Territories of Flux

Gloria Chang (MDes ’18), Dení López (MDes ’18), Ruth Chang (MArch ’17)

Our project addresses the material transformation and flux of our built world, as well as the way they reconstruct the concept of land and water in human settlement and urbanization.

The Earth is a finite sphere defined by the amount of particles it can hold to its center, each layer compressing the one beneath it. The surface we inhabit transforms into a volume as we build up, out, and sometimes, down, over land and one day, sea. How we build increases in ecological impact in proportion to our population, as we slowly fill up this inhabitable volume.
Territories of Flux - Earth

To show human impact, building materials are mapped by density over time, graded concentrically from the core of the Earth, and travel counterclockwise. Natural materials are gridded and isolated, drawn out by humans, altered and brought to the surface to build our civilizations. As we build, we change our materials; we make them denser and lay them on the surface of the Earth in opposition to the natural layering of densities, thus altering the permeability of the crust and disrupting the flow of water.

In the plots of Mexico City and Toledo, Ohio, both the city and region are the result of the vivid and insistent cultural imaginations of its conquerors and inhabitants as they separated water from the land. Our project questions the predominance of land over water in telling the story of a place, tracing the process and ultimate crisis by which settlement has drawn boundaries, distinguished, channelized, and extracted water apart from the idea of ‘wetness’ in the landscape as a resource.