margins and mushrooms: the all american city
these built landscapes should look familiar. they are the physical, commercial and social structure of our cities. maybe the paint color, glass type or rusting metal will differ but the architecture typology remains constant. via vehicle, the strip mall, gas station, or office building is practically unavoidable on any drive. not that these resources or services should be avoided but questioned. what is this terrain of asphalt, sidewalks and gravel in between home and destination, what is the margin? we’ve constructed it, we live in it, we continue to make it.
i don’t care to judge the marginal conditions as good or bad, there are both in different ways, and if you are interested the film Radiant City or movement New Urbanism can argue reasons these environments are depressing. aside from their effect, most of the public space in american cities are built of it, environments constructed as a result from other needs. margins are parking lots for the building, loading docks for the storage. margins are rarely used and often a modern pastoral.
i’m curious how our urban pastoral landscapes can be re-imagined. to start, all you need is to move sin car and the landscapes presents itself differently. so today i routed the neighborhood on bike and foot strangely confronting these wide desert landscapes with little boundaries. i swerved and backtracked often, looking and snapping photos and looking again. i could have navigated blind without falling or hitting another object. there should be architecture in these margins. there should be material pockets to capture our imagination, light and life.
i am on that hunt.