Inherent Vice

The studio will focus on the art of transforming and creating new landscapes within an urban site conditioned by existing infrastructure and complex contextual circumstances. Students will test out and develop design interventions addressing access and occupancy of an abandoned “off-limits” site in New York City.

A parallel investigation of clothing design will serve as a background preoccupation for exploring the art and medium of contemporary landscape form making, materiality and fabrication. In both clothing design and landscape architecture there are shared formal concerns for creating material structure(s) that fit an organic body.  In both clothing and landscape the materiality of form making needs to be conceived conceptually and tectonically to reflect the bodily needs to move, breathe and adapt. Both share physical constraints; in clothing those of protection from the environment and regulation of body heat and in landscape those of ecological process, movement of water and maintenance of habitat and vegetation. Both share cultural needs of expression such as identity and personality, social status, cultural background and ethnicity, sex and mating, power and politics as well as other cultural influences.

In clothing design the concept of inherent vice is the tendency in physical objects to deteriorate because of the fundamental instability of the components of which they are made, as opposed to deterioration caused by external forces. How landscapes are conceptually fabricated and their attitude toward this fundamental instability will be a focus of the studio.  To quote the couturier Charles James "All my seams have meaning".  We will explore the meaning of seams, junctures, materials and forms in designing landscapes that communicate to the contemporary condition of urbanization.

There will be three design exercises in this studio and a two-day field trip to the New York City metro area.