Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thinking Out of the Box, Pt. 2

Following the big box threads of the previous post, some of the speculative work of Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis (LTL) offers another viewpoint towards the idea of a tranformed development archetype.

:: image via LTL

I think half of my interest in LTL is the concepts, the other half is the interesting graphic techniques - many of them section-perspective overlays of sketchup and other 3-D graphics with a variety of hand-sketching, complete with graphite smearing that gives a wonderful feel to their drawings.

:: The Graphic Technique (Park Tower) LTL - image via AIA NY

They remind me (at least stylistically) quite a bit of the pomo sci-fi renderings by Lebbeus Woods that we all drooled over in college as we envisioned William Gibson cyberpunk novels come to life.

:: Sketch by Lebbeus Woods - image via e-tba

Shifting gears back to Big Box, my colleague Brett Milligan picked up Opportunistic Architecture while we were in the midst of the Habitats competition about a year ago... and I had another opportunity to take a closer look recently as well. The speculative project New Suburbanism is a great addition to this discussion of repurposing big box areas for new uses. Check out the remainder of LTL's work as well when you get a chance.

:: image via Better World Books

From the LTL website: "In New Suburbanism individual houses reformat existing desires, creatively reclaiming the normative suburban spatial logic determined by commodified rooms and features. In the New Suburbanism proposal, the house arrangements are made through exploiting the reciprocal relationship between the figural commodity rooms and the free space of the public programs, initiating a spatial play not achieved in the stilted plans of typical homes and setting the stage for unprecedented mass customization. In New Suburbanism, latent desires of suburbia are exploited, lamentable redundancies are absolved, and new sectional matings are established in continued pursuit of the American Dream."

:: images via The Curated Object

As you notice in the images of New Suburbanism above and below, there an interesting juxtaposition of 'big-box' elements tucked under and facing opposite to a more residential occupied space that sits atop the rooftop, utilizing this often disregarded spaces. This simple folding adds a level of complexity to the spatial arrangement, but also separating visually and physically the two uses - while allowing for the practicalities of auto traffic and movement of goods in an out of spaces.

:: image via The Curated Object

:: image via ArquitecturaMNP

The plan gives a further clue to the overall form, which does show the similar underlying box form, with the more residential character overlaid atop this - along with shared community amenities such as sports fields and open spaces. Definitely another interesting viewpoint to add to the discussion about big-box reuse and reconfiguration.

:: image via ArquitecturaMNP

And thanks much Damien from the great site World Landscape Architect - who directed me to the immense Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne - weighing in at a hefty 1.6 million square feet, with an associated 10,000 stall parking lot. Not necessarily up to Mall of America (2.5 million s.f.) standards, but it brings up a good point... we discuss big box stores, but what about the greening of the mega-mall?

Wonder what LTL could do with this one?

:: Chadstone Shopping Centre - image via Google Earth

1 comment:

  1. I really love the direction this last series of posts is going. There is a major oppotunity that is being presented with the escelating price of energy. Rather than seeing that as a cataclysm or ignoring that reality all together these proposals really show optimism for the future. They begin to explore how we can make communities better than they might be even today. Each proposal is exploring how to get the most use out of every space and I think that that concept is one of the most over looked today.


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