Located at the disciplinary seam between architecture, landscape and urbanism, our work examines blurred thresholds, intersections and hybrid conditions - aesthetic, social, environmental, ethical and disciplinary. Within this agenda, another type of seam exists and is rarely addressed by designers: edges and gaps between one thing and another often resulting from a collision between scales and uses, unoccupied spaces under, over and along highways, railways and other infrastructure elements, urban voids, ruined places and leftover material evidence.
These spaces are both proliferating exponentially in our contemporary landscape and emerging as significant areas for theoretical speculation and design intervention. Whether urban, suburban or exurban locations, the normative language, methods and means of representation of a single discipline are insufficient and occasionally inadequate. These are sites encountered on a daily basis by a multitude of city residents, but still unseen and uninhabited in a significant way-a phenomenon I term "site out of mind".
Our earlier work centered on disused industrial spaces and transportation infrastructure has developed into a more conceptually based, rather than a land use based idea. Human perception and methods of representation are important considerations in this work, since many such places and things are literally unmapped and unseen. Ultimately we argue for a mode of attentiveness to the seemingly mundane and offers ways of understanding, making and acting in the everyday world.
These sites suggest a way of seeing, thinking and making architecture in the city not about the city of monuments and figure/field distinctions, and not just about the city of global flows and pervasive networks, but a re-evalutation of the gaps: the underfoot and unseen. We find these sites compelling because the typical rules do not apply (one rarely finds stringent design review, dictatorial neighborhood associations or typologically strong context), and architecture¡¯s normative language, methods and means of representation are not effective here. This seemingly problematic condition ultimately provides freedom for experimentation and even demands inventive types and scales of design.