Caught Between Enclaves

The city today is a composite of structure and infrastructure which often produces areas of ambiguity that are caught between enclaves. By the passage of time and the inevitable evolutions driven by demand culture, the meanings and potentials of these zones can be lost or heightened. Structures, infrastructures and surfaces that may have lost their meaning or value as urban tools or spaces may still carry great potential due to context or to formal aspects that have gained individuality of character simply by the passing of time- others may be outdated. In urban areas of such high density and demand for space that even economic downturns of today\’s proportions have a buffered effect on development, these can be considered endangered spaces. The site is Coney Island, NYC. We will visit the site as well as current examples of infrastructures that are undergoing radical changes and reframing. The challenge of the studio will be to project new meaning and value for the site by rethinking, reusing, reinterpreting the existing infrastructures of transportation, leisure, and amusement, among others. Though there is some cultural acknowledgement of the importance of the space in question, its viability in economic terms must be reframed in order to have a chance to resist pressure for generic development schemes. This studio will encompass questions of landscape, urban space, ecology, and structure. The instructors have training in architecture and landscape architecture. and there will be two studio afternoon sessions per week. Every 3rd-4th week, there will be a single day long pin-up. We will also engage the expertise of a civil engineer specializing in development of the most current environmental technologies for water treatment, wetland construction, and other systems who will be available at key junctures and for at least 4 studio sessions. Students with backgrounds in landscape architecture, architecture and urban studies are encouraged to participate, and addressing all of these areas will be emphasized in the generation of solutions. We will especially encourage solutions that explore structural systems that seamlessly address the landscape and architectural conditions. The studio will begin with brief group investigations to quickly ascertain site conditions, context, the systems of existing infrastructure, etc. The studio will travel to the site early in the semester, but the students may wish to visit the site on their own if needed.