It emerges from within the self, rendering the body opaque and leaving only the body to blame. Tumors grow unseen until the body is subject to professional examination. The bounded system of the individual becomes an obsession to be monitored, dissected and selectively extracted. By the middle of the 20th-century, the body was no longer separated from the conscience. In fact, physical fitness came to represent an elevated state of being.10 Athletic bodies were asked to perform with efficiency and strength. The modern tower came to embody such physical fitness, and the city soon became a collection of advancing competitors, reaching unprecedented heights and speeds. Koolhaas’s description of the Downtown Athletic Club in Delirious New York depicts the simultaneity of this effect:
10 During this time, the United States government learned that almost half of all enlisted men during WWII were unfit for combat. Comparative data comparing American to much healthier European children initiated the creation of multiple government
It is not a locker room but an incubator for adults, an instrument that permits the members – too impatient to await the outcome of evolution – to reach a new strata of maturity by transforming themselves into new beings, this time according to their individual designs.11
agencies dedicated to the promotion of exercise and diet.
11 Rem Koolhaas. Delirious New York
Cancer and the Balanced Body The notion of the accelerating fit body may, however, be coming to an
(New York: The Monacelli Press, 1997) 157-158.
fig. 4 The Next to Go 1919 Red Cross Christmas seal campaign.
12 National Cancer Institute. Risk Factors: Chronic Inflammation. http://www.cancer.gov/aboutcancer/causes-prevention/risk/ chronic-inflammation
end, and with it, the external/domestic divide. The home--feminine balm to the masculine public realm--is no longer an adequate refuge from the stress and uncertainty of modern life. Work-related tasks can now be performed from one’s apartment; the soft spaces and furnishings of the domestic interior are finding their way into corporate headquarters. Architecturally, the air-tight, air-conditioned structures of office buildings have been found to have an adverse effect on the human body, sometimes producing the aptly named “sick building syndrome.” Reconsideration of the work/life divide and a new emphasis on thermodynamics in the last decade has coincided with the medical discovery that inflammation causes cancer.12 As inflammation occurs in reaction to almost any psychological or physical stress, the body, like the building which heats and cools itself to meet every environmental change, can be undone when its own methods of self-preservation go too far. Recycled air must be mediated with natural ventilation, physical exercise with relaxation. Cancer is therefore not offset by the super-body
fig. 5 Instagrammed Wellness. Supermodel Karlie Kloss jumps rope and singer Taylor Swift bakes.
but by the balanced body, and the maintenance of homeostasis charges the envelope as a primary site for surveillance and control. The balanced body forgives abstention and indulgence in moderation. Consequently, the tubercular, heroin-chic anorexic has been replaced by the mindful, normcore gym-goer. No model today would utter aloud Kate Moss’s “nothing tastes as good as thin feels” mantra. Instead, icons of physique are more likely to Instagram what was once considered boring and unsophisticated – images of themselves working out and making cookies with friends (fig. 5). In the home, tracking and eliminating imbalance has become obsessive. Rituals of searching and purging are at the heart Marie Kondo’s self-help novel, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. This is not the exotic glamour of quasi-medical treatment, as was the sanitarium, but the spiritually-specked selfindulgence of metaphoric illness prevention. Kondo explains that “visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder.” The source of a messy home is a messy self, and mess is, of course, toxic. Tidying up as a means of eliminating “the true source of disorder” also finds its way into local policy. Neighborhood yard regulations have become a dominant method of maintaining spatial conformity in the name of community equilibrium. Christmas lights may be mocked, but cheap children’s toys, equipment or other so-called junk is downright scorned. Overall, any miscellanea in front of the house is considered low class. In the media, even those who allow their possessions to amass within
their own homes are shamed as negligent carriers of mental illness and perpetrators of filth and sloth. The solution to any excessive build up is immediate and precise removal. Kondo’s method of diagnosis is to hold each object, ask if it sparks joy, and if not, dispose of it. She maintains that this process “is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.”
13 Michel Foucault. The History of Sexuality (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978).
While self-checks are helpful, ultimate clarity within the system requires third party observation. Equipment tracks emissions, temperatures and movements. Doctors inspect breasts, stomachs and testicles. Companies note locations, relationships and preferences. This voluntary vulnerability in the sake of wellness has fulfilled Foucault’s notion of biopower to the extreme.13 Looking to the future, the specificity of emerging medical phenomena in genetic testing and microbe mapping in conjunction with smart building technology offers possibilities of hyper-individualized environments for personal well being. At this point, the external/ interior divide may have entirely dissolved. The body, projected across infinite digital images, recordings and histories will no longer perform as a discrete entity. The once neatly fenced limits of the human lifespan will be opened, as the consciousness finds new bodies in Facebook pages, Instagram filters, and AI robotics. Architects will give into the continuous, soapy surface of globalization. The complexity of the boundary will be obsolete. In the meantime, cancer and its many metaphoric toxins will continue to inform the surgical removal of spatial decay. In 2013, Pier Vittorio Aureli wrote,
14 Pier Vittorio Aureli. “A Spectacle of Deepest Harmony.” OASE #90 (2014) 5.
15 Keller Easterling. Subtraction (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2014) 1.
Imposing its order, architecture can limit itself by becoming a limit as such—or rather by becoming something wherein something else can take place. In order to be good, architecture has to fulfill a tabula rasa. It has to become ‘ destructive.’ 14
In 2014 Keller Easterling followed, Whatever the pleasures and prodigious efforts associated with erecting architecture, the art of causing it to disappear can be equally compelling or satisfying…Buildings themselves can even cause destruction not only because they replace previous buildings, but also because they can, by their often toxic presence, destroy their surroundings.15
After all, this isn’t the crude butchery of urban renewal. This is resection. You are not the cell growing out of control. You are the educated customer. Destruction for the sake of construction. With so much mess, the possibilities are endless. And what’s more, fresh starts are fun. Does the exposed brick bring you joy? If not, dispose of it. Feel better?
Disruptive Stimuli Amanda Coen
fig. 1 (facing) Harvesting kudzu could help control vine growth and aid in management.
1 Augustine Berque, Thinking Through the Landscape (London: Routledge, 2013), 16.
2 David Pimentel, S. McNair, J. Janecka, J. Wightman, C. Simmonds, C. O’Connell, E. Wong, et al. “Economic and Environmental Threats of Alien Plant, Animal, and Microbe Invasions,” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 84, no. 1 (March 2001):1-20 3 Meyer, Rachel S., Ashley E. DuVal, and Helen R. Jensen. “Patterns and Processes in Crop Domestication: An Historical Review and Quantitative Analysis of 203 Global Food Crops.” The New Phytologist 196, no. 1 (October 2012), 31.
Disruptive Stimuli proposes a management strategy for invasive plant species that transforms biomass currently considered waste into an economic resource. It questions current methods of categorization of species and aims to shift discourse towards understanding plants based on their functional traits regardless of geographic origin. In doing so, rapidly growing species may come to be viewed as “gifts of the land,” creating new cultural associations that could aid in ongoing management efforts.1 Estimates suggest that invasive species cause over $1.4 trillion in damages globally per year, representing nearly 5% of the global economy. Yet only 10% of introduced species are likely to become successful invaders. In fact, introduced species now provide more than 98% of the U.S. food system at a value of approximately $800 billion per year.2 Through the act of domestication, many species that might otherwise have become invasive have been tamed. This stresses the importance of understanding plant invasions not just an ecological phenomenon, but also as a social and cultural challenge. The shift from the Holocene epoch to the Anthropocene over 10,000 years ago coincided with the start of domestication. To create more reliable food sources, humans began to control the plant and animal species that provided the most sustenance. For instance, the domestication of barley around 8,000 to 10,000 years ago began with the selection and selective propagation of plants with larger grain sizes and greater seed retention.3 Today, this need for control continues to manifest itself at multiple scales of ecological impact: from programs to keep ecosystems “in balance,” to genetic modifications aimed at increasing crop resiliency and yields, to
Senecio vulgaris Rumex acetosella Groundsel Trifolium repens Field SorrelCerastium fontanum Dutch Clover Big Chickweed Agrostis gigantea Redtop
Agrostis capillaris Browntop
Hydrilla verticillata Hydrilla Celastrus orbiculatus
Polygonum cuspidatum Japanese Knotweed
Dioscorea bulbifera Air Potato
White Lead Tree
Cyperus rotundus Setaria Nut Grass verticillata Agave Bristly Foxtail
americana Solanum viarum American
Kahili Ginger Lily Giant Cane
Ambrosia artemisiifolia Annual Ragweed Bromus tectorum Cheat Grass
Castor Oil Bermuda Grass Plant Acacia longifolia Melia azedarach Golden Wattle Chinaberry helix Arundo donax Hedera Common Ivy Arundo Grass
Populus alba Hedychium Silver Poplar gardnerianum Arundo donax
Leucaena leucocephala Salvinia molesta
Arundo donax Ricinus Cynodon communis dactylon
Tropical Soda Apple
Tradescantia fluminensis Cogon Grass Spiderwort Eupatorium cannabinum Hemp Agrimony Elodea canadensis Crassula helmsii Pondweed Impatiens glandulifera Rhododendron ponticum Swamp Stonecrop Rhododendron Medicago sativa Himalayan Balsam Heracleum mantegazzianum Alfalfa Elaeagnus angustifolia Acacia retinodes Cyperus rotundus Giant Hogweed Water Wattle Nut Grass Fallopia japonica Eichhornia crassipes Vinca major Oleaster Agave americana Sorghum halepense Robinia Japanese Knotweed Water Hyacinth Periwinkle Ricinus communis American Agave Johnson Grass Robinia pseudoacacia pseudoacacia Ambrosia artemisiifolia Castor Oil Plant Acacia farnesiana Lonicera japonica Black Locust Clematis Black Locust Ragweed Imperata cylindrica Needle Bush Honeysuckle Ricinus communis vitalba Carpobrotus Cogon Grass Ambrosia artemisiifolia Castor Oil Plant Old Man’s Beard Eichhornia Solanum viarum edulis Annual Ragweed Tropical Soda Apple Ice Plant crassipes Ricinus Cinnamomum Setaria Water HyacinthLeucaena leucocephala communis camphora Cyperus verticillata Setaria Spartina densiflora Camphor Tree rotundus Bristly Foxtail Dense-Flowered Cordgrass verticillata White Lead Tree Ricinus Alternanthera philoxeroides Nut Grass Sorghum Lythrum salicaria Bristly Foxtail Trapa natans Alligator Weed Eichhornia crassipes halepense Purple Loosestrife Water Caltrop Water Hyacinth Johnson Grass Chromolaena odorata Phragmites australis Cynodon Cirsium Siam Weed Common Reed Cyperus rotundus dactylon arvense Nut Grass Cinnamomum Bermuda Grass Creeping Pistia stratiotes Acacia melanoxylon Thistle camphora Water Cabbage Sydney Green Wattle
Hedera helix Melaleuca quenquenervia
Albizia julibrissin Alliaria petiolata Garlic Mustard Elaeagnus Mimosa Eichhornia umbellata Elaeagnus crassipes Autumn Olive Water Hyacinth angustifolia Bromus tectorum Oleaster Euonymus fortunei European cheatgrass Ligustrum japonicum Ailanthus altissima Winter Creeper Polygonum cuspidatum Chinese Privet Tree-of-Heaven Japanese Knotweed Lonicera sp. Centaurea solstitalis Rosa multiflora Honeysuckle Yellow Star Thistle Multiflora Rose Phyllostachys sp. Bamboo Lythrum saliscaria Pueraria montana Purple Loosestrife
Agave americana American Agave
Lantana camara Wild Sage
Imperata cylindrica Ligustrum lucidum
Andropogon gayanus Gamba Grass
Alternanthera philoxeroides Mimosa pigra Alligator Weed Asparagus africanusGiant Mimosa Climbing Asparagus Opuntia spp.
Melia azedarach China Berry
Verbascum thapsus Common Mullein
transnational shipping routes that redistribute resources over vast territory. And each of these domesticating efforts marks and changes the landscape in some way. Categories of native, non-native, alien, invasive, exotic, and indigenous have been created, inscribed, and normalized, demarcating that which promises to bring change and heightening attitudes of exclusion, extremism, and fear. For instance, Pueraria lobata, or kudzu, was originally introduced to the United States from Japan in 1876 as an ornamental shade plant with fragrant flowers. In the 1930s, it was celebrated, and even subsidized by the U.S. government, as a powerful erosion control species. However, by the 1950s it came to be viewed as a threat, overtaking many landscapes in the Southeastern U.S. Kudzu’s propagation in the U.S. may be considered an ecological disaster, but in its native habitat, cultural uses as a source of fibers, food and medicine have kept the species’ spread under control. By problematizing invasive species and dissecting the sociocultural roots of their categorization, alternative frameworks may evolve whereby ultra-competitive, opportunist species can be appreciated in certain contexts. In fact, such traits may prove to be crucial as the rate of climate change increases and our attempts to dominate and control the plant world are overshadowed by new understandings of domestication, balance, and change. The Edenic and Peaceable Kingdom aesthetics that developed during the Romantic period laid the foundation for our current understanding of “natural” or unmanaged landscapes. They perpetuated myths of balance, diversity, harmony and the absence of human impact, and obscured the reality of competition, disease, dynamism, and continuous adaptation in natural systems.4 I propose that by engaging with dynamic understandings
fig. 2 World map of invasive species
fig. 3 (facing) Invasive habitat typologies
4 Shahid Naeem, “Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning and the Design of Landscapes,” in Designing Wildlife Habitats, Colloquium on the History of Landscape Architecture, XXXIV, ed. John Beardsley (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2013), 70.
INVASIVE HABITAT TYPOLOGIES | RURAL
Constructed ponds, reservoirs, lakes
INVASIVE HABITAT TYPOLOGIES | RURAL
Pueraria montana var. lobata Kudzu
Large leaves and tangled vines smother and shade out most other plants. Dead vines from previous years form support structures on which new vines can grow.
Roots can be 6-12â€™ deep and weigh 200-300 lbs Vine primarily spreads vegetatively via underground rhizomes and above-ground vines that grow roots when they contact soil. Seeds are dispersed b water , mammals and bird but have low germination rate due to hard outer shell. fig. 4 Kudzu growth cycle and existing management techniques
Single root crown can generate up to 30 vines.
Vine doesnâ€™t usually fruit or flower until its third year.
Vine primarily spreads vegetatively via underground rhizomes and above-ground vines that grow roots when they contact soil. Seeds are dispersed b water , mammals and bird but have low germination rate due to hard outer shell.
Pueraria montana var. lobata Kudzu
Cut Prescribed burn Prescribed burn
sn’t usually fruit or ntil its third year. Cut
Prescribed burn 0’ 1’
of ecology, we can work with, rather than against, invasive species’ unruly characteristics to develop new ways of organizing, using, and managing the abundant resources they offer. This proposal takes an integrated landscape approach (ILA) to management and unfolds on two scales. It focuses on both long-term ecological management and shorter-term, market driven solutions, the second of which is the focus of this article. This two-pronged approach emphasizes a holistic understanding of the landscape as a complex system. It builds on the ILA model, incorporating ecological, economic, social and cultural considerations, and anticipating change.5 The proposal works with invasives’ “wild” traits (fast-growing, competitive, aggressive, etc) to take advantage of their constantly replenished biomass. Through the act of regularly harvesting, invasives are momentarily tamed, their resources materially transformed and made legible to the domestic realm, generating the financial resources to fund ongoing management efforts. Management takes on a new meaning as its aim shifts from one of eradication to one of monitoring, containing, and working with plants’ inherent growth patterns. No longer simply a matter of ecological conservation, this new form of management offers the opportunity to broaden the conversation. Such an approach is full of potential as industry leaders strive to clean up production processes, and government incentives reward efforts toward sustainability. As supply chains, carbon trading, and international trade agreements continue to negatively impact the environment and deplete
fig. 5 Diagram of Kudzu growth from root crowns.
5 Olivia E. Freeman, Lalisa A. Duguma and Peter A. Minang, “Operationalizing the Integrated Landscape Approach in Practice,” Ecology and Society 20, No. 1 (March 2015): 400-418, accessed October 10, 2015.
MULTIFUNCTIONALITY MULTIFUNCTIONALITY MULTIFUNCTIONALITY MULTIFUNCTIONALITY Multiple primary objectives Multiple and primary secondary objectives Multiple and primary secondary objectives and secondary Multiple primary objectives and secondary objectives that integrate objectives and cross that multiple integrate objectives and cross that integrate multiple and cross multiple objectives that integrate and cross multiple sectors/disciplines. sectors/disciplines. sectors/disciplines. sectors/disciplines.
ION PARTICIPATION PARTICIPATION PARTICIPATION
INTERDISCIPLINARITY INTERDISCIPLINARITY INTERDISCIPL INTERDISCIPLINARITY
zontal Vertical and horizontal Vertical and horizontal Vertical and horizontal icipation collaborative with participation collaborative with collaborative participation withparticipation with rmining stakeholders which determining stakeholders which determining which stakeholders determining which projection they projection they projection they ow.would like to to follow. would like to follow. would like follow.
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COMPLEXITYCOMPLEXITY COMPLEXITY COMPLEXITY
SUSTAINABILITY SUSTAINABILITY SUSTAINABILITY SUSTAINABILITY
Ability to iterate and Ability adapt to to iterate and Ability adapt to iterate and adapt Ability iterate and adapt to changing, dynamic to to changing, dynamic to changing, dynamic changing, dynamic futures. futures. futures. futures.
Strong and/or iterative Strong and/or iterative Strong and/or iterative Strong and/or iterative vision that is agile- “sustainvision that is is agilevision “sustainthat is agile- “sustainvision that agile“sustainagility.” agility.” agility.” agility.”
fig. 6 Integrated Landscape Approach (ILA) to management.
6 “Clean by Design,” National Resources Defense Council, accessed 10 January 2016, http:// www.nrdc.org/international/ cleanbydesign/.
7 Eileen Fisher, Inc, accessed 10 January 2016, http://www. eileenfisher.com/EileenFisher/ Behind_the_Label/Vision2020.jsp.
resources, consumers and regulatory groups demand tighter restrictions. Efforts are being led by environmental organizations that aim to hold industry leaders accountable for their actions. For example, in 2009, the National Resources Defense Council recognized the fashion industry’s huge environmental impact and established Clean by Design. The program is aimed at textile mills and leverages the buying power of multinational corporations to lessen the environmental impact of suppliers abroad.6 The group has engaged major fashion labels such as Levi Strauss and Company, The Gap, and H&M. Other brands have taken their own approach. For instance, Eileen Fisher’s Vision 2020 recognizes existing social and environmental injustices and aims to map the fibers, people, dyes, and other resources involved in the production of their clothing line in an attempt to restructure the way business is done and develop alternatives to current practice.7 For industry leaders looking for alternatives to the intensive agricultural practices that yield conventional natural fibers, a strategy for managing invasive species could provide a window of opportunity to promote fairer production methods, and to take advantage of a fast-growing, highly renewable source of raw materials. I am developing a catalog of landscape types in which invasive plant species are most successful, and am beginning to spatialize harvesting systems for each. To provide some parameters, I have chosen to focus on the Southeastern United States. I am developing a palette of invasive species that exhibit the fiber and tensile properties that could make them strong candidates for the production of cloth, paper, and/or durable landscape
Forestry Parks Management Natural Resource Management
Municipal Bodies Land Owners
Accumulate Harvest Re-Invest
Transform Sell Sort, beat, spin
Material Scientists Research Institutions Designers Fashion labels Artists
fabrics. Each species is assessed based on its resource consumption and distribution methods, climate and soil needs, and geographic presence. I have established a local test plot in conjunction with Charlottesville Parks in Charlottesville, VA, and am observing plant communities, ecological dynamics, and plant responses to intervention strategies. While the project is currently linked to a physical place, the design strategies being developed are intended to be replicable across a broad range of sites in similar climates. Collaboration has been an integral part of my work, with input from material scientists, landscape architects, ecologists, leaders in the fashion industry, and textile designers all providing vital critique and guidance. Plant-focused landscape architects often have a keen understanding of the small-scale lifecycle processes that constitute larger systems. This knowledge gives us an obligation to propose creative visions for managing local landscape resources. Management goes beyond the act of maintenance. It involves rigorously analyzing current practices, developing an informed strategy and coordinating multiple stakeholders—in forestry, natural resource management, industry and design—to realize new, multiscalar solutions to existing challenges. As David Gissen explains, “Weeds are those plants that get in the way of programs, agendas, or desires that we project into spatial constructs.”8 However, by designing systems where such weeds are welcomed and in fact, celebrated, we create new relationships with and uses for entities that escape domestication.
fig. 7 Invasive Species Management Strategy: A Multistakeholder Approach fig. 8 (facing) Diagram of agricultural systems
Large Often Relian
8 David Gissen, Subnature: Architecture’s Other Environments (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009), 150.
Small amount of labor and capital in relation to land being farmed. Practiced where population densities are low and often far from primary markets.
Small amount of labor and capital inclimate relation to land being farmed. Yields depend on natural fertility of soil, terrain, and water availability. Common in hilly or mountainous regions. Practiced where population densities are low and often far from primary markets. Yields, often lower, depend on natural fertility of soil, terrain, climate and water availability.
Large input of labor and capital in relation to land area. Large input of labor and capital in relation to land area. Often located close to market- lowers transportation costs. Often located close to market- lowers transportation costs. Reliant on chemicals, pesticides and irrigation to drive high yields.
Sma Prac Yield avail
Reliant on chemicals, pesticides and irrigation to drive high yields.
Large input of labor and capital in relation to land area. Often located close to market- lowers transportation costs. Reliant on chemicals, pesticides and irrigation to drive high yields.
Small amount of labor and capital in relation to land being farmed. Practiced where population densities are low and often far from primary markets. Yields, often lower, depend on natural fertility of soil, terrain, climate and water availability.
Monitored, Targeted Monitored, Targeted
Small amount of labor and chemical inputs in relation to land area.
Small amount of labor and chemical inputs in relation toPracticed land area. where ever misplaced gifts are found. Monitored, Targeted Yield depends on growth rate, climate specificities Practiced where ever misplaced gifts are found. Yield depends on growth rate, climate specificities and surveillance techniques.
and surveillance techniques.
Small amount of labor and chemical inputs in relation to land area. Practiced where ever misplaced gifts are found. Yield depends on growth rate, climate specificities and surveillance techniques.
Beyond Human Publics Claire Casstevens and Bonnie-Kate Walker
fig. 1 (facing) Vacancy map of Baltimore, MD (Bonnie-Kate Walker)
Architecture’s destiny has always been colonization, the imposing of limits, order, and form, the introduction into strange space of the elements of identity necessary to make it recognizable, identical, universal. In essence, architecture acts as an instrument of organization, of rationalization, and of productive efficiency capable of transforming the uncivilized into the cultivated, the fallow into the productive, the void into the built. – Ignasi de Sola Morales, Terrain Vague
How does a city begin? An eighteenth-century etching of Savannah, Georgia, drawn one year after its founding, shows that settlement starts with the editing of a natural condition. Land is cleared; old-growth trees are felled and milled into lumber for house-building; the clearing is divided into parcels, marked out by fences also hewn from forest timber (fig. 2). The settled landscape is then ordered by a grid that has become familiar in American cities. Its geometry, which reads clearly as having been constructed by people, for people, stands in sharp contrast to the forest beyond, ordered instead by relative availabilities of water, nutrients, and light. To paraphrase Ignasi de Sola Morales, the city—a place for humans—thus begins by reorganizing land according to human logic, subjecting it to ideas of what is rational, productive, and civil. But this is not 1734, and the “wilderness” encountered by early European settlers is no longer a possible precondition for city-making in the United States. Instead, designers today are tasked with revising the inherited urban frameworks of what were, until recently, the prosperous centers of U.S. industrialism. Since the mid-twentieth century, Baltimore and many other American cities (Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland) have
fig. 2 Detail of 1734 aerial view of Savannah, Georgia, showing the laying out of the city.
lost population through suburbanization and white flight, seen steep declines in production and manufacturing, and borne the brunt of housing crises and economic recessions. There are currently over 16,000 legally vacant properties in Baltimore alone —the physical manifestation of recent economic and political trends (fig. 1). 1 In such staggering numbers, vacancy is often perceived as a wholly negative effect of post-industrialism. But perhaps there is more to it—could it be that these contemporary urban in-between spaces actually possess a certain vitality and spatial value? We argue that yes, it is in these emerging holes in the urban fabric that post-industrial cities, no longer serving their intended purpose, can begin again. These are the spaces that now play a role analogous to that early Savannah forest. While vacant buildings and parcels are by no means the “first nature” captured in the Arcadian imagination, they nonetheless exist as their own breed of sites that, like the forest, are spurred into rapid transformation by regimes of disturbance and succession. In contrast to those who conventionally advocate for the preservation of an ostensibly “human-centric” city, we approach this topic from the perspective of landscape architecture, a discipline that recognizes that there are, and have always been, other agendas at play in the spaces we occupy. These agendas are driven by nonhuman logics. By embracing these logics and folding them into urban design practices, we not only enliven urban ecosystems through enhanced biodiversity, but also constitute a new social imaginary that envisions place-based ecologies as critical to the urban experience. As climatic and ecological forces colonize, organize, or “domesticate” the spaces that emerge from population decline, urban designers and builders have an opportunity to consider how widespread vacancy does not denote emptiness but suggests reoccupation. It is an opportunity to reformulate the original question of urbanization: How do we (re)construct the city? And for whom? Graduate students in a 2015 landscape architecture studio at the University of Virginia explored these questions through the adaptation of
1 Terrence McCoy, “Baltimore has more than 16,000 vacant houses. Why can’t the homeless move in?” Washington Post, May 12, 2015.
the Baltimore rowhouse, the city’s characteristic domestic architecture. In response to a prompt that called for new systems of urban hydrology and better integration of the city’s geology, ecology, and water systems with its built environment, the following proposals guide our socio-ecological imaginary toward a vision of the city as a landscape of diverse (human and non-human) publics, that together form an urban collective. The projects approach the legally vacant rowhouse as a negotiable space: a space in the city no longer managed by people. In doing so, they suggest that cities like Baltimore can demonstrate a process of alternative domestication, of making a home alongside nonhuman neighbors, and designing a gradient of spaces between the familiar and the foreign.
2 Jill Desimini, “From Planned Shrinkage to Formerly Urban: Staking Landscape Architecture’s Claim in the Shrinking City Debate,”
Seeing the Urban Landscape: Nonhuman Agency in the City Baltimore’s grid is intersected by two diagonal streets (Pennsylvania Avenue and Gay Street) that trace the paths of legacy tributaries to the Patapsco River. Interstate 83, the Jones Falls Expressway, glides over the piped and exposed parts of its namesake creek, the biggest inlet to the Chesapeake Bay from the East Baltimore watershed. Our argument is founded on the premise that the material of landscape is never fully erased from the urban fabric. Its character may change with paving, piping, channelization, and other forms of management, but the city remains a collage of landscape processes. Landscape scholars have argued that rebuilding the post-industrial city must rigorously engage landscape dynamics. Recognizing vacancy as a systemic consequence of post-industrialism, Jill Desimini, argues that the discipline of landscape architecture offers a “holistic” and systems-based way of thinking that extends beyond individual projects to address broader patterns. Her call for “alternative site interpretations” heralds a vision of the “shrinking city” that “respects emergent vegetation and perforated lands, embraces time as an asset, recognizes maintenance and management as important design factors, and accepts the need to plan and design for de-urbanization.”2 In her writings on the restoration of Mill Creek (Philadelphia, PA), Anne Whiston Spirn defines the urban landscape as the sum of its physical features and natural processes, in addition to the structures of human society.
Landscape Journal 33 (2014): 17.
“Rain falls, carving valleys and soaking soil. People mould landscape with hands, tools and machines, through law, public policy, the investing and withholding of capital, and other actions undertaken hundreds or thousands of miles away. The processes that shape landscape operate at different scales of space and time: from the local to the national, from the ephemeral to the enduring.” 3 3 Anne Whiston Spirn, “Restoring Mill Creek: Landscape Literacy, Environmental Justice and City Planning and Design,” Landscape Research 30 (2005): 397.
4 Peter Del Tredici, Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2010), 11.
Urban ecologist Peter del Tredici also reminds us that we are not the city’s only occupants: “Regardless of humans’ preferences, an enormous variety of nonhuman life has managed to crowd into cities to form a cosmopolitan collection of organisms.”4 These three theorists (Desimini, Spirn, Del Tredici) all assert the potential of post-industrial urban infrastructure to support a new kind of urbanity, and argue that this spatial potential is best recognized and realized through the lens of landscape. Landscape is not just a conceptual framework or metaphor for city-building; it is intrinsic to the city’s literal construction. Echoing Spirn and others, we propose that there are no passive dwellers in the city; policymakers and rainwater have equally active roles in shaping
the form and character of the urban fabric. Storm events are not just problems that the city must respond to with gutters, sloped roofs, and sewer systems; they are agents that erode surfaces, distribute resources, and shape physical land and cultural practices. And the vigorous, diverse groups of plants that del Tredici brings to our attention? They are our neighbors —an intimate relationship that is illuminated through an “ecologically oriented vision for human-dominated landscapes.”5 Conceptualizing the city in this way —as constructed through landscape and the activity of climatic and ecological actors —we draw on theories regarding the power, value, and rights of non-human beings that have emerged in the humanities and sciences in recent decades. Bruno Latour advocates for “a collective of humans and nonhumans,” arguing that “the non-anthropomorphic character is a character all the same, it has agency, it moves, it undergoes trial, it elicits reaction, it becomes describable.” Using the term “actant,” Latour describes that—human or non—which has the potential to be a “decisive voice catalyzing an event,” much like Spirn’s characterization of rainwater: an agent with the power to both carve out gullies in the lawn, and legally render a property vacant. 6, 7 Drawing on Latour’s ideas, Jane Bennett poses the question, “How would political responses to public problems change were we to take seriously the vitality of (nonhuman) bodies?”8 Here, she attributes vitality to what we ordinarily consider inanimate entities, or things. She asserts that things have a certain capacity “not only to impede or block the will and designs of humans but also to act as quasi agents or forces with trajectories, propensities, or tendencies of their own.”9 For example, a landfill is something we may think of as a stagnant heap of trash. In actuality, however, a landfill is an active agent “generating lively streams of chemicals and volatile winds of methane.”10 It doesn’t just sit there; it performs, it acts on the environment, and it sets in motion tangential events.
fig. 3 Photograph of vacant rowhouse showing human/nonhuman contrast (Claire Casstevens)
5 Peter Del Tredici, “The Flora of the Future,” in Projective Ecologies, ed. Chris Reed and Nina Marie-Lister (Cambridge: Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2014), 239.
6 Bruno Latour, “How to Better Register the Agency of Things” (lecture, Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Yale University, March 28, 2014). 7 Baltimore City Building fire and related codes, Section 115.4, 2015. 8 Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010), 9. 9 Bennett, Vibrant Matter, vii. 10 Bennett, Vibrant Matter, vii.
11 Peter Del Tredici, “The Flora of the Future.” 12 Daniel Botkin, Discordant Harmonies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) 188.
13 Kristina Hill, “Shifting Sites,” in Site Matters: Design Concepts, Histories, and Strategies, ed. Carol J. Burns and Andrea Kahn. (New York: Routledge, 2005), 131.
For designers, this is a critical juncture. Landscape design is no longer an act of designing for humans with landscape elements. Instead, we are positioned to “resolve the competing interests of...human clients and those of the other organisms that seek to inhabit the same place.”11 Contemporary ecological theory requires us to “abandon a belief in the constancy of undisturbed nature.”12 The disavowal of the steady-state ecosystem has helped us recognize the human impact on the environment not as an exterior threat, but as a part of the cyclical and stochastic processes that characterize frequently-disturbed ecological systems. With new language, imagery, and metaphors for the workings of non-human systems, we can begin to “envision landscapes as composed of shifting nodes of interaction, driven by dynamic temporal relationships rather than deterministic trends.”13 The modern dichotomy between objects in a designed space and subjects experiencing that space has been eroded: on one hand by the sciences, as each site is recognized as dynamic and variable, and on the other by the humanities, in which each element is framed as an agent, an actor, an inhabitant. Alternative Domestication This shift in thinking needs to be reflected in our constructed world, and the vacant Baltimore rowhouse offers fertile ground for experimentation. A Baltimore rowhouse is approximately 15’ by 60,’ and there are about forty on a typical block. Most importantly, the rowhouse is just that: a house. It is not an abandoned factory, a defunct railroad, a woodlot, or a warehouse. The scale and character of the abandoned rowhouse is more challenging and subtle than these post-industrial sites: a combination of traditional domestic imagery (living rooms, furniture, porches) with nonhuman occupants or colonizers (trees, animals, water). Rather than the single bold move of the post-industrial park, rowhouse-based strategies require a piecemeal approach that aggregates over time. To live in a rowhouse is to share a wall, a backyard, a sidewalk with
your neighbors. Traditionally, rowhouses are iconic symbols of urban neighborhood life. The stoop is where urbanity begins and the life of the street is performed, separated only by a thin facade from the private dwelling space. Through their form, rowhouses emphasize the narrow gradient between public and private space, with scales of domesticity that range from the back yard, to the alley, the street, and the neighborhood. The scale of this public space is still intimate; its character remains domestic. Yet its inhabitants suggest a new relationship between a city’s architecture and its landscape. Proposals for Non-Human Neighbors Through drawings and design proposals, the following projects have taken the regularity and standardization of the rowhouse, and adapted it to imagine various forms of the urban ecological collective (fig. 4). Each project focuses on a different element of the rowhouse type, and the resultant designs demonstrate possible futures for the in-between spaces of human and nonhuman worlds; they are proposals for alternative domestication. In Living Windows, Claire Casstevens inverts the experience of the rowhouse facade, exploring the potential of walls to qualify domestic space for both human and nonhuman beings. At the core of the project are questions of perceived dualities: What is the difference between inside and outside? Between public and private? Between cultivated and wild? Where does one (a person or a plant) belong and not belong in the space of the city? The project takes form through the editing of urban ruins: while the historic facades of vacant buildings are preserved, building foundations are filled with new soil, and cultivated plants and spontaneous vegetation are introduced as the new occupants. On the largest scale, the result is a networked urban forest (a word that can be traced back to the Latin term foris, meaning “something outside...or beyond the realm of the…domestic sphere”).14 The result is a dynamic urban order that negotiates but also complicates the nature of “domesticity” for human and non-human populations. Tributary: Gay Street, by Bonnie Kate Walker, uses the structure of the rowhouse’s roof and floor joists to guide rainwater through the interior of the frame, creating a stratified network of plants and a sensorial performance of water. The water catchment devices are filled with a variety of materials, creating a diversity of water flows (fast/slow, light/heavy). The resulting space provides a concentrated or amplified experience of atmosphere; rain events last longer and sound bigger in the garden than they do outside. Each level of the house has areas that serve as patios for neighboring residents, and places reserved for spontaneous vegetation. With the preservation of the facade, the interior of the house retains its domestic significance, but it challenges the dichotomy of public/private space by creating a gradient of shared spaces at multiple scales: between cultivated and spontaneous vegetation, human residents and resident water, and, with a water feature connecting the interior of the garden to the alleyway, creating a spatial connection between the rest of the neighborhood and the shared garden. Through the articulation of “unnoticed moments” of opportunistic vegetation, Sheila Yang’s proposal Cracks for Opportunities “exaggerates and connects these wild moments by creating a new ‘ecosystem
14 Vittoria Di Palma, Wasteland: A History (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014), 178.
fig.4 Diagram of rowhouse annotated with student areas of focus (Bonnie-Kate Walker)
ANATOMY OF A ROWHOUSE ALTERNATIVE DOMESTICATION
ROOF + JOISTS BONNIE-KATE WALKER
GROUND SHEILA YANG
FACADE CLAIRE CASSTEVENS
BASEMENTS JULIE SHAPIRO
STOOP + STREET LUKE HARRIS
network.’” Using plants as an indicator of water residence and flow patterns, Yang engages existing surface water flows to “[accelerate] succession in an urban context”. With the establishment of these new habitats, Yang articulates a space in the city for the unknown, and gives agency to that space’s constantly changing residents. In Settling, Luke Harris envisions the street and the rowhouse front stoop as public, social space that encourages interaction among homeowners and between homeowners and the urban watershed. Harris challenges “a purely infrastructural relationship to water,” instead highlighting water’s sensual and aesthetic potential to enliven public space. By texturing the surface of the street and eradicating an existing gutter system that hastens the removal of stormwater from streets, he allows the street to play with water. The result is a performance of flow and sediment migration, accumulation and dispersion that, over time, transforms the street into “a materially and programmatically complex surface that organizes human and fluvial flows.” This project embraces the messy overall relationship between the private and public, the domestic and wild. Finally, in her project Residence and Connectivity: Hybrid Hydrology in East Baltimore, Julie Shapiro interprets the basements of rowhouses as “a resource, a reticulate space of opportunity for diversifying and enlivening the city surface.” By diverting stormwater from the pipeshed and rerouting it through a new riparian condition established in the
fig. 5 Living Windows (Claire Casstevens) fig. 6 (facing) Tributary: Gay Street (Bonnie Kate Walker)
daylit basements of unoccupied and demolished rowhouses, Shapiro views the city through the lens of its topography and surface hydrology. She emphasizes the hybrid nature of this new condition by forming a stream network out of materials from the rowhouse deconstruction, and allowing plants that respond well to riparian or early successional conditions to seed and thrive independently. The space given in Shapiro’s project to support microbial life and plant succession, increase water residency, and provide connectivity and pathways for human residents, suggests an inclusive vision of urban ecology. Why Should We Share the City? Why now? Why Baltimore? To understand the city as the domain of both human and non-human beings is, in the words of Vittoria di Palma, “to see humanity’s hubristic fantasies of control and domination put in their place”.15 Cities may have been built for people, but accelerated climate change, in eerie coordination with the dissolution of industrial urban centers, has forced us to rethink our relationship to our surroundings from the constructed environment to the ‘natural’ setting. What we might see as alien, as something not belonging in the city (spontaneous vegetation, 123
15 Di Palma, Wasteland: A History, 242.
STOOP LIFE AXON
3/16” = 1’
CRUSHED ASPHALT ASPHALT WOOD RUBBLE
DEMOLISHED LOT DETAIL
STOOP LAYER DETAIL
WHERE THE PROJECT CALLS FOR DEMOLISHING VACANT BUILDINGS, THE BRICK FOUNDATIONS ARE REMOVED (EXCEPTING THE FRONT WALL) AND THE SURROUNDING SOIL BEGINS TO FILL THE HOLES. RUBBLE FROM HOUSES DEMOLISHED WITHIN A 1 MILE RADIUS IS SUCCESSIVELY ADDED UNTIL THE HOLE IS FILLED TO 2’ BELOW THE ADJACENT GRADE. THE HOLE IS TOPPED OFF WITH A LAYER OF CLAY LOAM.
THE BASE LAYER OF THE STOOP IS CRUSHED ASPHALT PRODUCED BY MILLING. CRUMBLING BRICK AND OTHER RUBBLE IS LAYERED BETWEEN THE BASE AND THE SURFACE.
fig. 7 (facing) Cracks for Opportunities (Sheila Yang) fig. 8 (above) Settling (Luke Harris)
16 Thomas Oles, Walls: Enclosure and Ethics in the Modern Landscape (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 172.
1/2” = 1’
severely weathered buildings, resident water) is only going to become more familiar. Cities are natural systems. They are not fixed in space or time. As some shrink, others grow. As populations shift, city forms and policies must evolve as well. Cities like Baltimore are places of conflict, negotiation, adaptation, and change. They present exciting moments of threshold for designers, who can incite shifts in our cultural frameworks. In the case of Baltimore, this is a shift toward a more inclusive, ecological model of a city. In this light, the Baltimore rowhouse is a potent case study that provokes a new view of what has traditionally been the most private of spaces —the domestic realm of the family home. Many of these projects turn the domestic space inside-out, lessening the divide between private and public. They react to the simultaneous processes of suburban sprawl and urban core densification present in Baltimore, and they propose new strategies for living closely with diverse human and ecological communities. They underscore a key step in this process of urban transformation: to recognize the multiplicity of perspectives from which the city is seen, lived, and shaped. As Thomas Oles suggests, we are no longer the only ones “inside the wall looking out.”16 Sometimes, we are on the other side. The acknowledgment that there are other lives, other forces, other agents that we as humans depend on (and that depend on us) emphasizes the diversity of urban communities, lends complexity to the urban spatial fabric, and enlivens the connective network between our many subjective experiences of the city. To sanitize the city of these agents would sacrifice the character of what it means to live in an urban context—to share and cohabitate with diverse publics, human and beyond.
ACCESS: recycled marble steps reprise their role as social space, providing seating and access to the wetland FLOODPLAIN ACCESS/HYDROLOGIC CONNECTIVITY: denitrifying bacteria thrive in anaerobic soil with abundant sources of organic carbon PIPESHED: new system diverts stormwater from storm drains, detaining it on the surface for denitrification
fig. 9 Residence and Connectivity: Hybrid Hydrology in East Baltimore (Julie Shapiro)
HABITAT: for aquatic invertebrates, amphibians; food source for birds, mammals
EVAPOTRANSPIRATION: cooling effects of the floodplain mitigate the urban heat island
ARMATURE: existing concrete/stone basements contain the new riparian system; modified as needed to facilitate water flow or detention
brates, SOIL FORMATION, mineral fraction from sediment and weathering of brick and concrete, organic inputs from lumber and plant detritus REVETMENT: salvaged lumber and brick catch sediment to build up new riparian zone
Eating at Home, Outside the House Ana Cubillos-Torres
fig. 1 (facing) The city as dining room: picnics at the park
Last summer, I flew from Washington, D.C. to Paris to study networks of food production, distribution, and consumption. I visited 49 of the 92 temporary markets bustling on the streets of Paris. On my first excursion, I filled up my market bags, preparing for the week’s meals. Back in the 300-square-foot “studio” apartment I rented, my stomach’s foresight and grocery planning turned out to be a problem. The lettuce, tomatoes and cheese I had picked up did not fit in the refrigerator. I had traveled from the land of 100-cubic-foot refrigerators to the city of 10-cubicfoot refrigerators—“gameboy fridges” as my landlord referred to them. I came to understand that I had to pick up a day’s worth of tomatoes on the day I would eat them. Parisians use the street markets as their refrigerators. The markets that enliven the streets of Paris act as counterpart or complement to the 10-cubic-foot refrigerator. The market system and the houses of 2.25 million Parisians form a mega-network of domesticity. Snacks and meals take place in the kitchen, on the waterfront of the Seine, on the steps facing Place Baudoyer and the shaded benches of the 421 municipal parks in Paris. Benches, fountains, lawns, and plazas accommodate activities that we qualify as “domestic.” The domestic realm spills out onto the streets of Paris, or rather, the domestic realm is not physically or conceptually limited to the house, but is dispersed throughout the city. Understanding the domestic as something that lives outside the home and belongs to the city allows us to think of space outside the binary categories of “public” and “private.” Understanding the city as “home” allows us to read the city in its diversity of spatial species as a territory that offers many gradients of intimacy.
fig. 2 A total of 92 food markets fill the streets of Paris on a rotating weekly schedule, forming the armature of a mega-network of domesticity.\
fig. 3 Scale comparison of typical American (left) and Parisian (right) refrigerators: instead of using in-home food storage technologies to effectively replace the market in domestic life, Parisians expand their domestic realm to include the market.
fig. 4 The city as dining room: eating on the steps of Place Baudoyer.
fig. 5 The city as kitchen: a typical Parisian street market.
fig. 6 The city as dining room: picnics on the bank of the Seine.
fig. 7 The market-home continuum: networks of food distribution and consumption form a connection across the private-public threshold, in effect extending the domestic realm into the city, and vice versa.
The American home is expected to be a spatial representation of the nuclear family and an extragovernmental realm of complete safety and privacy. New models for domestic environments are shattering the restrictive boundaries of institutionalized gender binaries. Speculative design proposals are reclaiming territory for professional engagement by generating less restrictive prototypes and empowering the design of the household with socially transformative potential.
Destination Gestation Rennie Jones and Abby Stone
fig. 1 (facing) Architecture of Fertility: Destination Gestationenvisions a hypothetical district that emerges around assisted
Destination Gestationwas produced by Rennie Jones and Abby Stone for the “Transurban States of America” studio taught by Professor Andres Jaque at the Princeton University School of Architecture in Spring 2015.
reproductive technologies and the international surrogacy market.
1 Juliet Kinchin, and Aidan O’Connor. Counter Space:Design And The Modern Kitchen.The Museum of Modern Art, 2011. 2 P. Morton Shand. “Henry van de Velde. Extracts from his Memoirs: 18911901.” The Architectural Review 112:669 (1952): 143155. This observation should be credited to Spyros Papapetros of Princeton University. 3 R. Buckminster Fuller and Jaime Snyder. Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, 1969.
Human reproduction has long played an important role in shaping the design of the built environment, particularly through the figure of the idealized single-family home. Housing has been designed to sustain particular configurations of human relationships, augment human potential, and even to fundamentally alter the human psyche. Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky designed the Frankfurt Kitchen in direct relation to the human body, selecting and arranging elements to maximize efficiency relative to food production and materialize a particular understanding of familial reproduction and operation.1 Henry van de Velde contended that domestic architecture should be designed to cultivate a child’s visual sensibility even while the fetus remained in the womb.2 Buckminster Fuller proposed the Dymaxion House as a streamlined machine for sustainable living, intentionally calibrated to suit the human body as it functioned within the re-imagined family unit.3 At the level of regional infrastructure, the mass production of detached suburban housing in the United States in the mid-twentieth century was evidence of the popular appeal of the image of the iconic nuclear family, and it continues to influence the way humans interact in contemporary society. As the nature of procreation transforms today through widespread fertility treatments, egg and sperm donation, in-vitro fertilization, and surrogacy, so too are urban and suburban conditions evolving. As women
fig. 2 OBGYN health center (2) incorporates an operating theater where surrogates can receive medical attention and learn medical skills during their extended stay. The Milk Bar (3) provides a social environment for nursing and a marketplace and tasting bar for pumped breast milk.
are increasingly delaying pregnancy and as growing numbers of non-heterosexual people seek to have children, demand for assisted reproduction has increased dramatically.4 The emergence of an international surrogacy market has begun to alter urban configurations and produce new architectural typologies, challenging the established notion of the family and the dwelling unit. Due to the high cost of surrogacy in the United States, American Intended Parents (IPs) have begun to look to developing nations for cheaper options.5 In Cancun, Mexico, a set of interrelated housing and medical building typologies specific to the human procreation market have begun to grow around the transportation infrastructure that makes them possible. Architectural devices have developed alongside medical and shipping technologies to form a system capable of designing, sustaining, and transporting the idealized human. The international surrogacy industry shapes environments at multiple scales in order to modulate the human that this system produces. Specialized clinics and surrogate dormitories are designed as mechanisms to regulate the interior microenvironment in which the highly selected genetic material is to develop; that is, the body of the surrogate woman, constructed as an idealized, temporary machine for living in. Residents of the United States can browse the internet to select genetic material on sites that resemble online dating profiles, and often pay more for egg donors with Ivy League degrees or particular skin types.6 Due to advances in cryogenic storage and shipping, this genetic material might be selected in California from a donor in Russia and shipped to Mexico, for instance, where a surrogate would carry the desired baby to term. This process selectively privileges access to information, allowing those with purchasing power to choose and monitor genetic donors and surrogates through an international agency without revealing their identities to the other members of this technologically extended family. Often, the surrogacy agencies that connect Mexican surrogates in Cancun to intended
fig. 3 The Spawning Spa (4) caters to pregnant surrogates and visiting Intended Parents (IPs). The magic happens in the laboratory (5), where genetic material produced on site or cryogenically shipped and stored is fertilized (In Vitro) under technical supervision. The Masturbatorium (6) offers sperm donors a range of stimulating environments to foster the transfer of genetic material. Themed sets include a movie theater, a hot tub, and a New York City subway car.
4 Boggs, Will. “Assisted Reproduction Rates Increasing Worldwide.” R euters. 4 June 2009.
5 Grether, Nicole. “Going Global For A Family: Why International Surrogacy Is Booming.” Aljazeera America.12 May 2014.
6 Jones, Ashby. “Putting a Price on a Human Egg.”Wall Street Journal. 26 July 2015.
5 Nicole Grether. “Going Global For A Family: Why International Surrogacy Is Booming.” Aljazeera America. 12 May 2014.
7 Paula Gerber, and Katie O’Byrne, eds. Surrogacy, Law and Human Rights. Farnham, Surrey, England and Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate, 2015.
parents in the United States offer all-inclusive resort and fertility packages to the IPs, pairing in vitro with a day at the beach, thereby extending the IPs a measure of control over their own health and wellness. The dislocation of reproduction afforded by this system of surrogacy beyond borders stretches the notion of family across international boundaries and biological relations, challenging the traditional notion of parenthood and the figure of the single-family home. This new family is housed in a complex, interrelated system of architectural typologies, urban infrastructures, genetic storage facilities, and bodies, decentralizing the family unit at a global scale. As genetic material can be cryogenically frozen to be stored indefinitely, and potentially donated to other IPs, these systems also dislocate the family across time, challenging conventional notions of nearness implied by ‘nuclear.’ Destination Gestation imagines a tongue-in-cheek, hypothetical future for international surrogacy spawning from an existing surrogacy resort in Cancun, Mexico. The drawing depicts an accelerated version of the complex networks necessary to sustain this machine for family production, pressurizing some of the inherent tensions to reveal potential absurdities. The Destination Gestation resort houses an immense loading dock for cryogenic shipping and a multi-level library for cryogenic storage of genetic material, which could potentially house millions of future familial components in genetic data (figure 7). A masturbatorium with street-front shop windows and themed rooms reveals the centrality of the genetic material market and incorporates this market into the resort typology (figure 3). Other elements seek to extend the potential for human modulation beyond the body. Resident surrogates might study medicine or nursing while waiting for their own check-up at the clinic (figure 2), or spend their nine months of intensive ‘rest’ in surrogacy homes creating products for sale in the town market. Fertility-related businesses pop u p in the district, such as a “Milk Bar” in which babies can sample a range of breast milk options and surrogates may chose to work as paid wet nurses after they give birth (figure 2). The suburban typology that surrounds the resort complex suggests that surrogates may stay near the site, perhaps welcoming back the children they gave birth to, or using the money earned during the gestation period to modify the home to function as a small business. The surrogacy industry remains a highly controversial topic, overlapping with many of the ethical and legal debates surrounding outsourcing, wage inequality, and medical tourism. The issue sometimes draws a fine line between empowerment and exploitation.7 As the international surrogacy market continues to grow, the first step toward imagining a situation in which each member of this extended nuclear family benefits mutually and at an equal scale may be merely to compress the disparate networks that support the system into one frame, thereby making this new international domestic sprawl as visible as its suburban counterpart of the twentieth century.
fig. 4 OBGYN health center (1) incorporates an operating theater where surrogates can receive medical attention and learn medical skills during their extended stay. The Milk Bar (3) provides a social environment for nursing and a marketplace and tasting bar for pumped breast milk.
fig. 5 The Spawning Spa (3) caters to pregnant surrogates and visiting Intended Parents (IPs). The magic happens in the laboratory (4), where genetic material produced on site or cryogenically shipped and stored is fertilized (In Vitro) under technical supervision. The Masturbatorium (5) offers sperm donors a range of stimulating environments to foster the transfer of genetic material. Themed sets include a movie theater, a hot tub, and a New York City subway car.
Domestic Bodies, Trans Embodiments: Reframing Binary-Gendered Spaces A.L. Hu
1 Sorcha Fogarty, “Binary Oppositions,” The Literary Encyclopedia, published February 15, 2005, accessed January 27, 2016, http://www.litencyc.com/php/ stopics.php?rec=true&UID=122, accessed 27 January 2016.
2 Judith Butler, Undoing Gender (New York: Routledge, 2004), 41-42.
“Domestic” has become a term to broadly describe all things pertaining to the home. Noted linguist and catalyst of structuralist theory Ferdinand de Saussure argues that the meaning of words emerges from their relationship to other words, often forming binary oppositions where meaning is predicated on difference.1 When domesticity refers to the physical and conceptual realm of the home, its opposite is “public.” In a global context the opposite of domestic is “foreign.” This double-layered meaning posits domesticity as a descriptor of something much more abstract and intangible, a feeling of home on multiple scales. The construction of domesticity perpetuates a more insidious binary. The gender binary is an entrenched, dominantly western social and cultural system that designates man and woman as the only two real gender categories. Gender operates within a set of prescribed social practices that set the standard for perceived normalcy. The gender binary is an exclusive framework through which to evaluate and regulate humans, producing a criterion by which gender is a prerequisite to humanness.2 The prescribed social practices of domesticity reinforce and reproduce this binary system. The danger in such an exclusive pattern is the often violent erasure of genders that fall outside of the binary. Thus, despite its universality, domesticity is neither neutral nor inclusive. In architectural discourse, is the domestic enough to describe the physical space of the home? Which subjects are written into the dominant domestic narrative, and which identities are excluded? How do we break out of binary oppositions in both language and gender to reframe and reimagine new possibilities for domesticity? I argue that
reframing the domestic as archive and shelter rather than home provides the foundations for spaces that are inclusive of all genders, and breaks the binaries embodied within domesticity by revealing its limits. First, I will trace the methods through which culture, architecture, and policies historically produce and reproduce the gender binary in the United States. Second, I will reframe domesticity through analysis of the internet as a visible archive, incubator of identity, and platform for change. Rereading domesticity as shelter through the lens of virtual space will begin to rupture the boundaries of the gender binary. Domestic domesticity In the history of the United States, domesticity is romanticized to the point of myth. After World War II, the economic and geographic landscape of the U.S. gave rise to the domestic ideal, a home-centric manifestation of the American Dream: self-determination, property ownership, and patriotism. During the war, women filled non-traditional positions in all phases of the war effort.3 Women were then dismissed from or demoted within the workforce to accommodate returning servicemen, and a national effort attempted to re-domesticate women into the traditional role of the housewife. Women’s previous roles—the homemaker/ domestic-engineer, the wage-earning Rosie the Riveter—were abandoned in favor of the soft, romantic, and paradoxically hard-working housewife. Women were still caregivers but now faced the added expectation of romantic readiness (by being prettily dressed and ready to greet her husband at the end of the day) while also conveying an impression of ease. Women were urged to be productive in their “free” time at home by participating in activities presented as recreation, not meaningful work: canning food, making curtains, embroidery, or creating recipes, to name a few.4 In “A Servantless House,” by William C. Heck for The Ladies Home Journal in 1922, the “norms” of domesticity are designed into the walls of the home (See Fig. 1). Drawing from tenets of Taylorism, an industrial method of arranging factory layouts for maximum efficiency and productivity,5 the plans for the house are a showcase of optimized, ideal domesticity—a place for binary gender roles to thrive. Adjacencies are designed into the room where the gendered division of labor is most apparent: in the kitchen. Electric appliances and storage cabinets are arranged in close proximity. Not only are the tools for labor within the kitchen close to one another, the room itself has five doors, connecting the threshold of the kitchen with the breakfast room, pantry, back entry, dining room, and stair (separate from the grand stair that leads up to the second floor chambers and down to the basement). Here, the laboring woman is simultaneously separated and connected from the rest of the house. Her work is confined to a service core that seems to prioritize efficiency but ultimately emphasizes isolation and conformity. While the husband and family lives in the spacious and aptly named living room and living room porch, the wife is allocated a relatively cramped space to perform domestic work. Designed as such, these in the inter-war period set a blueprint for the relationship between gender and the domestic realm. After World War II, the return of tens of millions of veterans caused a housing shortage. The government’s attempts to alleviate the crisis
3 Gwendolyn Wright, Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1983), 242.
4 Ibid., 92-3.
5 Susan Strasser, Never Done: A History of American Housework (New York: Pantheon, 1982), 213.
fig. 1 â€œA Servantless Houseâ€? by William C. Heck for the Ladies Home Journal in 1922.
6 Ibid, 243-4. 7 Barbara M. Kelly, Expanding the American Dream: Building and Rebuilding Levittown (New York: State University of New York Press, 1993), 164. 8 Wright, Building the Dream, 248 9 Ibid., 247. 10 Mark Wigley, White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (Cambridge, MA: MIT
produced an ideal model of suburban domesticity. The 1944 G.I. Bill of Rights charged the Veterans Administration with the creation a mortgage guarantee program, but there were not enough houses being built for the program to be effective. It was not until the Housing Act of 1949 that construction of homes began to pick up.6 A direct result of the Act was the proliferation of large-scale suburban housing projects intended for lower-income veterans and their families, a uniquely American phenomenon.7 The Act provided developers with incentives for building suburban housing, as suburbs represented the domestic family ideal.8 The FHA set out guidelines for designs of homes and suburban communities, cultivating homogeneity both in design and demographics in an attempt to prevent racial violence and declining property values.9 The American government promoted an economy in which the political identity of a new, landowning middle class was tied to the aesthetics and values of their suburban homes. Heterosexual marriage is made spatial10 in the design of the Servantless House and suburban housing; such a home makes space for the binary gender roles institutionalized by
Press, 1995), 336-7.
marriage between man and woman. The domestic becomes an identity represented by the single family home. Archives Build Shelter In “Breaking Ground on a Theory of Transgender Architecture,” Lucas Cassidy Crawford questions the assumption that our bodies are static “homes” in the phrase “feeling at home in one’s skin” as a conception of trans-embodiment. He argues for the use of “archive” to describe the way in which gendered norms are inscribed in thousands of years of architectural memory. Reframing the relationship between built environment, memory, and norms means the “body-as-home” becomes “bodyas-archive,” destabilizing notions of permanency and binary stability.11 Domestic architecture reconceived as archive provides opportunities to rethink its boundaries, potentials, and relationship to historical narratives. To understand the potentials of archive, let’s take a closer look at the internet as a visible and literal archive. Though the internet is a purely virtual medium by definition, its function as an archive produces spaces for resistance that affect how information is perceived and acted upon in the physical world. In 2012, The New School initiated an online discourse after designating five restrooms at their East 16th Street building as gender inclusive. An informational article in The New School Free Press documented the logistics of the new facilities.12 The article sent the message that change was on the way and that the future was bright for gender inclusive restrooms. Two years later, well after the program’s introduction, an article titled “Battle of the Bathrooms” was published.13 Implementation had not gone as planned: the actual number of gender inclusive restrooms on campus does not match the original announcement. In interviews with students, we learn that only the signs on the doors have changed—the interiors remain the same.14 Here, the internet as archive is not merely a passive display of information, but a continuous documentation of change over time. The traditional relationships between information/archive, student/ administration, and gender/restroom are disrupted through the events that occurred, the archiving of those events, and the responses sparked by the visibility and accessibility of the archive itself. The series of articles function as a platform for an issue that is considered private and domestic—the restroom—despite its ubiquity in the public realm. Even Humans of New York (HONY), a popular street photography project run by Brandon Stanton, got involved in the archiving of this architectural memory. In 2013, Stanton posted a photo of the new sign (see Fig. 2) with a caption that details his “awkward” experience in the gender inclusive restroom.15 Backlash against Stanton’s intolerance spawned a passionate opinion piece at The New School Free Press as well as blog posts on Tumblr. Most commenters on the original post disagreed with Stanton, and the original post has since been deleted.16 This exposes one of the flaws of the internet as an archive: documentation is at risk of being deleted if reactions are overwhelmingly negative. Fortunately, images and text survive through commentary. On the popular microblogging service Tumblr, responses to HONY’s post enabled active insertions into the ongoing debate through “reblogging”: the act of reposting the original content augmented with new feedback.17 This form of engaging
11 Lucas Cassidy Crawford, “Breaking Ground on a Theory of Transgender Architecture,” Seattle Journal for Social Justice, Vol. 8, Issue 2, Article 5 (May 2010).
12 Danielle MacZynski, “Gender Inclusive Bathrooms Arrive at The New School,” published March 30, 2012, accessed January 20, 2016, http://www.newschoolfreepress. com/2012/03/30/gender-inclusivebathrooms-arrive-at-the-newschool/. 13 Shea Carmen Swan, “Battle of the Bathrooms,” March 18, 2014, accessed January 20, 2016, http://www.newschoolfreepress. com/2014/03/18/battle-of-thebathrooms/. 14 Ibid. 15 Shea Carmen Swan, “I Pee, You Pee, We All Pee in Gender-Inclusive Bathrooms,” published February 14, 2013, accessed January 20, 2016, http://www.newschoolfreepress. com/2013/02/14/3394/. 16 Ibid. 17 For one instance of reblogging on Tumblr on this topic, see Kat Blaq, “HONY Thinks Gender Neutral Bathrooms Are Scary,” published April 14, 2014, accessed January 20, 2016, http://katblaque.tumblr. com/post/82370235131/honythinks-gender-neutral-bathroomsare-scary.
18 Facebook Diversity, Facebook post, February 13, 2014, accessed December 15, 2015, https://www. facebook.com/facebookdiversity/ photos/a.196865713743272.42938. 105225179573993/56758797333 7709/ 19 Aimee Lee Ball, “In All-Gender Restrooms, the Signs Reflect the Times,” The New York Times, published November 5, 2015, accessed January 20, 2016, http:// www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/style/
the archive ensures that original text and images live on even if they are no longer available in their original form. Participatory engagement with the archive becomes an enactment of accountability. The function of the virtual archive is to act as a shelter for information as well as the expression of genders that do not fall within the gender binary. The people who write responses and the people interviewed for the articles are users of gender inclusive restrooms—that is, they possess genders that fall outside of the binary. That they can safely express themselves in the space of the archive means it is also a site of shelter. The sheer volume of online identities across a nearly infinite number of platforms makes identity policing an impossible task. In contrast to physical spaces of appearance, where genders are contingent upon being read as visible and real by others, on the internet genders can be hybridized, customized, personalized, and ultimately expressed at a much lower risk of physical or psychological harm. For instance, in February 2014, the popular social media platform Facebook expanded the list of genders with which people identify from two to fifty-eight, including an option to write-in one’s own gender.18 This gender explosion changed the norms of gender, a virtual dissolving of the boundaries of the binary. As one of the primary arbiters of social media, representation of transgender identities on Facebook created a shelter for marginalized identities. The additive formation of an archive necessitates change and evolution. Even The New York Times added to the archive of the gender neutral restroom debate last year, expanding their range of anecdotes from high schools to city governments.19 As the archive grows, it gains strength and protection in its volume of knowledge, thus becoming a shelter for what it contains. To reframe domesticity and all that it refers to in architectural discourse as archive is to create a body of knowledge that can be changed and allowed to evolve. It is in this flexible nature of the archive that it gains its sheltering characteristics.
Conclusion The dominant domestic narrative is designed into the spaces in which we live, reinforcing the norms of the gender binary and excluding genders outside of the binary in the process. It is a term that has resisted evolution despite its obsolete context. Whereas people have come to define “home” for themselves, domesticity refers to an outdated mode of thinking about architectural meaning and memory. Reframing domestic as archive and shelter opens up possibilities for expanding this exclusive architectural discourse. As notions of gender hierarchy and power come into play, the social concept of domesticity comes to encompass so much more than merely the spatial aspects of home. “Archival shelter” shifts the power of domesticity from a static binary toward plurality. Such an archival shelter has already begun to form in virtual spaces, as evidenced by the myriad expressions and debates occurring simultaneously on the internet. Though architecture has yet to break free from the traditions of domesticity, new critical frameworks can prove useful in rethinking domesticity toward more inclusive discourses and designs.
Good Intentions Maria Letizia Garzoli and David Himelman
fig. 1 (facing) Axonometric of Casa a Stella by Mario Ridolfi, 1950-54. 1 “Act to Increase Working-Class Employment, through the Construction of Housing for Workers”
At the end of World War II, the newly born Republic of Italy was beset by widespread unemployment and housing shortages in its urban centers. In 1949 parliament passed into law the Provvedimenti per incrementare l’occupazione operaia, agevolando la costruzione di case per i lavoratori.1 This law, with support from the Marshall Plan, initiated a vast social housing program known as INA-Casa. Under the stewardship of the state insurance agency (Instituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni or INA), which funded the program primarily through nationally-levied taxes, the INA-Casa program delivered over 20,000 housing units in fourteen years by constructing new residential neighborhoods on the peripheries of city centers. INA-Casa was more than a social housing program. It was conceived as an institutionalized solidarity project, with the built environment seen as key to forging a new, democratic national identity after the moral and economic defeats of the war. As the country rapidly industrialized, the construction of large housing projects primarily for and by the rural migrant population was an opportunity to redefine what it meant to be Italian. Central to this new vision were allusions not to Italy’s classical past, upon which the Fascist regime had relied, but to its “innocent” agricultural traditions that could speak to the projects’ intended residents. Ironically these were the very traditions that inhabitants were leaving behind when they relocated to the INA-Casa developments. INA-Casa architects took great interest in “the problem of the house,” and imbued it with a socially transformative potential. Riding the wave of neorealist intellectual sentiment, these designers took the
lack of housing as the foundation for new theories of dwelling and social inequality. Perhaps the best-know of these works is Ernesto Nathan Rogers “Programma: Domus, la casa dell’uomo,” in which man’s identity is equated with the condition of his house: “On every side the house of man is cracked. [...] On every side the voices of the wind enter, and the laments of women and children go out. [...] A house is no house if it is not warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and serene in every season to receive the family in harmonious spaces. A house is not a house if does not contain a corner for reading poetry, an alcove, a bathtub, a kitchen. This is the house of man. And a man is no man if he does not possess such a house.”2
Roger’s text goes on to recast this sentiment into an impulse for professional engagement. The scope of architecture’s agency is enlarged; creating the house means nothing less than creating a new society. Many of the preeminent architects of the day, including Franco Albini, Ignazio Gardella, Ludovico Quaroni and Mario Ridolfi, heeded this call to action. Sympathetic to INA-Casa’s dual focus on social calamity and identity, these architects saw opportunities to realize their goals and simultaneously assuage their guilt about their past Fascist collaboration.3 Although the program lacked a central architecture office and instead outsourced individual projects to the 17,000 independent architects in its registry, it is possible to characterize the program by two methodologies.4 One was to enforce standards directed at “normalizing” design and construction. These standards were promulgated by various organizations and researchers, most notably through the publication of manuals, such as Il Manuale dell’architetto (The Manual of the Architect) (1946) and Il Problema sociale, costruttivo ed economico dell’abitazione (1948) (The Social, Construction, and Economic Problem of the House), which
fig. 2 View of a Casa a Stella with a second project by Ridolfi in the foreground
2 E.N. Rogers, “Programma: Domus, la casa dell’uomo,” Domus 205 (January 1946): 2-3. All translations from the original Italian by the authors.
3 For instance, see the Quartiere Triennale 8 (1946-49) in Milan coordinated by Piero Bottoni, where mass production was the selected mean to provide adequate housing. 4 The program’s general architectural/ urbanistic plan was overseen by Arnaldo Foschini, himself involved in many significant pre-war Fascist projects.
would detail everything from minimum room dimensions and daylighting standards, to acceptable hygiene practices. The second methodology was to transform a tradition of vernacular, typically agrarian building into an architectural language. This was meant to communicate “innocent”, supposedly authentic, values that could “speak” to, or resonate with, the displaced classes that the buildings would house. The picturesque aesthetic was to provide a symbolic contrast to the classicism favored by the Fascist regime. However, it also required careful calibration to assert its innovative character and not be conflated with similar pre-war nationalist ideologies. These intended ethic would be supported through the use of traditional construction technologies that simultaneously allowed for speedy construction and the employment of unskilled laborers. Architecture was thus figured in wildly, yet necessarily contradictory ways: as a piece of “normalizing” national infrastructure and as a communicative tool. Working on these functionalist and symbolic levels, the program sought to use architecture, and specifically domestic space, as a tool for solving material, social, political, and moral problems, to renew Italian society. The case of the Quartiere Tiburtino, and in particular Mario Ridolfi’s Casa a Stella demonstrate the difficulties of achieving this goal.
5 Other architects were Mario Fiorentino, Federico Gorio, Per Maria Lugli, Michele Valori, Carlo Melograni, Guido Rinaldi, Carlo Aymonino, Carlo Chiarini, Sergio Lenci, Maurizio Lanza, and Gian Carlo Menichetti.
6 The three other towers are much more cubic in proportion. They were designed by Lugli on the northeast corner of the site.
7 Strangely, Ridolfi chose to uniformly orient the towers on the site, as if they were locked into their own coordinate system, thereby tempering the dynamism of the plan and its extruded profile, while also creating an eerie monotony on the
Casa a Stella The quartiere of Tiburtino was built between 1950 and 1954 on the northeast periphery of Rome, by a team of architects led by Ludovico Quaroni and Mario Ridolfi.5 The neighborhood consists of a few basic public services and multifamily housing; all housing complexes have a communal cortile and smaller private gardens for ground floor units. The general composition is a series of two to five-storey buildings formed by the staggered, linear aggregation of similar elements, effecting a diminution in scale. All building facades incorporate vernacular details, such as pitched tile roofs, brickwork, and stucco painted in warm colors. The irregular, curving street pattern adds to the vernacular atmosphere, recalling the sight-lines and pedestrian circulation in a traditional Italian village. Low-rise Tiburtino is punctuated by a series of towers, including the four towers of Ridolfi’s Casa a Stella.6 Casa a Stella is conceived in the round as a series of points, denying any frontality. The seven-story towers are extrusions of a central plan, composed of three equal-sized square units rotated about a centroid. It is thus a building that is at once many and one. On each floor, three square units correspond to two equivalent three-bedroom apartments and one smaller two-bedroom apartment that makes room for the public stair, while the centroid houses the building’s elevator and shared stair landing. In contrast to Tiburtino’s low-rise buildings whose scale and massing present a recognizable image of domesticity, Ridolfi’s stellate plan and the resulting profile of its extrusion are powerfully abstract. They are as much urban objects as housing.7 The plans of the apartments themselves contribute to this duality between the Casa a Stella’s urban, collective role and its domestic, private function. The bedrooms and bathroom are arranged along a corridor and occupy the one side of the apartment that is free of complications resulting from the intersection with the two other units, allowing for the use of
neighborhood’s northeast corner.
standard furniture, including beds and closets. The more public areas (the foyer, kitchen and living room) fill in the gaps between the façades and the stair landing buried in the tower’s geometric core, and must negotiate the rotational plan’s complex set of angles. The multiplication of facade surface area effected by this rotation has minimal impact on the planning of the apartments, although there is the potential for cross-ventilation. This plan is repeated on every floor, with only slight modifications on the ground and attic levels. It is a perfunctory solution that meets all requirements, such as minimum floor areas and opening sizes, as described and illustrated in the Manuale dell’architetto that Ridolfi helped to author. While the design addresses domestic space with a functionalist aesthetic, the tower’s facade follows a semantic one aimed at the collective, urban realm. Like the smaller-scale buildings at Tiburtino, the tower’s facade incorporates vernacular elements: brick facades covered in painted stucco, punched window openings with wood shutters, wrought iron balcony railings and zinc gutters. Although these vernacular elements are intended to communicate with the tower’s inhabitants and project a picturesque image of wholesome domesticity, they appear as collaged elements purged of any original significance through the act of architectural translation. Their distortion by the tower’s scale and their repetition over multiple levels effectively renders them mute signs that, at best, amplify the plan’s rotation through their repetition at corresponding elevations. While the vernacular elements on the facade appear as foreign collaged elements, the pitched clay tile roof (derived from traditional cascine (farmsteads)) seems more integral to the building, although it is equally unsuccessful as a communicative tool. Composed of both dormers and stepped pitches arranged perpendicular to each unit’s broadest face, and intersecting along a star-shaped ridge, the roof, through the junction of angled planes, is the stellate plan’s sectional counterpart as well as a necessarily energetic termination of the extrusion. In fact, the roof makes
fig. 3 Roof detail of a Casa a Stella
the project. More than a mere picturesque hat, the roof works because it amplifies the planimetric rotation and the verticality of its resulting extrusion. It is ultimately central to the Casa a Stella’s achievement. Centrifugal Forces Judged quantitatively, INA-Casa was a resounding success. Never before had so many units been so carefully and rapidly constructed. While the success of the program’s functional objectives is easily verifiable, it is harder to judge its efficacy as an agent of social transformation. Perhaps this has to do with the program’s ambitions to solve all of society’s problems (housing, identity, politics, employment, morale), or perhaps it because of its over-reliance on architecture to realize these grand goals. Rather than unifying, the program’s dual focus created a schism—a tension between serving collective identity and individual needs. The strategy of using vernacular detail (to appeal to rural migrants and establish a collective realm) is abandoned at the apartment door. Instead, the codification of dwelling standards and the repetition of identical units worked to normalize the family into a modern, nuclear unit divorced from the traditions of rural life. INA-Casa inhabitants are collectively seen as an agrarian peasant class embodying innocent values for a new democratic identity, and individually conceived as anonymous members of the working class. This is deeply contradictory; the program bases its “new Italian identity” on an older identity that would be eradicated by the formation of an efficient industrial working class. This projected “split personality of the inhabitants” perhaps plants the real seeds of modernity at Tiburtino. This contradiction originates in an equally schizophrenic architecture: functionalist apartments masked by a pseudo-vernacular streetfront facade. Here the concept of communication reveals a deeper contradiction in the transformation of a lived tradition of vernacular building into an inevitably mute language. These very discontinuities observed in the Casa a Stella, between interior and exterior, abstraction and representation, present and past, demonstrate a deep ambivalence towards the program’s broader goals, and the possibility of architecture effecting them. Shortly after the project’s completion, Ludovico Quaroni meditated on his experiences with INA-Casa, and his work at Tiburtino; likening the architects’ motivations to the characteristics of smoke:
8 Quaroni, Ludovico, “Il paese dei Barocchi,” Casabella-Continuità 215 (April/May 1957): xii. Quaroni’s “Paese di barocchi” recalls Carlo Collodi’s “Paese di balocchi” from his classic Le avventure di Pinocchio.
“The “Land of Baroque Elements” is not the result of a solidified culture, of a living tradition; it is the result of a mood. This mood sustained us in those days: when every one of us was only interested in doing something that would distance us from a past we blame for sterility and human failure. It doesn’t matter how much our attitude would later cost to us, to INA, and to future inhabitants of new neighborhoods …” 8
Quaroni identifies the architects’ work as a set of historical objections: countering the lies of the Fascist regime with the “authenticity” of rural cultures, and combatting professional disengagement with a fervent call to reconstruct society. Thus the reconstruction was founded on negation and rejection of existing conditions, rather than as positive, innovative actions. At Tiburtino, these negations confronted Ridolfi’s unshakable formal instinct, reiterating a system of limitations counter to the postwar republican dream.
My House... Em Cheng
fig. 1 (facing) “My house... will have Velcro ceiling so I never have to fold and put away clothes ever again... and I want to sleep on lots and lots of pillows.” – the author, age 8
In 1988, a third-grade assignment asked my classmates and me to write about our ideal place to live and what we considered to be our “dream house.” Of the ensuing ideas, some were wacky (Velcro ceilings to catch flung clothes), while some have since been incorporated into innovative tech campuses (slides instead of stairs). Some have even become modern household realities (speakers in every room instead of having to lug around a boombox). Perhaps the imagination of young children is limited only by the ability to communicate their ideas visually, and the absence of a forum to discuss these ideas outside of the grade-school classroom. Including the input of children in the typically patriarchal discussion of domesticity can serve as a valuable design tool, shedding light on unexpected concepts normally kept in the shadows. Children spend much of their time in domestic space and, unlike adults, are not free to come and go as they please. For children, the house is not just a home—it’s their world. My House... asks a cross-section of children to describe their “dream house,” so that their ideas can be visually rendered with the seriousness and earnestness afforded to any adult-conceived design proposal. The resultant images, combined with the verbal descriptions that inspired them, aim to expand how we typically view the house by enabling marginalized voices to contribute their thoughts on domesticity.
fig. 2 “Pink plastic, with lollipops all over it... trampoline floor... rock climbing walls... ...and raining candy. Who would live next door? A giant gummy bear.” – brothers Cooper, age 7, and Anderson, age 9
fig. 3 “The house would be a big tall rectangle. The walls would be like a jungle, because I want my house to be beautiful and interesting. SPARKLES. I love sparkles. Sparkly windows.” – Verabella, age 5
fig. 4 “ACTIVITIES! ...A ball pit... monkey bars... swimming pool, hot tub... a room for clothing, it would be like a maze... A real library... you could say the book you wanted in the speaker ...and it would just have an arm, and it could pull out the book. Like a robotic arm... I would have a puppy room. People could adopt them. Or borrow them. Like a library book. ” – Violet, age 7
fig. 5 “A red and white house with windows and carrots on the roof... Lots of bricks... WIndows made of sticks and they would be triangles, very yellow.” – Roisin, age 4
fig. 6 “The house looks like a terrarium... the walls look like footballs, the shape of footballs... The rooms look like Spiderman... There are fifteen rooms just in case someone wants to sleep. The funnest part is the TOYS!” – Charlie, age 4
Domestic Ecology: The Anglo-Indian Bungalow Olivia Houck
fig. 1 Scott’s Bungalow, Srirangapatna
Domestic spaces allow for more nuanced readings of colonial interactions in British-occupied India, since it is in the home that British and Indian actors interacted on a daily basis. By focusing on the domestic sphere, we are able to see that power relations during the British colonial period were not simply top-down forms of oppression, but also included complex personal relationships operating beyond the public sphere. I use the adaptation and evolution of both the form and conception of the Anglo-Indian bungalow as an entry point for analysis of the power dynamics between British and Indian colonial entities in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries. Methodologically, I propose to use the case study of the bungalow to question and potentially update the static categorical device of ‘type’ or ‘typology,’ suggesting that we reconceptualize the bungalow and other established building patterns as dynamic ‘ecological systems.’ I conceive of an ecological system as a bounded set of relational entities which precludes the presence of binaries, allows the interaction of processes internal and external to the system, and accounts for dynamic relationships between elements. Framing the bungalow as such allows us to unpack its interconnected systems at various scales, from the dwelling up to the global imperial enterprise, and to acknowledge the presence of these systems in a range of geographical and temporal locations. This characterization also allows us to map its interrelated components regardless of their identity or materiality, a framework which has been employed in other architectural analyses by feminist and post-structuralist scholars. However, by denoting its existence as an ecological system, this thesis foregrounds the idea that not only can the bungalow be broken
down into discrete components which interact with each other, but it also permits the temporal and locational continuity of such a connected reactive system. Essentially, this is a way of making lateral the components in a system, whether they be humans or woodwork, and highlighting their relationships. This systems-based approach in historical research enables us to organize our understanding and treatment of entities as products of discernible pressures and forces, both within and outside of the system. It provides a paradigm through which to elevate and activate entities which have been seen as passive objects or actors, such as women and children. I ground the term ecology in the urban political ecological strategies described by Erik Swyngedouw and Nikolas Heynen, and the ecological character of vital materialism laid out by Jane Bennett. This project employs their general understandings of an ecological system as a series of nested interconnections between all entities within an open system, and applies this concept to the scale of the dwelling. Each entity which resides within the sphere of the bungalow— English children, an Indian groundsman, or a porcelain teacup—is simultaneously affected and affecting the other entities. Therefore, each entity is an active component that does not leave an encounter within a bungalow unchanged. Within this framework, entities operate in other systems, at larger or smaller scales than that of the bungalow: the global transport of East India Company goods, for example, or the nexus of a particular English family. The bungalow itself functions within a series of larger ecological systems: that of the neighborhood, the city, the nation, and the colonial enterprise. Through the acknowledgment of simultaneity within this analytic framework, each individual bungalow system is able to retain its particular characteristics while remaining connected to the larger community. This also allows for the synchronous presence of natural, technological, and cultural processes within the discrete system, an affirmation of complexity which the field of architectural history has yet to fully embrace. The discipline is changing rapidly, especially within investigations of vernacular architecture, but natural, economic, and cultural forces still tend to be analyzed separately. The surprisingly limited scholarship available on the bungalow itself deals primarily with the documentation of various geographical iterations, their construction details, and its role in commercial advertisements.1 Approaching this building form as an interactive system therefore provides a platform to engage with these different elements, creating a more textured picture of the bungalow’s historical and contemporary development. In their article, “Urban Political Ecology, Justice and the Politics of Scale,” Erik Swyngedouw and Nikolas Heynen propose an engagement with the urban environment which foregrounds both the “Marxist urban political ecological” and the “historical geographical materialist” approaches.2 They assert that “power-laden socioecological relations” have shaped “the formation of urban environments” and that these forces “constantly shift between groups of actors and scales.”3 They frame cities as “dense networks of interwoven sociospatial processes that are simultaneously local and global, human and physical, cultural and organic. The myriad transformations and metabolisms that support and maintain
1 Anthony D. King’s social history of the ‘bungalow,’ The Bungalow: The Production of Global Culture (London, Boston, Melbourne & Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984) provides an excellent comprehensive survey of the domestic form in various countries. My argument is an expansion of this study, incorporating the themes he outlines between the various cultural iterations of the bungalow within a framework that roots it both within a global system and retains its individual specificity. 2 Erik Swyngedouw and Nikolas C. Heynen. “Urban Political Ecology, Justice and the Politics of Scale,” Antipode 35:5 (2003): 898. 3 Swyngedouw, “Urban Political,” 899.
4 Swyngedouw, “Urban Political,” 899.
5 Swyngedouw, “Urban Political,” 902.
6 Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter, (Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2010), 97.
urban life… always combine physical and social processes as infinitely connected.” This “intermingling of things material, social, and symbolic” produces a “whole,” the “socioecological footprint of which has become global.”4 In summary, they state that “the scalar geometry of urban political ecology welds together processes operating at a variety of nested and articulated geographical scales.”5 It is this recognition of complex synthetic operations (spanning geographic and temporal levels) that I seek to scale down to the level of the domestic. In Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, political theorist Jane Bennett argues that the active participation of nonhuman forces in society needs to be recognized within her field. One of her main themes is the difference between an ecosystem and a political system. Bennett characterizes the former as “an interconnected series of parts, but it is not a fixed order to parts, for the order is always being reworked in accordance with certain “freedom of choice” exercised by its actants.”6 This acknowledgment of the agency of both human and nonhuman agents to enact change, is foundational to the concept of an ecological system that I am developing to frame and situate the bungalow. The term bungalow originated with indigenous dwellings in pre-colonial Bengal; it has since been adopted and adapted worldwide. This entity is cross-culturally successful because of its simplicity—most bungalows around the world house a single-family, have one storey, and include a front veranda. Perhaps the most important common element across iterations of the bungalow is its classification as a middle class dwelling— a conceptually temporary space between lower and higher class abodes. The continuity of the word’s usage by scholars, as well as the residents and developers of these homes, does not parallel the constantly shifting appearance of the bungalow according to its temporal and geographic setting. These changes in form mirror a host of economic, political, and cultural factors which are specific to each location, and thus result in buildings that share little formal similarity. This dissonance between the changing physical shape and the consistency in its conception suggests that the bungalow is more of an idea, or interconnected set of systems, than a standardized building form or typology. I am focusing on one moment in the trajectory of the bungalow— its development within the British colony in India—as an example of how active entities within this building form qualify it as an ecological system. These entities: single-family occupants, veranda, one storey, are what designate it as a continuous set of relationships, rather than just a house. In this particular context, the bungalow indicates nuanced and often messy interactions between colonial subjects, thus foregrounding it as our unit of analysis. It affords us the opportunity to engage with colonial power dynamics that are less evident in larger-scale projects, such as Edwin Lutyen’s Viceroy’s House. By addressing all actors within this system, we are able to understand Indian subjects as dynamic and active participants in the colonial project, mapping the various ways they manipulated the system and subverted colonial control as a means to maintain agency. This framework of analysis inherently includes the experiences of British and Indian women and children within the colonial power system,
segments of the population who are noticeably absent from canonical discussions of the British Empire. Adaptations to the Anglo-Indian bungalow in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries were a product of intentional and unintentional ideas about the home as a small scale representation and mechanism of empire. Thus, its physical changes can be read more pointedly as spatial manifestations of the anxieties of the British empire. The incremental addition of physical barriers, both inside and outside the bungalow, allowed the British to effectively isolate themselves from the Indian environment, thus highlighting the tensions of interacting with the local population and the worry over a loss of British identity. This active enclosure shows the British attempts to enforce political control by creating new distinctions between public and private space. Early European presence in India was based on trading, and therefore new British building often utilized local methods of construction. As urban sociologist Anthony D. King states in his book, The Bungalow: The Production of Global Culture, the earliest architectural forms utilized by the Europeans were called “factories,” and included a trading settlement which was situated within a fortified’ compound, with land typically granted as a concession from the local leader.7 The East India Company, which predominantly held power on the subcontinent until the mid1850s, built factory settlements which comprised a variety of buildings, including storehouses, barracks, and other living quarters enclosed within a walled compound. Other accounts from this period depict Europeans living in indigenous housing within Indian towns, using local furnishings and adopting some aspects of the local culture.8 During the late seventeenth century, European settlements grew in extent and population, and traders from the forts began to travel more frequently to the interior of the subcontinent. It is in Edmund Foster’s account of one of these trips where King says the first mention of a bungalow (or ‘bunguloues’) appears. He describes it as a dwelling made by a local Indian for European use that is characterized by its quick construction from local materials. This description is bolstered by accounts from of other travellers in the region, with the Frenchman Comte de Modave describing it as a “pavilion of bamboo covered...with thatch or leaves,” and Bishop Herber, in the later nineteenth-century, explaining the structures as “made of frames of bamboo...light and easily carried from place to place.”9 These nascent stages in the bungalow’s development allow us to extract three fundamental components of British dwellings in India: enclosure from the public sphere, a temporary nature, and the use of local materials. These aspects of the dwelling set a precedent for the Anglo-Indian bungalow and outline the mechanisms of its ecological system. After the Sepoy Rebellion, the British Crown subsumed India into its expanding empire and began to centralize its rule, thus changing the political, social, conceptual, and physical landscape of the British presence in the region. Concurrent to rules which implemented stricter and more formalized power, there was a social push against the inevitable cultural hybridizing, with the British finding new ways to assert and
7 King, The Bungalow, 15.
8 King, The Bungalow, 15.
9 King, The Bungalow, 15.
10 King, The Bungalow, 46.
11 Madhavi Desai and Miki Desai, The Bungalow in Twentieth-Century India, (New York: Routledge, 2012), 40.
12 Desai, The Bungalow in TwentiethCentury India, 40.
13 William J. Glover “A Feeling of Absence from Old England: The Colonial Bungalow,” Home Culture 1 (2004): 64.
14 Glover, “A Feeling of Absence,” 70.
15 Glover, “A Feeling of Absence,” 72.
preserve their identity, and to legitimize their authority as rulers through clear visual and spatial distinctions. The residency of British colonists was generally temporary, and this transience precluded the acquisition and ownership of luxury material possessions, typically powerful signifiers of class and status.10 In the mid-nineteenth century, the Public Works Department (PWD) was created in order to institutionalize and standardize the construction of buildings within the empire, and this was a major reason for the prevalence of the bungalow form in British-occupied India.11 As Madhavi Desai explains, in their efforts to standardize what they termed ‘tropical architecture,’ the PWD established a set of standard features for a domestic space, including an enclosed compound, thick mud walls, a partially covered verandah, and a thatched roof.12 This corresponded to a trend of building houses not in urban centers, but on spacious private lots, which provided a grassy barrier between the main house and the chaotic city beyond the compound walls. The use of a portico, a preview to the American garage and values rooted in private ownership and public/private distinction, created another visual and physical threshold. Despite efforts to isolate themselves in their enclaves, the British could never seal themselves off from the presence of Indians, since the locals were both active and passive participants in the creation of the bungalows. While some dwellings were built by the PWD, it was more common for the British dwellings to be built and rented out by British developers.13 This presented a paradox; on one hand the British were institutionally in power, on the other they were also temporary inhabitants and renters (rather than owners), a reminder of the tenuousness of their power. It was Indian laborers who built the structures; even though European technologies were employed, such as iron grilles and glazed windows, the “tangible qualities of a bungalows physical fabric remained rooted in the Indian, not English, architectural traditions.”14 As Colesworthy Grant wrote in a guide to British life in India, “the exterior of the bungalow will, I doubt not, be sufficient to impress you with a feeling of absence from England.”15 The continuous engagement between these physical, cultural, and social elements at multiple scales constitutes the bungalow as an ecological system. In each structure, the various technologies present created a relationship not only between the British occupant and their memories of home, but also connected the individual laborers to the global transfer of building materials. This is just one of many interrelated parts that can be teased out of each entity. During the nineteenth-century, the home was upheld by the British as a container and cultivator of moral taste and character. As William Glover explains, they saw the home as a refuge from the competitive outside world, and as an incubator for children and servants, generally locals, to be trained in British cultural mores and manners: “maintaining proper domestic arrangements in the colony was seen as a bulwark against the feared dissolution of character that might come about through prolonged exposure to the tropics.”16 Home became a site of possible improvement of the “native population” and subsequently a tool for legitimizing colonial rule on an interpersonal level. In colonial
literature, there are frequent discussions about the importance of filling the house with objects that would refine and polish the users, helping to cultivate tastes and sensibilities that reflected the cultural character of their owners.17 This moral quest for social and moral elevation through artifacts suggests that every element of the bungalow, from walls to picture frames, was seen as politically potent, and while these elements may not have had the intended didactic effects, their interactions with the occupants comprised a dynamic system. British women played a multivalent role in colonial society. With the formation of the empire there was a huge influx of women traveling to India to live with their husbands. Swati Chattopadhyay, in her article on colonial domesticity suggests that the large presence of white women in the colonies contributed to a fundamental change in the masculine nature of the Anglo-Indian culture.18 The women were seen not only as physical bastions of traditional British identity, that which was desperately needed to be upheld in the colony, but they were also tasked with maintaining the integrity of the empire from within the domestic sphere. This provides an interesting inversion of the conventional narrative of colonial India. In Victorian England at this time, the role of women was essentially to be decorative objects within the home. They were expected to live passively within the domestic sphere, not to control its operations. The new roles and image of colonial women gave them more social power, and an integral role within the project of empire.19 A second prominent narrative at this time is the idea of the home as both analogy of and foundation for empire. This is frequently evoked through the prose of women’s guidebooks and worked to emphasize the importance of careful household management. A quote from one of the housekeeping guides (1909) sums up this position, “we do not wish to advocate an unholy haughtiness, but an Indian household can no more be governed peacefully, without dignity and prestige, than an Indian empire.”20 Such a viewpoint reveals the foundation for British ideas of colonial legitimacy: they believed themselves racially and culturally superior to Indians, and thus naturally worthy of authority. Therefore, perhaps the most charged of domestic boundaries and relationships existed between Indian servants and British women within the home. Domestic servants, who were predominantly male, came to be seen as representations of all native Indians, thus compounding problems of gender with problems of racism and stereotyping. As Chattopadhyay astutely explains, the dynamics within the domestic sphere depict “representations of power through the bodies of the native servants.”21 It was the mistress’s job to supervise their work, as well as to model, and instill within them, British manners and values. Her duty was to show the merits of honesty and duty by conducting activities in a routine and orderly way. The goal of this was to show the value in labor, thus not only asserting their own role as rulers, in that they set the societal norms, but more importantly, by inculcating and ensuring docility and obedience in the workforce.22 Another component of this schema is the importance of strict household order as protection against dirt and disease in the domestic
16 Glover, “A Feeling of Absence,” 66.
17 Glover, “A Feeling of Absence,” 62.
18 Swati Chattopadhyay, “Goods, Chattels, and Sundry Items:” Constructing the 19th Century Anglo-Indian Domestic Life,” Journal of Material Culture 7 (2002): 257.
19 Chattopadhyay, “Goods, Chattels,” 261.
20 Chattopadhyay, “Goods, Chattels,” 257.
21 Chattopadhyay, “Goods, Chattel,” 268.
22 Chattopadhyay, “Goods, Chattels,” 260.
23 Chattopadhyay, “Goods, Chattels,” 261.
sphere. “Such environmental determinism that equated architectural and spatial order with morality claimed that a transparent visual order generated by British authority was key to generating truthfulness among the native populations.”23 This passage reiterates not only the belief that order within the house would instill morality, but also that values and social mores were determined by environmental factors. The fear over the incursion of grime coincides with concurrent ideas in Britain about health, hygiene, and the home. However, it can also be seen as an analogy for the local populations. The same concern over dirt penetrating the domestic boundaries and spreading pestilence is used, perhaps more subtly, as fear of the local culture infiltrating British constructions of identity. There is general concern among the women’s guidebooks about the role of the ayah, or nanny, and how her presence could corrupt the impressionable children. Despite both the cultural rules and physical verandas that the British constructed around their sacred spaces, it was impossible for them to remain untouched by the presence of Indian people. No matter how fraught the relationship of colonist and colonized, the British needed Indian technology and manpower to survive. It is clear from this study that a comprehensive global survey of bungalows needs to be conducted in order to further prove their function as ecological systems. This essay is intended to suggest that the conceptual framework for studying continuous building forms over time and space is outdated. Looking at bungalows or skyscrapers or ‘city hall’ as manifestations of nested systems provides the conceptual room for more comprehensive studies into the complexity of the past. The use of ‘ecological system’ to designate building projects also complicates various debates within the preservation field, adding new categories of merit to previously overlooked sites or foregrounding new configurations of relationships.
Go Vertical Margaret Rew, Taylor Hewett, and Karilyn Johanesen
fig. 1 A reinvention of the apartment building with the demand of verticality. Gondolas turn a service core into an instrument of wind and light. Hallways are now open air sloping sidewalks to facilitate pedestrian access from the street to the roof. Public programming turns vertical too, popping up around the gondola stops like a vertical subway.
The pancake is dead. The People of the City have too long been subjected to the free plan: FAR, $PSF, the corridor, and, by extension, the vertical instrumentality of the service coreâ€”the tropes of modernism must be questioned, for they are rich with opportunity. We declare war on the open planes of Modernism. We have bodies, we take up space. We do not need floor space; we need volume. We do not need free plans; we need free sections. Rising real estate costs and political barriers to city growth have put vertical pressure on the City. We can no longer tolerate a sub-urban attitude towards space in our metropolis. The spatial strategy of the suburban ranch house is a shoebox apartment in the gleaming high rise. We suggest instead a aerial equivalent to the townhouse - a typology that has long defined the healthy Urban center. Such a typology embeds residential units in a fabric of public circulation and program. We propose a new spatial paradigm: A city designed for volume. Along with this new paradigm come attitudes of inclusion and hybridity. We recognize the layered nature of identity in the global city, in which we are all both citizens and strangers. This age-old attribute of the cosmopolitan center has been redefined in the contemporary global city by the unyielding forces of capitalism. The real estate and tourism industries vie for territory at the expense of the public. The resultant architecture reinforces the opposition between these two identities and has yet to address growing trends that contradict distinctions between resident and tourist, permanence and transience, familiar and alien.
This proposal subverts the current model of elevator core dependency in the mixed-use skyscraper by leveraging light and air voids as pathways for gondola-style vertical circulation. This network becomes an armature for pockets of public space and privatized public program. In this new public territory, citizen-spaces and stranger-spaces mutually benefit from their adjacencies and overlaps. The proposed spatial strategy maximizes connectivity and hybridityâ€”proposing that these places that a citizen-stranger lives, works, and plays in should be defined first and foremost by the tenacity of their volume.
fig. 2 The typical pancake skyscraper core contrasts with the Vertical gondolas, where cuts are made to maximize light, ventilation and views.
fig. 3 Plan mediates between public street and private block interior.
fig. 4 In section, layering incorporates vertical circulation. Everything performs multiple roles and operable enclosure on multiple levels allows for user control over climate and exposure.
fig. 5 Units have a footprint the size of a double mattress. These tiny floor plates allow elbow room for extensions into the public realm.
fig. 6 The Vertical city conquers the pancake and a network of public gondolas crisscross the skyline.
Homes are fixed. Homes are stable. Unless of course they arenâ€™t. The nomadic and the migratory represent alternative paradigms in which the home is distributed and the domestic is dispersed. These critical frameworks address contemporary economic and ecological predicaments by collapsing distinctions between the home and broader domestic networks. The advancement of novel settlement strategies is shifting perceptions of transient inhabitation from the breakdown of the domestic ideal to nimbler, more contextually-sensitive forms of occupation.
Home is Where the Work Is Jennifer Davis
fig. 1 (facing) Filipina Migrant Domestic Workers gather on pedestrian bridges overlooking Connaught Road Central.
Hong Kong is an urban landscape characterized by extreme population density and the international flow of capital and labor. Below its skyline, a network of pedestrian bridges and corporate plazas are the conduits funneling commuters to their jobs, while streets are the venue for traffic circulation and outdoor markets. These spaces constitute an infrastructure designed to facilitate circulation between venues of capitalistic exchange. However, sites such as the HSBC office tower lobbyâ€”typically the purview of bank employeesâ€”are completely transformed on Sundays by the temporary micro-architectures of Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs). Ad hoc structures built from corrugated cardboard, string, tarps, bedsheets and umbrellas serve as provisional rooms for communal activities including meals, socializing, worship and grooming (fig. 1). This tactic of temporary inhabitation carves out spaces where a community of female workers can mutually care for each other while far away from their home countries in South Asia. The insertion of domestic activities by this (often-invisible) group into a space intended for the agents of commerce is visually and perceptually jarring. Despite the ubiquity of Filipina and Indonesian domestic workers in countries around the world, the particular combination of Hong Kongâ€™s built environment and specific social, political and economic vectors gives rise to the unique way in which these women occupy public space. Their presence both implies and is inextricably linked to the private households of Hong Kong. High demand for feminized domestic labor has driven the immigration of foreign female workers to Hong Kong. Because they are contractually required to live with their employers, these women tend to occupy public
spaces on their days off rather than staying at their own home/workplace. Their tactics of inhabiting the public sphere--in terms of their activities and visibility—utilize simple, pragmatic means, yet offer models of organizing that have potentially political ends. The challenges they deal with in public spaces reveal the same hegemonic structures of gender and class that structure Hong Kong households, proving that “The home is the concrete micro site in which everyday matters and the public are embedded.”1 Importing A Workforce for Doing Women’s Work The arrival of South Asian domestic workers to Hong Kong households is directly linked to the increased participation of Hong Kong women in the workforce outside of the home. When Hong Kong’s economy shifted toward a service-based industry in the 1970s, so too did the female composition of the workforce.2 Educated middle-class women, who would never previously have considered entering the paid workforce as factory workers, started accepting white-collar administrative jobs which offered both social status and a second income to the family. Their departure from the domestic sphere meant the departure of their labor in the home, and they were left struggling to cover childcare and housework. Filling this labor gap was difficult for several reasons. First, recruiting local women for domestic work was difficult because they were offered higher wages and regular hours for positions outside the home. In addition, the shortage of space in Hong Kong meant that living quarters were smaller than in previous generations, which discouraged the cohabitation of extended families, with grandparents available in the household to help with childcare.3 While expatriate families had been previously allowed by the
fig. 2 A typical Sunday scene in Central: Filipina migrant workers spend time on the pedestrian bridge network overlooking streets that are closed to vehicular traffic. Hawkers’ carts, used for selling cardboard to workers, are parked until it’s time to collect used cardboard in the evening. 1 Binna Choi and Maiko Tanaka. Grand Domestic Revolution Handbook. Utrecht: Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory. 2014. 2 Nicole Constable. Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Migrant Workers, Second Edition. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univeristy Press. 2007, 26.
3 ibid., 27.
4 ibid., 29–30.
5 ibid., 33.
6 ibid., 34.
7 ibid., 34.
8 ibid., 32.
9 ibid., 80–82.
10 ibid., 80. 11 ibid., 80.
government to employ MDWs, a 1973 government policy allowed entry of foreign domestic workers into the colony. Importing “helpers” was the logical economic decision for a government that wanted to entice educated women to fill the labor gap. As of 2006, the government’s set threshold of $180,000 HKD (23,000 USD) annual household income required to hire a worker has made it an accessible solution for families while alleviating demands on the government to fund state-organized systems of childcare and eldercare. The first wave of domestic workers arriving to Hong Kong were women from the Philippines who spoke English and were perceived as a “more western” alternative to locally born workers.4 In the 1970s, Hong Kong’s demand for female workers coincided with a political and economic situation in the Philippines that motivated women to emigrate for work. In the face of dropping wages, rising land prices, a devaluing Filipino currency and a 25% unemployment rate, the Marco government enacted and actively promoted the “labor export policy.”5 What began as a temporary solution to curtail unemployment and a method for importing foreign currency in the form of remittances has become “permanently temporary” as successive governments uphold this model that supplied $7.6 billion remittance dollars into the country in 2003, constituting 10% of its GDP.6 Today, more than 160,000 Filipinas are in Hong Kong as domestic workers. In the 1990s, Indonesian women began coming to Hong Kong as domestic workers when their government implemented labor policies that emulated the Filipino model. These individuals often arrive in Hong Kong with training in Cantonese, and are therefore more likely to be hired for positions involving elder care. Presently, the numbers of Indonesians and Filipinas are roughly equal. There are competing narratives about the migrant domestic workers. In their native countries they are hailed as “economic heroes,” with each Filipina worker supporting an average of five people at home.7 Meanwhile, a commonly held view in Hong Kong is that the women have little choice but to escape the poverty at home by seeking employment abroad. It is assumed the workers must hail from the lower classes and inferior social status and should feel grateful for the opportunity to work in Hong Kong.8 Another view is that the MDWs are parasites who profit from Hong Kong’s economy and take employment opportunities away from locals. None of these narratives recognize the women as individuals who have agency and make economic decisions based on the structures within which they are operating. A 1988 survey found that only seven percent of the Filipina domestic workers women were unemployed before going abroad for work, which is not surprising since the poorest sector of the population could not afford the initial costs of emigrating. The typical Filipina domestic worker is a woman with a high school diploma, and many have a university degree or some type of tertiary education.9 Despite this professional training, the state of the Philippine economy means that she has difficulty finding work or her salary is too low to support a family. In the decision to work abroad, economic considerations are often mixed with other motivations such as a desire for adventure, the opportunity to travel, the chance to escape family problems or a sense that the job will be a “stepping stone.”10 Often, she is a mother, who may employ a domestic worker in the Phillipines from her salary working as a domestic worker in Hong Kong.11 This portrait
fig. 3 Signage in Statue Square lists rules in English, Chinese, and Tagalog.
contradicts the racialized stereotyping of MDWs by Hong Kong residents and shows that they are not so dissimilar from their employers as those employers would like to believe. Superimposing Spaces of Life and Work The “Employment Contract for a Domestic Helper Recruited Outside of Hong Kong” is the legal document that outlines the employer-worker agreement, describes the worker’s status as a temporary resident, and circumscribes the spatial arrangement within which the domestic worker must live and work. The contract outlines a two-year employment term, lists the monthly minimum salary set by the government ($3,480HKD/$450 USD in 2007), and stipulates that the domestic worker must live with her employer.12 Although the Director of Immigration sometimes grants exceptions to this rule, the pervasive arrangement is that the space of the worker’s labor is the same space where she lives. The employer is obliged to provide “suitable and furnished accommodation,” but in practice this can take many forms. While about two thirds of the workers have their own rooms, the remaining third may be assigned a sleeping location in the bedroom of the child/elderly person in their care,
12 ibid., 132–133.
13 ibid., 126–127.
14 ibid., 101, 111.
or on the floors of living rooms, balconies, passageways or even the bathroom.13 If the workers are assigned servants quarters, material differences such as a Turkish toilet or the absence of bedroom windows communicate the status difference between employer and employed. The worker’s spatial and temporal experience of the household is often different than the rest of the family’s due to an employer’s rules prohibiting workers from sitting on certain pieces of furniture or stipulating windows of time when the worker may access the bathroom for showering. The confluence of space of the MDW’s labor and life makes it possible for their working hours to be essentially unlimited: a 1991 study of Filipina workers found that over 75 percent worked over 14 hours per day, six days a week, while a similar 2005 survey of Indonesian domestic workers revealed that 45 percent worked 12 hours a day or more, six days a week. The proximity of the worker to her employer and work itself is a coercive arrangement because she may be continually supervised by an elderly family member or called upon by the employer to tend waking children in the middle of the night. She may be more subtly coerced to work long hours due to a combination of factors. For example, a worker may work late into the night as she waits for the family to vacate the living room which serves as her makeshift bedroom. While domestic workers sometimes want to be referred to as “one of the family” as an indication of inclusion and respect from the employer’s family, this analogy may serve to disguise the exploitative side of the relationship in an environment where housework is never finished.14 The MDWs’ reproductive labor, executed in individual households, gives rise to an atomized workforce. This one-to-one relationship between employer and worker can make it difficult for workers to advocate for themselves as they risk creating tension or, worse, risk their job security and ability to continue living in Hong Kong. Even though the Employment Contract stipulates required pay rates, there are practical problems with enforcement of these standards for 300,000 dispersed employees. Some employers will go so far as to not allow rest days, or schedule free time for days other than Sunday, to intentionally cut a worker off from her compatriots who could advise her about how to cope with an abusive employer’s treatment. When migrant domestic workers depart the household and enter the urban landscape while on duty, their movement and conduct is dictated both by rules imposed by their employment agencies and employers, as well as the spatial organization of the city. Anthropologist Nicole Constable documented rules dealing with a range of MDW behaviors: from asking permission to leave the house, to the prohibition of chatting with other domestic workers in public view. The unwritten expectation is that workers move and act quietly and efficiently in the streets and marketplace. Some apartment buildings and office towers go so far as to provide two entrances and lobbies, one for domestic workers and another for Hong Kong residents. The confluence of factors that collapses the boundary between work and life for migrant domestic workers and atomizes this workforce acts to politically weaken the MDWs, chipping away at their ability to influence the conditions of their labor and, by extension, their ability to claim both literal and figurative spaces for themselves in Hong Kong society which are commensurate with their social contribution.
Making a Home in Public Space Domestic workers’ occupation of public spaces on Sundays is a pragmatic tactic that can have political implications. If a worker spends her rest day in her employer’s home, she runs the risk of being assigned work even if she has her own room and bathroom. Leaving this space is a practical way of ensuring her day off. The Indonesian migrants gathering in Victoria Park, and the Filipina workers who flock to Central district’s pedestrian walkways and plazas originally meet each other through familial or online networks. A friend group establishes a typical meeting spot where its members can depend on finding each other, even without their cell phones. These sites function as a ‘base camp’ throughout the course of the day, with women intermittently coming and going as they run errands around the city, such as sending remittances and care packages to their families abroad. The weekly arrival to a familiar space and group of friends endows these humble meeting places with meaning over time for MDW’s. Speaking with the women, it is not uncommon for them to refer to these places as “home” and point out an “Auntie” or matriarch who is responsible for the group’s continuity over the years. This recurring ritual and location is often the most stable aspect of a worker’s experience in Hong Kong, which is otherwise characterized by precarious labor conditions and living arrangements. Their gatherings have become a “permanently temporary” feature of the urban landscape of Hong Kong, and an economy has evolved to supply and demolish the materials used to construct the shelters on a weekly basis. Striped tarps and bedsheets, used by the Indonesians to create soft seating and visual screens, are purchased once, packed into rolling suitcases, and moved into storage during weekdays.(Fig 6) Hawkers sell corrugated cardboard and tethering materials to the Filipinas in Central during early morning and collect the cardboard at the end of day for recycling or reselling the following week.(Fig 2) These structures provide some privacy and comfort for the women as they recover from the work week. In close physical proximity to friends and within view of Hong Kongers walking by, the women take naps, read, and talk to their distant families in hushed tones over cell phones. Group activities may include praying, eating, playing cards, practicing dance routines, and building skills ranging from financial literacy to acupuncture through peer teaching and knowledge exchange. Aesthetic and grooming activities such as manicures, massages, acupressure and hair styling are modes of self-care exchanged between friends or sometimes offered to compatriots in a more organized way in exchange for donations to a charitable cause or organization.15 Some entrepreneurial women tactically subvert the rules prohibiting hawking in public spaces, covertly selling their services to other expats under the cover of this convivial Sunday scene.16 It is a striking image: activities typically associated with the domestic space of private dwelling are inserted into public spaces by 300,000 women who are required to live in their workplaces.
15 Atin, Sring (organizer with Indonesian Migrant Workers Union). Personal interview with author, Victoria Park, December 18, 2015. 16 Daisy Tam’s contribution to the forthcoming book, Messy Urbanism,
Organizing in Friendship Female friendship is both the foundational impetus and the primary image of this Sunday spatial occupation. Although the workers’ strategy of communal socializing may be trivialized by the average Hong Konger
is entitled “Little Manila: The Other Central of Hong Kong.” She discusses the covert businesses that are operated by MDWs using Michel de Certeau’s “la perruque.”
fig. 4 Indonesian workers meet under a highway overpass in Lai Chi Kok Park. The women are members of a co-operative, BMI Syariah, which invested in a farm and convenience store in Indonesia.
passing by, could it be taken seriously as a political tactic? Artist and architect Celine Condorelli strives to reframe friendship’s potential in her 2014 book, The Company She Keeps. Condorelli criticizes the majority of male-authored philosophical writings for their emphasis on equality between men, and their effective erasure of other people, such women or enslaved individuals, and their modes of relationship. She turns towards models of friendship exemplified by runaway slaves and suffragettes whose relationships were simultaneously pleasurable and a ‘weapon of the weak’:
17 Celine Condorelli. The Company She Keeps. London: Book Works. 2014. 20.
There are, however, also enabling powers of friendship. What is the potential of doing something in friendship? There is an emancipatory dimension to choosing one’s allies, committing to issues and deciding to take them on, which can be a force that propels us forward. I think there is a collective aspect to this empowerment, which is a congruence between friendship and solidarity: the knowledge of engaging in a common project, of contributing to building the world, which is also how friendship leads to politics. This of course is also a drive to self-organization.17
The Sunday phenomenon in Hong Kong suggests the political potential of friendship. The women’s Sunday activities, characterized by spatially dense communal socializing, is the platform for sharing information regarding their economic rights: how they learn that their employment agency has overcharged, where they ask advice for dealing with a difficult employer, how they are referred to a shelter so they can flee an abusive household. It is not uncommon for women who were previously apolitical in their home countries to become politicized in this space of socialization,
sometimes by joining a labor union or participating in protests. When Victoria Park is packed with Indonesian workers on a Sundays, organizers from domestic labor unions conduct surveys of labor conditions, the results of which are used for lobbying their Consulate and the Hong Kong government alike. Collapsing friendship and labor organizing into the same space and time is an antidote to the atomized household conditions in which they work. While factory and workplace unions’ strength is tied to a communal space of work and alliances based on a shared employer, domestic workers’ agency is uncoupled from their spaces of labor, and instead enacted periodically with colleagues who congregate freely. This method of organizing in friendship is potentially more resilient than other types of labor activism because as the women work together they build solidarity and loyalty to a cause as well as to each other.18 The emancipatory dimension of friendship relies on its separation from the economic and legal frameworks that tend to oppress the women, and its importance in upholding identity and dignity beyond their roles as workers. “If friendship is regarded as being outside of work in the productivist sense, then perhaps working in friendship is a way of claiming space to work outside production… regardless of what one is working on…one of the main things being developed is actually the friendship itself: a form of life which cannot be totally capitalized upon is and therefore slightly in excess of work as we know it.”19 Being visibly non-productive Sunday site selection takes into account the group’s institutional memory, as well as practical considerations such as protection from rain and sun,
fig. 5 When Chater Road is closed to traffic in Sundays, members of UNIFIL-Migrante HK hold weekly meeting in the bus shelters.
18 ibid., 67.
19 ibid., 61.
20 Constable, Maid to Order, 167. 21 ibid., 4–5.
22 ibid., 7–8.
23 Shilpa Phadke et al, “Why Loiter? Radical possibilities for gendered dissent.” in Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asia’s Cities, ed. Melissa Butcher and Selvaraj Velayutham. (New York: Routledge, 2009), 196-197. 24 ibid., 197.
accessibility to transit, proximity to public bathrooms and businesses, as well as perceptions about the safety and privacy provided by a particular venue. In the built landscape of Hong Kong, the lines of ownership of ‘public space’ are quite difficult to define due to plentiful Privately Owned Public Spaces and the networks of pedestrian bridges and interconnected buildings. But over time the workers have come to know the landscape in terms of their needs: for example, which stretch of a particular pedestrian bridge has security guards to shoo them away and in which zone they can sit, unbothered (fig. 3). The women’s gathering in Hong Kong’s center has been a contentious issue at times. Hong Konger’s complaints about how the Filipina women “do private things in public places”20 reached a fever pitch in the early 1990s during “The Battle of Chater Road.”21 At the time, Central’s main landlord and incendiary editorials campaigned to reverse the Sunday closure of streets to traffic, in an attempt to disperse the MDWs who gathered there. The women’s response was to simply continue their Sunday mass gatherings as usual, expressing their sentiments in the most embodied way—by demanding to be seen and refusing to be pushed out of visible social life as they are the other six days of the week. Standing their ground, the women forced the issue to be dropped entirely a few years later, and by the 21st century their presence has become a generally accepted ‘fact’ of the urban landscape (fig. 5).22 If the women’s movements and behaviors are prescribed from Monday to Saturday by their role as domestic laborers, Sunday is their opportunity to dis-identify with that label. Socializing, eating in restaurants, worshipping--inhabiting the public spaces of the city like anyone else – are the activities that refute an identity based solely on the paid work they do during the week. Even though their activities are not explicitly performed for Hong Kongers passing by, their location in the public sphere has the potential to show residents that each MDW is a nuanced person who may be a mother, a great dancer, a skilled handicrafter, someone who is tired, who expresses herself through her clothing, who is a devout muslim, who is a lesbian. Loitering Women Some people may derisively label the workers’ Sunday activities as loitering. However, sociologists Phadke, Ranade and Khan argue that loitering—the act of claiming public space for pleasure rather for explicitly productive or comsumerist ends—can be an empowering political gesture. They theorize that the choice to demonstrate non-productivity can be unsettling because it thwarts the desired order of the global city in several ways. First, the loiterer undermines the sanitized, glamorous and homogenous urban image that the power players in a city such as Hong Kong may strive for. The women’s presence disrupts spatial zoning that is meant to clearly define binaries such as inside-outside, public-private, recreational-commercial, and it undermines zoning rules that calcify class and racial segregation in service to a corporate vision for the city.23 Secondly, because the loitering body does not conform to expectations of productivity, “it refutes the possibility of being co-opted within global practices of consumerist inclusion.”24 The workers’ claiming of public space on Sundays emphasizes the right of each individual, regardless of their gender, class, or ethnicity, to take pleasure in the city as the most
fig. 6 (facing) Materiality of workers’ temporary shelters.
25 ibid., 194.
basic act of citizenship and belonging in society. This action is especially powerful because migrant domestic workers, of all women, are the most associated with the domestic realm and the invisible, never-ending labor that happens there. “The presence of the loitering female body can then challenge the hegemonic discourse of gendered public space by reconstructing the connotative chains of association … [of] normative femininity. This has the capacity to create a new set of relationships within and with public space … which have the power to not just disrupt the dominant order in public space but to have a more long-term impact on how space itself is visualized.”25 MDWs’ visibility in public spaces on Sundays exposes how neoliberal policies maintain inequality between genders. By deferring to private households as the site/space of childcare and eldercare, the Hong Kong government not only avoids providing the financial and spatial infrastructure of state funded social programs, but also perpetuates the patriarchal ideology of gendered labor division which assigns reproductive labor to women and obscures it in individual households. The limited space available to the 300,000 MDWs in the private and public realms testifies to the pervasive undervaluing of women’s work in society in general. The female migrant’s precarious visa, which collapses boundaries between the space of work and residence, clearly articulates that her value is tied to her capacity to deliver reproductive labor in the household context. The MDWs’ mass Sunday gatherings in public spaces employ tactics such as an insistence on visibility, organizing in friendship, and loitering: seemingly benign activities that in fact subvert the neoliberal world order and calcified gender roles. Inserting their private lives into the public realm and occupying public spaces in non-productive ways is a political maneuver that goes beyond a critique of the status quo. It is a proposal for a society where women can make equal claim to private and public realms, based on the fact of their personhood in society rather than their contribution to an economic bottom line.
Shelf Life: A New Domestic Landscape Carol Kaifosh
fig. 1 (facing) Shelf Life is comprised of a variety of modules designed to respond to daily domestic activities, such as dressing, working, relaxing, and the organization of personal objects.
How can a home be subdivided to benefit the needs of a multi-generational family? How can a home embrace contemporary space-sharing networks (such as AirBnB) in a way that is comfortable for both host and guest? What does the home of a contemporary urban nomad look like? Shelf Life addresses contemporary domestic scenarios by considering the architectural minimums of the domestic landscape as an autonomous container for dwelling within an existing space. Shelf Life is an experiment at the intersection of three interests: the proliferation of space-sharing networks, ephemeral and interchangeable living infrastructures, and lifestyles of contemporary urban â€œnomads.â€? Shelf Life is a framework that addresses the domestic realm as a landscape, wherein few things remain fixed. The landscape is alive, growing and constantly adapting, surrounded by the environment as a whole that is unfixed and infinite. The domestic landscape is therefore a system for living, within the context of specific physical surroundings and social circumstances. Shelf Life is a chameleon. It lies in a gray zone of scale, between XL furniture and XS architecture. It has capabilities to transform in response to its temporal context. It is an operative infrastructure that addresses various models of contemporary domestic conditions.
fig. 2 The modules are bolted together with strategic spacing between bolts to allow for both horizontal and vertical combinations. The modules may face inwards or outwards, depending on the spatial and usage condition.
fig. 3 The modules form an autonomous living infrastructure, free and unfixed to existing structures. They respond to the needs of the contemporary urban dweller, an individual with a lifestyle on the go. The system may be furniture one day, and composed into an enclosed room the next, in the interest of space-sharing networks, or increased occupancy situations.
fig. 4 In the interest of individuals with ephemeral dwelling lifestyles, the modules may be combined, shifted, and recombined infinitely, and may transform and enclose additional spaces. They are equipped with handles and accessories for mobility.
fig. 5 The system is designed for maximum adaptability to any existing structure. Individuals can pack all personal objects within the modules, and transport the total unit within the smallest size of a typical rental moving van.
fig. 6 Assembly sequence
fig.7 Photograph of interior space
Tools for Domestication in a Conditional World Owen Weinstein & Brian Osborn
fig. 1 (facing) The 2014 device. (Scott Smith)
1 Directed by Joseph Kosinski.
2 Prologue Collective, http://oldsite.prologue.com/ (2016).
3 Brian Osborn describes the need for a methodological shift from surveying to surveillance in, “Surveillance Practices: Drawing the Nature of Sites.” In: Nadia Amoroso (Ed.). Representing Landscapes: Hybrids. New York, NY: Routledge,
The 2013 film Oblivion1 depicts planet Earth in a post-moon state. With a new gravitational alignment, extreme tidal swings cause the erosion and deposition of huge amounts of sediment—leaving the viewing deck of the Empire State Building at times accessible by foot from a new ground level. The human population has been evacuated, and surveillance drones patrol the rapidly shifting terrain. The film’s conclusion suggests that, despite these apparently hostile new conditions, Earth may be ready for settlement by an adapted population. The end credits, produced by Prologue2, include a sequence of aerial images taken from the drones—a possible reconnaissance for future construction. The serial recording of data afforded by the surveillance system describes a constantly shifting topography and allows for the dynamic understanding of Earth’s surface. Data collected through newly-accessible surveillance tools (including do-it- yourself environmental sensors, thermal imaging, and 3d-scanning) reveal that sites are constantly being re-formed by cyclical and conditional material processes. Lifecycles of living organisms, erosion and deposition of matter, flows of air and water, and transfers of energy repeat at varying intensities and time-scales. Surveillance3 promotes understandings of material, form, space, and site in terms of ongoing conditional logics rather than fixed geometric distances and relationships. Our goal in the Surveillance Practices studios (2014-2015) at the University of Virginia has been to develop methods for reading and working with the processes that shape sites, and to find ways of intervening in those processes to make novel and productive landscape forms.
The studio demands an attitude of tinkering with existing conditions, rather than always creating anew. The Surveillance Practices studio has worked to develop tools that allow for persistent measurement, temporal and rule-based drawing conventions, and design methods more closely related to computer programming than sculpture. This effort has been dependent on our borrowing and learning from the open-source community. In recognition of this, we document the development of these tools and share our experince for future use. The following tutorial describes a workflow for using data from a physical site to make a digital drawing in real-time. It is focused on the development of a Remote Sensing Device built on the Arduino microcontroller platform. It links (via the Firefly plug-in) a stream of data collected by the device to a set of geometric relationships built in the parametric modeling programs Grasshopper and Rhinoceros. The goal is a persistent survey of the site—a drawing that is constantly evolving, the form of which at any given time is the probabilistic result of several processes interacting. Remote sensing devices are built with inherent assumptions, limitations, and possibilities of failure. It is important not to view a remote sensing device as a deus ex machina that reveals “truth.” These devices are as dependent on underlying biases as traditional tools of site documentation. However, they are distinguished by the ability to serially record data. Adding a temporal dimension to our understanding of site is critical to understanding many of the phenomenon at play in any environmental system. Designing our own mechanisms of data collection gives us a firsthand understanding of our limitations and assumptions—and how they may affect our conclusions downstream. Both studios elected to use a team based approach to make a network of devices. This strategy allowed the groups to cover more ground, share costs, and divide work. On average, each device cost about $200 but specialty sensors can easily escalate the cost and time required. There are many good resources online on reading and writing Arduino code; we will leave coding out of this tutorial, instead focusing on how to build devices and how to translate information gathered into formats useful to designers. The Kit of Parts 1. Micro-Controller — The micro-controller is the brain of the device. It regulates power, receives inputs of data, and distributes outputs of data and power. The microcontroller is a simple computer storing and running one program at a time. For ease of use, cost and availability of support we used the Arduino Uno as our microcontroller. Arduino Unos are cheap, and bridging software that transfers information from Arduino into Grasshopper is readily available. 2. Sensors — Sensors allow data collection from the site. There are many off-the-shelf sensors available online with an wide range of precision, reliability, and ease of use. The sensors you choose will depend on your specific needs and goals.
fig. 2 2015 device installed at 1.5m (Hannah Barefoot)
Building a Sensing System Observation of the site will determine which sensors you select for your device. It is important to understand the physical and digital limits of any given sensor. For example--a sensor may have a relatively large data-collection interval relative to other sensors, skewing the granularity of collected data. Or the size of the sensor might require a modification to the housing or structure of the remote sensing device. There are hundreds of trade-offs and judgment calls to be made. The UVA studios purchased primarily from Adafruit, whose sensors are reasonably priced and made in the USA. Other reliable vendors include Robomesh, Seeed Studio, and Grove. For studios, we recommend that each student have their own Arduino. The microcontrollers are relatively cheap and should be useful beyond the studio. 1.Buying Equipment: Follow these two primary rules of thumb before you buy: -First, look for a wiring diagram. IF YOU CAN’T FIND A WIRING DIAGRAM, DON’T BUY!4 -Next look for code. Read the code and check the comments in the vendor’s help forums. IF YOU CAN’T FIND CODE TO RUN IT, DON’T BUY!4
4 Obviously both these rules depend on your comfort with writing code and doing basic wiring.
-Does the sensor use a lot of Arduino pins? If so, it might be worth looking for an alternative. The Arduino Uno has a fairly limited supply of pins and several of our devices have maxed them out. You could consider a more powerful micro-controller, or look
Drawing types inform methods of measurement
Persistent survey Download code
Compile for Arduino
Conect to Firefly
Productionof drawings and information
fig. 3 Work flow (Owen Weinstein)
Translatedata to spatial language with associative modeling
collect information about site processes through engagement
Remote Sensing Network
continuously collect information using automated sensors
Observeenvironmental and material processes
2-SC card shield
for a similar but less pin-hungry sensor. -Does it need an external power source separate from the Arduino? Powering the devices can be a challenge. The demands for an independent power source complicate the issue but are by no means insurmountable. -Is everyone on help forums asking the same questions about this sensor and not getting help? This can be a red flag or a red herring. Sometimes the same question gets asked and unanswered because it is so basic the community ignores it. Sometimes it is because no one knows the answer. Look at who is posting: is this their first post? Are people directing them to other educational resources? -Has this sensor been used before in the ways you want to use it? This is particularly important for nonstandard uses of hardware. It is a good sign if lots of people are repurposing a sensor/hardware to do something it may not have been designed for. -Can you get the spec sheet for it? Reputable vendors will always provide the spec sheet. In particular, check the sensorâ€™s accuracy and whether it processes data on its own at all. -Are there conditions/warnings in the small print? Depending on your comfort with coding, this could be a deal
fig. 4 2015 Electronics Image credit Owen Weinstein
4-TMP36 5-Soil Moisture Sensor
breaker. Many sensors can only function within a specific range of temperatures. Some have zero tolerance for moisture. Some sensors also have â€œoperating hoursâ€? or are only guaranteed to work for X number of hours. The design of your device housing, the time of year, and exact location of the device are crucial to consider. 2. Power Sources and Limits: The power demands of the devices will depend on how many/what types of sensors you are using and how you store or broadcast your data. It also can be affected by the season, the immediate micro-environment around the device, and the design of your device housing. Solar power is a good choice, but because solar panel systems have both maximum and minimum operating temperatures, the time of year becomes an important consideration. One of the most important and difficult steps in building the remote sensing device is designing a solar power system with the capacity to run a range of sensors and last through the night. Setting up the solar panel and battery requires some soldering skills, and if you have not soldered previously, we recommend practicing soldering scrap electronics before working on the actual device. The power set-up shown in figure 4 will work for one to four sensors with three to six minute delays between readings. For a more frequent sample time or more sensors, you should consider a larger battery and/or solar panel; the 2015 sensor package required a battery twice as large.
8 5 9
For dark sites you may need to go with a conventional battery with a carefully cooled housing. For sites close to grid power, an adapter can be used to provide extremely regular power, avoiding many of the headaches of other methods.
fig. 5 sensors used in 2015 (Owen Weinstein) 1-Bourns Potentiometer 4-TMP36 sensor
3. Troubleshooting: -Check one thing at a time: Often several things are wrong at once. If you change everything at the same time it is easy to make new mistakes. If your sensors are giving you bizarre results try unplugging all but one. Does it work now? Add one more, and so on. Always try to simplify the device as much as possible. This can be frustrating and time-consuming, but it is the surest way to find your actual problem. -Compare a malfunctioning sensor to one currently working: If you have a sensor working properly on another Arduino use it as a point of comparison and play a game of â€œspot the differencesâ€? with the wiring setup. -Problems with long wires: A persistent problem for both studios was long wires. Any wire longer than a foot attached to a sensor generates noise in the signal. This can be most reliably solved by using shielded wire. -Problems with soldering: Many parts require soldering. Good soldering equipment is key. Learning how to solder with a bad soldering iron is almost impossible. -Problems with power: Different sensors draw power in different amounts. The storage and broadcasting of data is also a major power drain. It is recommended to
5-Grove soil moisture 7-NDIR CO2 sensor 8-Pyroelectric infraRed sensor 9-UV light sensor 10-Grove dust sensor 11-10K thermistor
12-Medium 6V 2W Solar panel 13-USB / DC / Solar Lithium Ion/Polymer charger
DC Barrel Jack Plug - Male
Male DC Power adapter - 2.1mm plug to screw terminal block 14-Lithium Ion Polymer Battery - 3.7v 2500mAh
fig. 6 Solar power set up Owen Weinstein
test the devices with the power source in the studio first for 24 hours before taking them out to the study site. One trick to help extend battery life is to increase the interval between samples. Consider the maximum recording interval that will provide accurate data for your project; reducing the frequency of data recording can help save power. -Problems with the code: Sometimes something is wrong with the code and the sensors are all fine. The same methodology of checking sensors individually works well for code components. -The microcontroller is fried: Not often, but it does happen. If you are sure everything is wired correctly, try swapping out microcontrollers. Even if this doesnâ€™t fix anything it shows your problem must lie elsewhere. -Many problems in the data collection originate in the code: Check the file naming conventions if you are using a SD card. For wifi, check to make sure the device is connecting to the correct IP address. In general, check the comment section of the code for tips and tricks. -CSV is printing the title line over and over but no data: You do not have adequate power for the sensors. Whenever you see the title line printing in your CSV it is showing a disruption in the power source. Interestingly, you can use this to read the amount of daylight a solar panel is receiving, or to record when night falls. Conducting a Persistent Survey: Translating information from remote sensing devices into drawings is an act of design, dependent on the physical and digital choices made in the construction of the remote sensing devices.
The 2015 studio used an Arduino-Firefly-Grasshopper-Rhino workflow. This reduced the amount of coding required to extract and convert the sensor data to geometric forms and system logics. Firefly does not read multiple digital sensors through its Grasshopper button options, but there is a reasonable work-around. The final action in the Arduino code has to be a serial printline of each sensor’s readings separated by a comma. This allows Firefly’s “serial read” button to import the data directly from the remote sensing devices. You can use Grasshopper’s “split list by comma” and other list sorting tools to organize the information. Setting up a new workflow is often frustrating, and it can be hard to maintain enthusiasm throughout this phase of the project. Arduino and Firefly are both sensitive or “persnickety” about order of operations, so this tutorial explains step-by-step how to set up and use the two softwares together: 1- Install Grasshopper if you do not already have it 2- Install Arduino (http://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software) After install close the dialog box. 3- Install Firefly (http://www.fireflyexperiments.com/download/) This should do two critical things: -add the toolbar in Grasshopper. -add a sketch in your Arduino folder. 4- Connect the Arduino microcontroller to your computer. 5- Open the Arduino software and connect to your physical Arduino Don’t forget to connect them via the COM port Tools-Serial port-COM# (write this number down; sometimes you need it in Firefly) 6- Run the Firefly Firmata with the Arduino software -You are looking for the file named Firefly UNO_Firmata -Your physical Arduino should have blinking LEDs and the Arduino software should say “sketch uploaded.” 7-Minimize the Arduino software, make sure the serial read monitor is closed, and open up Grasshopper. Find Grasshopper scripts at http://www.fireflyexperiments.com to read from the Arduino You are now ready to start scripting in Grasshopper with Firefly for Arduino!! Data Collection: The sensors can constantly gather data, and with the proper hardware and code an Arduino can log the data as a CSV on an SD card, or broadcast it over FM or WiFi to a computer. Each of these methods has advantages and drawbacks. How you set up yours will depend on site, sensors, and power source. We used SD cards because our study site had no access to Wifi. If using an SD card someone has to go out to the field and physically collect the data. The data then gets dumped into the persistent drawings as large lump rather than a constant stream.
fig. 7 (facing above) site installation photo by Hannah Barefoot 2015 students from left to right: Julie Shapiro Scott Getz Claire Casstevens Bonnie-Kate Walker Hallie Miller (obscured) Amanda Coen Not pictured: Hannah Barefoot Luke Harris July Qiu Zihao Zhang Sheila Yang Yaxian Hu Amanda Goodman 2014 students not pictured Owen Weinstein Jenna Harris Bahman Jamasbi Chunyao Xu Stephen Hobbs
fig. 8 (facing below) parts of the arduino micro controller (Owen Weinstein) 15-micro controller 16-break out pins 17-dc power jack 18-usb power and data
No One Feels at Home Anymore Florence Twu
fig. 1 (facing) Zaatari Refugee Camp This complex was built to house the Syrian refugees in Jordan. Taken as an aerial photograph in July 2013. 1 Talia Radford, “‘Refugee Camps are the Cities of Tomorrow’ says humanitarian aid expert”, Dezeen, November 23, 2015.
New Realities Global conflicts are forcing migrant and host populations to re-define their ideas of home, belonging, and identity. Kilian Kleinschmidt has called refugee camps “the cities of tomorrow”1 because of their long-term occupation, and argued that these camps should no longer be treated as temporary places. The average estimated stay in refugee camps is now almost seventeen years; displacement is becoming permanent. The current Syrian refugee crisis reveals a great need for further research into problems of refugee housing, in terms of both policy and design. Germany’s responses to this crisis may be informative for architects seeking to engage this issue at multiple levels. The scale of the Syrian crisis requires a fundamental rethinking of the international legal structures of migration. Jacqueline Bhabha writes: “[How] should we think about the recurring migration and refugee “crises” that present themselves with almost predictable regularity on every continent? We need a new paradigm for thinking about twenty-first-century “ distress migration,” because the post-World War II framework that still governs our laws and procedures is, in practice, defunct.” 2
Jacqueline Bhabha, “When Water Is Safer Than Land,” Harvard Magazine, December 9, 2015.
For Bhabha, current migration laws lack a fundamental distinction between “refugees” with a “well-founded fear of persecution” and “economic migrants” seeking opportunities outside their home countries. Only “refugees” as defined under the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees can legitimately receive international
protection. For over a decade, however, experts have noted increasingly varied motivations behind current migration flows, with specific consideration given to economic and political drivers. Bhabha proposes the use of the term “distress migrants” to capture this new migration behavior and attributes it to “growing and radical global inequality.”3 Just as humanitarian aid and international law need new paradigms to address the contemporary developments in migration, so too do the practices of architecture and urban design. Architects have responded to the immediate need for temporary emergency shelter, often with great success. However, larger-scale architectural thinking and interventions are called for at this point to address not only the symptoms but the systemic causes of contemporary distress migration, as well as to deal with its future impact in host countries. Incrementalism and the Long View This paper argues that attention should be shifted from temporary shelter to architectural strategies for resettlement. These include incremental building and a focus on integrating refugees into urban and cultural centers. Echoing Kleinschmidt’s call for governments to sanction refugee camps as potential cities, 2016 Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena has dismissed short-term solutions, calling refugee tents and other emergency shelters “a waste of money.” Advocating for an incremental approach, Aravena designs partial housing solutions that act as a framework for later permanent infill, leaving room for residents to participate in designing their own homes. This system allows for investments in the short-term that will not be lost in the future.4 Radical Hospitality in Germany German chancellor Angela Merkel has defended the potential benefits of immigration for German society. She states, “successful immigration... benefits a country, economically as well as socially.”5 Although 2015 conflicts between Syrian migrants and German citizens have led to more cautious immigration laws, Merkel’s initial “open door policy” still offers an optimistic precedent and model. Germany has 600,000 open positions, albeit in urban centers with a dearth of well-built housing units. To meet the demand, with one million new occupants arriving in 2015 alone, almost 400,000 units need to be built every year until 2020.6 If construction and careful development cannot keep pace with immigration, half a million people may be homeless by 2018.7 Germany’s architects have demonstrated an admirable readiness to address this issue. Architect Jorg Friedrich is a proponent of novel, socially integrative housing solutions. Friedrich rejects the common European method of placing refugee housing at the city limits, and instead integrates it seamlessly into urban centers. Friedrich’s designs utilize roofs and multi-story garages and car parks as space for new housing. Strategies that “allow refugees to live side-by-side with the rest of the population” will prevent the “ghetto-ization” of new arrivals, which impedes their ability to assimilate.8 Integration-minded city officials are responding with adaptive reuse of vacant space in their urban cores. Others, less concerned with the economic and social assimilation of migrants, are repurposing defunct Communist housing on the outskirts of cities, perpetuating patterns of isolation that could generate negative social repercussions.9
3 Jacqueline Bhabha, “When Water Is Safer Than Land.”
4 Jessica Mairs, “Refugee Tents are a Waste of Money, Says Alejandro Aravena,” Dezeen, November 11, 2015.
5 Robert Mackey, “Merkel Urges Germans to See Migrants as ‘an Opportunity,’ Not a Threat,” The New York Times, December 31, 2015.
6 Radford, “Refugee Camps are the Cities of Tomorrow.” 7 Stefan Dege, “Building Quickly and Cheaply, but with a Concept: Making a Home for the Refugees in Germany,” Deutsche Welle, December 22, 2015.
8 Jane Paulick, “Why the Refugee Crisis Calls for Imaginative Urban Planning,” Deutsche Welle, May 9, 2015.
Fig. 2 IKEA’s semi-perminent flat-pack Refugee Housing Unit, also known as the Better Shelter, replaces the United Nations High Commission for Refugees’ previous standard blueand-white canvas ridge and hoop tents, which were only appropriate for three to six months of occupation
9 Jesse Coburn, “Germany is Housing Refugees in Communist Ghost Towns,” Deutsche Welle, May 9, 2015.
10 Dege, “Building Quickly and Cheaply, but with a Concept.”
11 “IF-Ideas Forward- Competitions,” IF-Ideas Forward, January 13, 2016.
12 Bhabha, “When Water Is Safer Than Land.”
A concern for long-term refugee resettlement is also evident in contemporary German culture and art. For the 2016 Venice Biennale, curators from the German Architecture Museum chose to shift the focus away from problems of assimilation and to emphasize instead the idea of “Heimat,” or home. Their concept, “Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country,” is informed by Albert Schweitzer’s statement, “First people build houses, and then houses form people.” Says curator Oliver Elser, “We want to explore how architecture can help turn refugees into settlers.”10 A Towering System: Transitional Domesticity Ideas Forward, an online design discourse platform with focus on global-scale problems, recently produced a two-part solution for housing refugee populations, drawing on submissions from a twenty-four-hour design competition. The proposal was to take the form of a tower, a building type symbolizing capitalist values, and to reimagine or subvert its program and function. In an attempt to invert established conceptions and conditions, the prompt was to design “a tower [for] social use, rather than purely economic interests and power!”11 Patryck Slusarski’s first-prize winning proposal “Gate of Europe” (fig. 3) is an interesting hybrid response to the competition’s critical premise. His tower is built from standard cargo containers, a quick-fix solution already widely implemented. Their modularity and flexibility allows his scheme to accommodate a variety of scenarios. Slusarski explains how units can be used in different phases of an occupant’s arrival, from transport unit on water-borne barge, initial shelter, and eventually, a workshop or house for post-crisis use. Slusarski’s project demonstrates an incremental approach, and adds the element of mobility, which could allow for various levels of integration into cities. The Roots of the Problem Beyond the immediate violent conflict precipitating today’s Syrian emigration, Bhabha attributes the increasing incidence and scale of distress migration to “growing and radical global inequality.”12 Echoing her diagnosis, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek even more bluntly
relates the refugee crisis to the dynamics of global capitalism: “Refugees are the price of global economy. In our global world, commodities circulate freely, but not people: new forms of apartheid are emerging. [...] Large migrations are our future [...] The ultimate cause of refugees is today’s global capitalism itself and its geopolitical games.”13
fig. 3 Gate of Europe Competition Entry (Courtesy of Patryck Slusarski)
In her book Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy, Saskia Sassen asserts that we are entering a phase that will undoubtedly be marked by increasing “expulsions,” a concept she uses to group together such diverse phenomena as displacement in the global South and foreclosure and incarceration in the global North.14 No one can feel at home anymore because we are all threatened by the antisocial forces of capitalism, enacted through a host of mechanisms, including not only war and violence, but sub-prime mortgages and profit-driven resource extraction that threatens human health. Architecture needs to move beyond responding to the effects of these systems, and become involved in preventing their causes, working at higher levels of policy and strategy to promote human well-being worldwide.
Slavoj Zizek, “Slavoj Zizek: We Can’t Address the EU Refugee Crisis Without Confronting Global Capitalism,” In These Times, September 9, 2015. 14 Saskia Sassen, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Cambridge, Massachusetts, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014)
Rome’s Teverone Jorg Sieweke
fig. 1 Informal settlement along the Aniene
The Aniene (Latin: Anio) is the second largest river in Lazio, Italy. It originates in the sacred upper valleys of the Apennines, with its source at the Benedictine Monastery above Subiaco. The Aniene flows westward past Villa Gregoriana in Tivoli. It carved out the major valley east of Rome and was an important water source as the ancient city’s population expanded. This upper Aniene is the source for several aqueducts and has supplied drinking water since the reign of Nero (ca. 60 CE). The lower reach of the river west of Tivoli—historically called Teverone—meanders, largely ignored, between rail and road infrastructure westward to join the Tiber at Ponte Salario just north of Rome. The Ponte Salario, marking the entrance to Rome from the north, remains one of few bridges over the Aniene. Inside the beltway, the Aniene’s floodplain and riverbanks are designated as a natural preserve that is mostly inaccessible to the public. Within the otherwise densely urbanized area of Rome’s northwest periphery, the realm of the riverbank is a zone of informality and deregulation. Most Romans avoid this area and regard it with apprehension or fear. Parts of the riverbank are home to informal occupation by Roma groups, whose presence can be seen in small garden plots, temporary shelter structures, and pathways through the dense rushes and floodplain forest. Abusivismo is the Italian term for informal settlements on public lands; settlements that are tolerated for indeterminate periods of time, but are under constant threat of demolition by the municipal authority. The Roma camps of the Teverone are both temporary and concealed, transgressive and defensive, evident in various states of inhabitation and dereliction.
The informal settlement patterns vary greatly in scale, appearance, and permanence. Although concealed by the riparian vegetation, they are actually located quite close to public services and metro stations; only a cut in the fence away from the city. The following photo essay portrays routines of ephemeral, indeterminate, and highly adapted modes of domestication. For a visitor to the riverbank, there is a sense of tension; the feeling of intruding on private space, yet knowing that the private space itself is illicit. The Teverone settlements make the riverbank into a zone of ambiguous domestication, a disputed territory largely unknown to the city around it.
fig. 2 The Ponte Salario is one of few bridges over the Aniene until today. it marks the arrival to Rome from the North. The confluence of Aniene to the the Tiber is only a few hundred yards west. Ponte SalarioÂ in Rome, Italy (1820),Â Johann Christoph Erhard
fig. 3 Post-bulldozing: Wall fragment fallen down the river bank after demolition of a settlement. Patchwork sandwich construction with insulation and structural reinforcement. This structure was obviously placed along a frequently traveled trail and its presence must have been a provocation to authorities.
fig. 4 Artist’s Retreat: Riverfront property with vineyard and hedgerows and “borrowed” police tape. Located at the end of a long single trail this structure appears to be run by a local artist collective.
fig. 3 Exquisit Spatial Sequences: This net gate marks the last in a staged sequence of thresholds leading up to another residence carefully tucked under the foundations of a pipeline bridging the Aniene.
fig. 3 Ponte Mammolo: The impromptu bridge does not officially exist as a crossing of the river. It has been abandoned, closed, and re-appropriated by a community of Romanians with extensive settlements on both sides of the bridge. This crossing is heavily trafficked by this self-selected stratified community and certainly very few other people. Ponte Mammolo is one of the largest metro hubs in the vicinity of the capital.
fig. 6 Bamboo Interiors: This long room of bowing bamboo provides a hallway with rooms carved out of the sides; a broom and furniture are placed along its length of 50 feet along the course of the river. The bamboo tunnel walls run parallel to the river and are almost impenetrable.
fig. 6 Ponte Salario: Accommodation at the bottom of an abandoned trail along the steep riverbank. On the cracking asphalt trail, men are dismantling electric appliances to harvest and recycled metal components such as copper. What look at first like heaps of litter along the path are in fact carefully selected and sorted resources for mining valuable materials. The father and son I met justified this collecting practice as a viable economic activity outside crime and prostitution.
HANNAH BAREFOOT is a 2016 Master of Landscape Architecture graduate from the University of Virginia. She graduated with high honors from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a Bachelorâ€™s degree in Fine Art and English. Her research focuses on recuperating aesthetics and cultural association in landscape architecture through the examination of both flowers and the rural landscape. IAN CARR is a 2016 Master of Architecture graduate from the University of Virginia. He holds a Bachelors of Environmental Design from the University of Colorado at Boulder. CLAIRE CASSTEVENS is a Master of Landscape Architecture candidate at the University of Virginia. She holds a Bachelorâ€™s degree in Art History and Anthropology from Vassar College. Her current research interests include embodiment in the landscape, contemporary notions of the sublime, and the historic role of gardens and broader landscape design in spaces of learning. PHOEBE CRISMAN AIA is Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia, where she teaches design studios and lectures on architectural theory, urbanism and sustainability. EM CHENG is a Toronto-based designer and artist. She received her Masters of Architecture from the University of Toronto in 2011. She won the 2015 Cinecity Audience Choice Award for her film Taking Flight, and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Lost Spaces Calgary Ideas Competition. Her website is www.emcheng.com. AMANDA COEN is strongly influenced by her background, experiences and travels throughout life. She has a Bachelors degree from Macalester College in International Studies with minors in Studio Art and Anthropology. She is driven by a desire to re-configure human relationships to the surrounding landscape and resources. By observing, digging, drawing on multiple disciplines and learning from other cultures, she advocates for slight edits to existing conditions that invite new forms of engagement and create cultural associations that change the way we manage, use, see, and experience our immediate environments. ANA CUBILLOS-TORRES is a 2016 Master of Architecture candidate at the University of Virginia. JENNIFER DAVIS practices architecture, curating and art in Toronto, Canada. She graduated with a Master of Architecture from University of Toronto and has received numerous awards including the 2010 Power Corporation of Canada Award from the Canadian Centre for Architecture and an Honourable Mention in the 2015 Lost Spaces Calgary Competition. She is co-curator of Rear View (Projects), which commissioned Flipping Properties (2014) by Jimenez Lai and Bureau Spectacular. In Summer 2016 she is presenting How To Make Space, an exhibition that highlights the powerful way in which female migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong use temporary architectures to create community.
ALEXANDRA DIMITRI is a 2016 Master of Landscape Architecture graduate from the University of Virginia. In addition to her love of urban wild spaces and riparian landscapes, Alexandra is keenly interested in the use of plants and planted form in cities, and has studied in depth the possibility of using plants as a way to rethink land use patterns in shrinking American cities along the rustbelt. MARIA LETIZIA GARZOLI is currently completing an advanced degree in conservation at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her thesis work focuses on the INA-Casa program. SARAH GUNAWAN received her Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Architectural Studies from the University of Waterloo. She is interested in the socio-ecological complexities of the urban environment and the potential for architectural design to engage both human and non-human subjects. Sarah is currently a lecturer at the University of Waterloo and a designer for Lateral Office, an experimental design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism. DAVID HIMELMAN is a practicing architectural designer in New York. OLIVIA WYNNE HOUCK holds a Master of Architectural History from the University of Virginia. She has recently completed a thesis which engages with conceptions of nature, geology, and landscape within British travelogues to Iceland during the Victorian period. In hopefully pursuing doctoral studies she would like to expand this research to include the social and political history of British and American conceptions of the Arctic in the 19th and 20th centuries, and how these attitudes can be traced to our current understandings of the Arctic and the global environmental crisis. A.L. HU is a genderqueer first generation person of color who is currently a Master of Architecture student at Columbia Universityâ€™s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP). Their research, writing, and design work is at the intersection of gender, race, community, and architecture. A.L. is a GSAPP Program Council member; co-founder of GSAPP Students of Color Association; founding member of Queer Students of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation; and a GSAPP student representative on Columbia Universityâ€™s Race, Ethnicity, and Inclusion Task Force. A.L. uses the gender-neutral pronouns they, them, and theirs. RENNIE JONES and ABBY STONE are graduate students of architecture at Princeton University and share an interest in humanitarian design and social theory. Their thesis research focuses on alternative forms of sheltering refugee populations in existing urban sites, using strategies of infill and reuse. CAROL KAIFOSH is a candidate for a Master of Architecture degree at the University of Waterloo. Her research explores flexible architecture
for residential conditions of the increasingly urbanized and mobile world, investigating changing circumstances of daily life within the residential realm. KATIE LONG is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia and former editor of Lunch. Her current research focuses on intersections of cultural values, health anxieties, and patterns of domesticity. She is currently living and working in Rochester, NY and is looking forward to future investigations and collaborations in design. LUCY McFADDEN holds a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Virginia School of Architecture. She is interested in how socio-ecological systems materialize at the human scale as a way of understanding cultural landscapes at large. BRIAN OSBORN is an Assistant Professor at Cal Poly San Luis Opisbo. He holds a Master of Architecture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly, SLO. He has 8 years of teaching experience, most recently at the University of Virginia, where is was an Assistant Professor and the 2012-14 Virginia Teaching Fellow. His research interests include the use of digital design and production methods in the coupling of constructed form and biological systems. MARGARET REW, TAYLOR HEWETT, and KARILYN JOHANESEN graduated in 2016 from the University of Virginia with Masters of Architecture degrees. CURTIS ROTH is an Assistant Professor at the Knowlton School of Architecture at the Ohio State University and a 2015-2017 resident fellow of the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was previously a partner of OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion during the 14th International Architecture Exhibition â€“ la Biennale di Venezia. He investigates architectureâ€™s processes of cultural, economic and juridical valuation post-internet through diverse media productions including movies, video games, internet micro-economies, drawings, texts, and irl stuff. SCOTT SHINTON holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia. His work focuses on radical regeneration, visualizing phenomena, and uniting landscape architecture theory with practice. He holds a BA from Yale University and a certificate in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. JORG SIEWEKE is Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture at UVA. His research explores postmodern shifting paradigms regarding concepts of nature and how they affect the design of urban landscapes. Sieweke is founder and director of the research initiative paradoXcity exploring the rise and fall of DeltaCities with a focus on Venice, New Orleans, Baltimore, Hamburg, Rome and Portsmouth, Virginia. In 2014 he received a one-year DAAD Visiting Professor fellowship in Hamburg, Germany; in 2015 he was awarded the German Rome Prize - a one-year
residency at Villa Massimo. FLORENCE TWU is an emerging creative voice, currently working through issues of knowledge, space, and power in our contemporary political economy. Her perspective reflects her education in social theory and architecture. In design practice, she has contributed to projects of all scales, from installations to supertalls. Her recent work is also included in MAS Context, LOBBY, and Dichotomy. BONNIE-KATE WALKER is a Master of Landscape Architecture candidate at UVa and holds a bachelorâ€™s degree in anthropology and Latin American studies from University of Chicago. She is currently researching landscape adaptations to management regimes for different land use logics, the use of environmental sensing in site analysis and design. OWEN WEINSTEIN, LEED AP, Certified Passive House Consultant, M. Arch University of Virginia, BS Arch University of Cincinnati. A native of Washington DC, Owen is currently a completing a research fellowship at the University of Virginia studying the social, political, and spatial, responsibilities and opportunities of urban water systems. His favorite flavor of ice cream is butter pecan.
University of Virginia School of Architecture Campbell Hall PO Box 400122 Charlottesville, VA 22904 USA T +1 434 924 3715 F +1 434 982 2678 www.arch.virginia.edu www.uvalunch.com
The familiar understanding of the domestic increasingly fails to fit contemporary ecological and cultural realities. Friction at the boundar...
Published on Oct 20, 2016
The familiar understanding of the domestic increasingly fails to fit contemporary ecological and cultural realities. Friction at the boundar...