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mclainclutter | Design, Research, Writing Just another WordPress site 2012-12-12T22:27:44Z http://www.mclainclutter.com/?feed=atom WordPress mclain <![CDATA[News]]> http://www.mclainclutter.com/?p=19 2012-12-11T22:09:48Z 2010-08-27T17:05:54Z December 2012: Empty Pavilion is featured on Archinect, A/N Blog, mocoloco, suckerPUNCH, Architizer and more.

November 2012: Radical Railbanking and Scenarios for Detroit is one of two projects included in American Cities 2.5 at the McGill University School of Architecture. The exhibition features work by McLain Clutter and Mark Linder. Thanks to Aaron Sprecher for the invitation.

November 2012: The Empty Pavilion opens in Detroit.

September 2012: McLain Clutter presents Radical Railbanking at the MCA in …

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December 2012: Empty Pavilion is featured on Archinect, A/N Blog, mocoloco, suckerPUNCH, Architizer and more.

November 2012: Radical Railbanking and Scenarios for Detroit is one of two projects included in American Cities 2.5 at the McGill University School of Architecture. The exhibition features work by McLain Clutter and Mark Linder. Thanks to Aaron Sprecher for the invitation.

November 2012: The Empty Pavilion opens in Detroit.

September 2012: McLain Clutter presents Radical Railbanking at the MCA in Chicago as part of the conference Visionary Cities: Urban and Architectural Futures, organized by Alexander Eisenschmidt.

September 2012: McLain Clutter’s work is featured in Urban Infill vol. 5, Diagrammatically, edited by Terry Schwartz and Karen Lewis.

Summer 2012: McLain Clutter’s essay “The Essential Seagram” will appear in 306090 Books #15 (Non-) Essential Knowledge for (New) Architecture, edited by David L. Hays.

Spring 2012: McLain Clutter’s project Imaginary Apparatus: New York 1966-1975 was awarded a grant from the Graham Foundation. Project page.

Spring 2012: Work from McLain Clutter’s Winter 2010 studio The (i)Deal City will be featured in the 2012 International Architectural Biennale Rotterdam.

Spring 2012: Cleveland:Mediplex City will appear in Formerly Urban: Projecting Rust Belt Futures, edited by Julia Czerniak, from Princeton Architectural Press.

March 2012: McLain Clutter will chair a panel titled Registration and Projection: The Epistemologies of Urban Imaging Technologies at the ACSA 1ooth Annual Meeting, Digital Aptitudes at MIT.

April 2011: McLain Clutter chaired a panel titled Contemporary Projective Histories at the Future of History conference and the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture. Watch it on YouTube.

November 2010: McLain Clutter’s exhibit Latent City, in collaboration with Mark Linder, opened at Syracuse Architecture.

October 2010: McLain Clutter was an invited panelist at Formerly Urban: Projecting Rust Belt Futures, sponsored by Syracuse Architecture’s Upstate Institute. McLain presented a paper titled CLEVELAND: Mediplex City, which describes the complex relationship between the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland Clinic and speculates on tactics to leverage the hospital’s vitality in yield of urban development.

October 2010: McLain Clutter presented Radical Railbanking at the 2010 ACSA West Central Fall Conference, FLIP YOUR FIELD at the University of Illinois at Chicago. McLain’s presentation will be part of the Negotiation session, chaired by Alex Lehnerer of UIC and ALSO.

October 2010: McLain Clutter’s project Onondaga Creek was exhibited at the Pratt Institute as part of the ACADIA 2010 Conference, Life in:formation. The project is a collaboration with Mark Linder of Syracuse Architecture and CLEAR.

July 2010: McLain Clutter was a keynote speaker at the 2010 Chu Hai Archi-cultural Symposium in Hong Kong. The conference, Film, Architecture and City, was held at the Hong Kong Film Archive.

March 2010: Radical Railbanking was exhibited in SUPERFRONT LA  at the Pacific Design Center as part of UNPLANNED: Research and Experiments at the Urban Scale.

March 2010: McLain’s essay New York’s Highline and the Desire for the Real in Urban Real-Estate is featured in MONU 12, Real Urbanism.

March 2010: McLain spoke at the 2010 Society of Cinema and Media Studies Conference at the Saint Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. McLain participated in a session titled Apparatus: From Scopic Control to Scopic Potentials. chaired by Jon Yoder of Syracuse Architecture.

November 2009: McLain participated in the conference Urban Cinematics at the University of Cambridge, UK. McLain’s presentation was part of the Cinematic Urban Archeology session, chaired by Richard Koeck of Liverpool University.

August 2009: McLain Clutter has been appointed to the faculty of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan.

July 2009: Imaginary Apparatus: Film Production and Urban Planning in New York City, 1966-1975 is featured in Grey Room 35.

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mclain <![CDATA[City / School]]> http://www.mclainclutter.com/?p=263 2012-12-10T20:09:26Z 2011-08-21T21:55:11Z Summer 2011

Entry for the 2011 Cleveland Competition

Assisted by Bryan Alcorn and Katie Baldwin

City/School is miniature city within the city of Cleveland, and a new home for Campus International School. The scheme imagines a future student body for CIS of 1500 students, and locates the school within a bustling enclave of urban activity. The intent is to integrate the diversity and culture of urban life into the educational experience, while stimulating the surrounding city through the school’s presence. …

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Summer 2011

Entry for the 2011 Cleveland Competition

Assisted by Bryan Alcorn and Katie Baldwin

City/School is miniature city within the city of Cleveland, and a new home for Campus International School. The scheme imagines a future student body for CIS of 1500 students, and locates the school within a bustling enclave of urban activity. The intent is to integrate the diversity and culture of urban life into the educational experience, while stimulating the surrounding city through the school’s presence. Encompassing the entire site provided in the competition brief, City/School begins by imposing a miniature urban grid of pedestrian streets, with two diagonal “shortcuts” that provide vehicular access, visual connection to downtown Cleveland, and a connection to Cleveland State University. On the ground level, the building meets the urban grid as a series of small pavilions. These pavilions house entries to the CIS, as well as retail, office, residential and educational programs that have been selected based on their synergy with the school. Additional blocks have been zoned for future development.  On the second floor, blocks combine to provide sufficient contiguous floor space for the school and other programs. The CIS is organized around a large “interior urbanism” commons composed of a distributed library, special media and language classrooms, the cafeteria and other public programs. Growing out from this central commons are branches of classrooms organized by academic concentration. The high-school is on the second floor (the most public), while elementary school (complete with a playground) is protected on the fourth floor. The scheme grounds the school within a miniature and intensified urbanism at its exterior, while organizing the school around an equally intense interior urbanism. Thus, City/School is doubly, and enthusiastically, invested in the value of urban life as a pedagogical tool.

Site

Formally, City/School is conceived both as a mega-form with regulated building envelopes that slope to accommodate view corridors, and as a network of individual figural buildings. From a car, or from far away, the complex looks like one giant building. From up-close, or from within the network of pedestrian streets, the mega-form dissimulates into a collection of figures.  Hence, like a miniature Manhattan, the urban blocks host figural expressions of programmatic diversity, while working together to form a larger urban experience. This duality springs from an investment in two, seemingly contradictory, readings of urbanism. Cities are both collections of figural monuments and places that solicit memory and association, and networks of systems, infrastructures and economies. City/School seeks to immerse the educational experience in each of these readings of urbanism.

A collection of urban figures

A network of figures in formation.

Program Diagram: School programs are above, in pink. Complimentary urban programs are below.

Fourth Floor Plan: Grades K-5

Third Floor Plan: Grades 6-8 and Commons

Second Floor Plan: Grades 9-12 and Commons

Ground Floor Plan: Entry to school and urban programs

Sections

Aerial Perspective

View to entry pavilion and Cleveland State University

Second and Third Floor Commons

View towards downtown

 

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mclain <![CDATA[Empty Pavilion]]> http://www.mclainclutter.com/?p=298 2012-12-11T22:28:28Z 2012-12-08T23:04:11Z November 2012

The Empty Pavilion is a meditation on Detroit’s evacuated urban context and an experiment in architecture’s ability to activate a latent public in the city. The project aspires to distribute just enough material across empty space – an element Detroit has in excess – to make that space legible and promote interaction. From a distance, the project engages the onlooker in a visual game of fleeting figuration. The pavilion is conceived as a collection of architectural figures drawn-in-space. …

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November 2012

The Empty Pavilion is a meditation on Detroit’s evacuated urban context and an experiment in architecture’s ability to activate a latent public in the city. The project aspires to distribute just enough material across empty space – an element Detroit has in excess – to make that space legible and promote interaction. From a distance, the project engages the onlooker in a visual game of fleeting figuration. The pavilion is conceived as a collection of architectural figures drawn-in-space. From certain vantage points, and only momentarily, the project recalls familiar architectural elements that may entice memory – like the roof line of house, a chimney, a hallway, or a staircase. From other vantages, the project presents clear, and yet unfamiliar, architectural figures – thus soliciting projective association.  Up-close, the pavilion is meant to encourage physical interaction. Elements within the design suggest differing modes of occupation, such as seating, lounging and climbing. Constructed of bent steel tubing, foam and rubber, the pavilion is counter-intuitively soft to the touch, begging tactile engagement.

The relationship between the pavilion and its site is meant to lend definition to the otherwise unvariegated surrounding emptiness and vaguely recall the site’s history. Located in an empty field that was once divided into a series of residential lots, the project loosely describes the volume of the house that once sat in its place. The design of the ground plane further recalls the absent house, drawing the shape of its shadow in gravel surrounded by the painted profile of that cast by the new pavilion.  From within, the pavilion frames views out to historically important civic buildings. For example, traversing a passage carved under and through the pavilion, the project directs one’s view out to the empty shell of Detroit’s monumental Michigan Central Railroad Station.  From the opposite direction, the project frames a view of the Renaissance Center, General Motor’s headquarters in Detroit.

Scheduled to remain in place for a year, the relationship between the pavilion and its surrounding public will be documented in video and photography. Thus, the project’s successes and failures in soliciting a latent public will become part of the research.  The Empty Pavilion was funded by a Research Through Making grant from the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture.

Empty Pavilion is a collaboration with Kyle Reynolds, and the project team included Ariel Poliner, Mike Sanderson and Nate Van Wylan.

 

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mclain <![CDATA[Radical Railbanking]]> http://www.mclainclutter.com/?p=6 2012-12-11T15:25:35Z 2010-08-27T01:52:41Z Fall 2009-Summer 2012

I. Geodemography

Over the past several decades, the use of geodemographic data has grown ubiquitous in the regulation of urban land use and development. City planning commissions use geodemography to aid in the implementation of policy, and private corporations reference geodemographic data when purchasing, selling or developing real-estate. Demand for geodemographics has created a surging industry of providers, such as Claritas and Axciom, that collate and retail data for commercial use. These corporations collect census data, consumer …

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Fall 2009-Summer 2012

I. Geodemography

Over the past several decades, the use of geodemographic data has grown ubiquitous in the regulation of urban land use and development. City planning commissions use geodemography to aid in the implementation of policy, and private corporations reference geodemographic data when purchasing, selling or developing real-estate. Demand for geodemographics has created a surging industry of providers, such as Claritas and Axciom, that collate and retail data for commercial use. These corporations collect census data, consumer spending statistics, figures scraped from internet usage, and information about race, ethnicity, sexuality, income and consumer tastes. These statistics are then amalgamated into data called market segmentation sets, which describe idiosyncratic and highly synthesized consumer identities and link these identities to their spatial locations in our cities or urbanized areas. These data sets, and their instrumentalization through GIS, attempt to make the distribution of identity across geographic space scientifically knowable. In doing so, these practices impose a narrow epistemological regime – privileging extant quantitative variation over latent qualitative difference and accepting as scientific fact distinctions about race, gender and ethnicity that are merely naturalized. For these reasons, among others, market segmentation geodemography is often assailed as statistically unfounded, and ideologically contentious.

Nevertheless, market segmentation sets are increasingly used to guide commercial urban development. Thus, the built environment plays a critical role in their instrumentalization. When real-estate companies use market segmentation data to choose a site for development, the resultant buildings deeply implicate the synthetic identities targeted. The presence of the shopping malls, big-box outlets or fields of coffee houses that result encourages the predicted consumer behavior. These entities become territorial beacons for the collection of a specific combination of consumers. United in space, this combination of consumers – in effect – becomes the synthesized consumer identity described in the operative geodemography. In this way, development guided by market segmentation geodemographics forges a complexly solipsistic relationship between constructed consumer identity, and the construction of the built environment. These practices serve to reify artificial sociocultural divisions based on the categories of data collection and limit potential urban development to the repetition of conventional consumer building formats. Thus, while some have argued against the validity of market segmentation data, and this data’s underlying demographic distinctions are constructed, the development guided by market segmentation geodemography serves to make its assumptions real. These data sets re-describe the spatiality of our cities as an assemblage of spatio-statistical territories populated by hybridized consumer identities.

II. Railbanking

Figure 1: Aerial of Detroit with selected railways in pink

Territories lining the railways in Detroit

Railbanking is a process through which unused railways and easements may be turned over for development as public space. Historically, railways have been assembled from land parcels with varied and discrete ownership types. Some parcels are owned out-right by rail companies, while others are regulated by complex ownership agreements, limited rights of use or temporary government land grants. When a rail company abandons a railway, property rights for the land parcels composing the rail default to differing beneficiaries depending on their original ownership type. Railbanking provides an omnibus legal proceeding through which the complex patterns of ownership around an unused railway may be consolidated and a new public realm may emerge.

This project hijacks and radicalizes the tactics of railbanking by manipulating geodemography through the productive misuse of conventional GIS software. In doing so, the project attempts to locate a constructive position relative to the hegemony of market segmentation geodemography from which the architect can operate. The project’s site encompasses several lengths of active railway in Detroit that currently negotiate abrupt formal and demographic division. (Figure 1) Just as conventional railbanking uses a legal proceeding to consolidate land rights in yield of public space, Radical Railbanking uses GIS to analyze and recombine development potentials that are latent in the spatial and statistical relationships between the land parcels along Detroit’s rails. The process makes visible potentials for urban development that would not register within the episteme of conventionally applied geodemography.

Key to the Radical Railbanking process is a modeling technique called TIN modeling. Common to many GIS platforms, TIN is an acronym for Triangular Interpolated Network. TINs are typically used in GIS to model topography and enable subsequent ecological analyses. But Radical Railbanking misuses TIN models to eschew and hybridize the categories of conventional geodemography. Thus, while most applications of GIS are fundamentally positivist and limited by the categories of data collection within their applied geodemography, this project is fundamentally relational, spatially and statistically reformulating data.

An initial TIN model is created by offsetting the profile of the selected railways one half mile to each if its sides and interpolating population density values as they register at the offset lines across the resultant corridor. (Figure 2) This interpolation creates a model with an abruptly serrated profile, imaging differing intensities in population density in relation to the geometric offset of the selected railways. Thus, statistical certainty is reformulated as a spatial and statistical relationship. The serrated model is analyzed and the ridges with the highest values are isolated. These ridges indicate relatively high population density values where they intersect with either one, or both, railway-offset lines. Lines at the locations of these ridges are projected back onto the city and combined with the railways to create a “Connective Armature Diagram” across the railway’s dormant proximity. This is a projective diagram for new development along the railway that, critically, is based on a fundamental reformulation of conventional geodemography. The diagram is meant to locate trajectories for development that might stitch together unusually vital neighborhoods, channel one zone of higher density into another of lower density, and organize the aggregation of further spatio-statistical relationships in a second round of analysis.

The geometry of the Connective Armature Diagram is then used as a basis for a series of second-generation TINs. (Figure 3) Datasets for these TINs are chosen for one of two reasons. The first category of data sets relate to conventional demographic categories that seek to define a “community” such as the African American “community” or the Hispanic “community.” Under this category, demographics are used for the total African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, and Youth populations. The second category of data sets are chosen because they relate to programs that have been historically conceptualized as structural elements within urbanism, such as schools, churches or transit stations. Under this category, demographic figures such as the Blue-Collar Worker Population, the Highly Educated Population, the Religion Index and Mass Transit Ridership are used. This step in the Radical Railbanking process images relationships between data values as they register on the Connective Armature Diagram, and projects those relationships across the space between. Hence, standard geodemography, with all of its positivist biases, is again reformulated and made increasingly spatially and statistically relational. No longer representing a singular statement of statistical “fact,” the second generation TINs reformulate and hybridize datasets in relation to the Connective Armature Diagram and the data used in its initial creation. The result is a set of TIN models of complex pseudo-topographic triangulation. These models are then analyzed using a standard topographic analysis function to isolate only those faces of their triangulated surfaces with the most intense slope values. (Figure 4) Under the assumption that the territories with the highest gradient of difference are those most potentially mercurial, these high-slope faces are interpreted as regions in the compound spatio-statistical relationships imaged where the values indicate volatility, or where the most possibility for change exists. In each of these steps, the intended uses of conventional GIS are co-opted, and geodemographic classifications are hybridized.

Figure 2

Figure 3: Second Generation TIN

Figure 4: High Slope Regions

III. Rezoning and Pattern Recognition

The high-slope regions are then projected back on to the city. The resultant drawing is conceptualized as a kind of re-imagined zoning map. Figure 5 Added to the map are fields of very low value, land banked or city owned properties. These are thought of as parcels immediately available for use in any future redevelopment strategy. Also added are schools, parks, and major roads, all of which are understood as existing entities that may inform decision making. When high slope regions from the Blue Collar Population TIN occupy available parcels, they are labeled Production Territories, hosting new factories, company towns and so on; high slopes from the Religion Index TIN create Religious Territories, hosting centers of worship, pilgrimage trails, distributed nunneries, and more; high slopes from the Highly Educated Population TIN generate Educational Territories, suggesting new vocational training facilities, magnet schools and the reuse of residential fabric as dormitories or faculty housing. Similar territorial designations are made for zones where each of the high slopes from the second generation TINs intersect available land. (See Figure 13 Legend) Within these territories, incentives are sometimes stipulated for urban programs that directly solicit a demographic or market group modeled, like a tax bonus for new green-industry development where an intense relationship between blue collar worker populations occurs. Elsewhere, in zones where several intense spatio-demographic relationships overlap, urban programs that cut-across or hybridize the conventional categories of geodemography are encouraged – like megachurches or sports complexes. These kinds of entities are labeled “Civic Infrastructures.” The Connective Armature Diagram, which is latently present as the geometric base of the spatio-demographic relationships modeled in the TINs, is concretized as incentives for the development of a continuous network of public spaces that stitches neighborhoods together. The map strategically encourages a series of contemporary “best-practice” urban programs – like urban farming and community centers – but deploys them in a way that is meant to intensify the relationship between urban programs and events, elevating latent urban volatility. The map is sometimes blatantly prescriptive, but these prescriptions are intended to be catalytic of playful and unpredictable urban development.

Most zoning maps simply segregate occupancy and regulate development density, and could thus easily sit within the positivist episteme of conventional geodemography. Counter to this, the Radical Railbanking zoning map displays a rich density of pattern reading against pattern; relationships compounding and inflecting one-another. Using the map to generate strategies for urban development requires a process of pattern recognition: deciphering, designing, and making rules for operating within the relationships that the map makes visible. Hence, the map becomes a sort of medium for the projection of architectural and urban imagination, but one that is yielded through a co-opting of techniques of scientific control. Unlike the commercial or mainstream applications of geodemography, the map never reiterates or reifies conventional or constructed identity categories. Instead, buildings and urban designs guided by the Radical Railbanking process incentivize the emergence of creative urban identities and hybrid urban collectives – describing a city that is solicitous of imaginative architectural interventions.

Figure 5: Final zoning map

Final Zoning Map enlargements

Radical Railbanking opening at McGill University as part of American Cities 2.5D

 

 

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mclain <![CDATA[Territory Twister]]> http://www.mclainclutter.com/?p=24 2012-12-11T16:20:28Z 2010-08-28T00:05:45Z Summer 2011

Territory Twister is a theoretical project sited within the zoned conditions described in Radical Railbanking. The project is located in the southwest side of Detroit, next to Mexican Town and directly adjacent to the popular Mexican Town Flea Market. Territory Twister attempts to gerrymander a material environment for social interaction within an otherwise lifeless neighborhood. The form of the project is determined through an iterative “relaxed” redrawing of the site boundary. The result is a layered boundary …

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Summer 2011

Territory Twister is a theoretical project sited within the zoned conditions described in Radical Railbanking. The project is located in the southwest side of Detroit, next to Mexican Town and directly adjacent to the popular Mexican Town Flea Market. Territory Twister attempts to gerrymander a material environment for social interaction within an otherwise lifeless neighborhood. The form of the project is determined through an iterative “relaxed” redrawing of the site boundary. The result is a layered boundary that is meant to confused conventional notions of property ownership and public and private. The layered boundary is translated sectionally, becoming a drive-in extension of the ground plane that winds atop itself as it moves vertically. Over time, the curb that separates the land parcel from the road would be intentionally neglected, thus crumbling and leaving only the tenuous spatiality of the building hovering overhead to loosely define territorial boundary. The glass enclosure of the building is etched with a vertical line pattern that manipulates readings of depth, further confusing one’s boundary perception. Drawing on the zoning map, the project includes an extension of the Mexican Town Flea Market, religious facilities, public and private sports facilities, light manufacturing, and various other public and private programs. The spiraling organization of the building manifests its programs within a spatial enclosure that is meant to re-mix these publics and spark social interaction.

Territory Twister site in Radical Railbanking zoning map

The geometry of the site is repeated “relaxed” and redrawn to confuse the site boundary condition. The drawings are layered upon one-another to produce a thickened, multiple, boundary zone.

The thickened boundary conditions are translated into a single spiraling surface that extends the ground-plain into the building. The winding surface loosely establishes a series of thresholds sectionally. A pattern of lines that manipulates one’s reading of depth is applied to the enclosure, camoflaging the columns and further confusing the territorial reading.

An early study model

The plans are conceived as a hybrid drawings between a typical architectural plan and a zoning map. The extent of the horizontal surface, enclosure and structure are defined, and interior programs are suggested through zoned incentives for development. Programs include a new home for the Mexican Town Flea Market, Truck Stop programs to cater to the local container industry workers, light industrial development, places of worship and sports facilities.

Model photographs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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mclain <![CDATA[Scenarios for Detroit]]> http://www.mclainclutter.com/?p=359 2012-12-11T21:52:22Z 2012-12-11T21:13:17Z Summer 2012

Assisted by Se Hee Kim

The following scenarios for Detroit are based on an incomplete process of interpreting the Radical Railbanking zoning map.

Dequindre Cut

The Dequindre Cut is a portion of inactive railway that has been partially converted to a pedestrian path. Recessed thirty feet below the surrounding city, the Cut surfaces north of Gratiot Avenue, where rail once serviced the wholesale and meatpacking industry at Eastern Market. Despite the surrounding blight, Eastern Market thrives as a …

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Summer 2012

Assisted by Se Hee Kim

The following scenarios for Detroit are based on an incomplete process of interpreting the Radical Railbanking zoning map.

Dequindre Cut

The Dequindre Cut is a portion of inactive railway that has been partially converted to a pedestrian path. Recessed thirty feet below the surrounding city, the Cut surfaces north of Gratiot Avenue, where rail once serviced the wholesale and meatpacking industry at Eastern Market. Despite the surrounding blight, Eastern Market thrives as a major civic institution, becoming more prominent in recent years as a symbol of Detroit’s awaited urban resurgence. At present, the Dequindre Cut stops at a busy automotive intersection, forgoing the opportunity to connect with Eastern Market.

The zoning map recommends the introduction of Religious Territories, Production Territories, civic infrastructure and a transit center. However, except for one large lot at the intersection of the Dequindre Cut and Gratiot Avenue, few parcels are vacant in the immediate surroundings, while a handful are available at the furthest reach of the map’s one-mile territory. Additionally, several disconnected production, civic and religious facilities exist within the map’s corridor. In this scenario, a future is imagined where the disconnected facilities in each category are networked and routed through the Dequindre Cut, along with a system of parkland that unites a scattered array of green space throughout the site. Where possible, vacant parcels are zoned for the extension of each network. As each network meets the Dequindre Cut, it forms a different kind of public sectional space. Religious facilities make the sectional transition with stairs that serve as seating for exterior sanctuaries; the network of civic institutions meets the Cut with terraces meant to solicit unpredictable public interaction; the production facilities are connected by bridges that link to peripheral housing for workers. Each system’s sectional qualities at the Cut are designed to be mutually visible, promoting interaction between and across each network’s constituencies.

 

Conner Creek

Conner Creek is located in northwest Detroit. The neighborhood is most remembered for 20th century mortar factories along the railway, built on top of a creek that once crossed the area. The water table in Conner Creek remains very high as the creek continues to flow underground. When the factories closed, they left behind a cluster of land parcels scaled for industrial development, lining the railway and dividing the neighborhoods to either side. With the introduction of the highway system, and over time, these large land parcels became home to a cluster of campuses or enclaves, such as Wayne County Community College and a mental health hospital.  Each programmatic enclave is unusually vital, but each operates insularly, in mutual exclusion from its surroundings.

The zoning map recommends the introduction of Religious Territories, Production Territories, civic infrastructure and a transit center. The available land includes a large formerly industrial parcel immediately adjacent to the rail and an array of surrounding vacant residential lots. Given the unusual context of vital enclave development with lifeless urban fabric between, this scheme aspires to implement a commons within which the constituents of the enclaves may mix with those attendant to newly recommended programs. The large formerly industrial parcel is divided into a densely packed clustering of circular lots, straddling and usurping the railway. Critical connections are established out to the surrounding campuses, especially along the vectors from the zoning map, and a selection of parcels are chosen for larger programmatic catalysts, such as union halls and religious facilities. This arrangement is though of as an urban medium within which new programs may be inserted, the existing enclaves may expand, and the constituents of each may intermingle. The circular organization is meant to encourage indirect meandering between structures, and some cells are excavated and allowed to flood with water from the subterranean creek. These ponds then solicit uncanny interaction – baptisms, bathing, machinery cooling and more.

 

Chaldean Town

Near the northern border of Detroit is Chaldean Town. This area is a point of arrival for Chaldean Christians from the Middle East, an ethnic division of Catholicism highly steeped in ceremony. The Chaldeans have historically maintained a tightly knit community, working in small businesses meant to serve the local constituents. The urban fabric reflects this, as the region is primarily residential in scale, with small retail and community facilities lining arterial roads. As in most of Detroit, this urban fabric has experienced decades of deterioration, leaving porous fields of residential fabric, dotted with the occasional commercial establishment or community facility.

The zoning map recommends the introduction of Education Territories, Religious Territories, Production Territories, and civic infrastructure. As noted, most of the parcels available for redevelopment are residential in scale. This scenario imagines creating discrete networks of educational, religious, productive and civic entities – each reusing and connecting diffuse residential vacancies. The educational network connects a series of small schoolhouses; the religious network connects a series of house-sized chapels and shrines; the productive network imagines a factory distributed throughout the area’s houses; and so on. In each network, the residential vacancies are linked through circulation space aggregated from alleys or unused side yards. Inspired by the Chaldean propensity for ritual, movement along each network is conceived as a kind a ceremonial procession, affording the community a routine spectacle around which the public may consolidate.

 

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mclain <![CDATA[Onondaga Creek]]> http://www.mclainclutter.com/?p=26 2011-08-21T20:59:33Z 2010-08-28T00:13:58Z Spring, 2010

This transdisciplinary project proposes that Geographic Information Systems can be converted into a productive tool for architecture and urban design by developing innovative urban modeling techniques using commonly available census and municipal data. Now ubiquitous in urban planning and real-estate development, GIS most commonly uses spatio-demographic data to validate or reify conventional planning practices. This project exploits the ubiquity of GIS by converting data-sets with discrete categories and boundaries into pliable and fluid relational topologies. These manipulations of …

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Spring, 2010

This transdisciplinary project proposes that Geographic Information Systems can be converted into a productive tool for architecture and urban design by developing innovative urban modeling techniques using commonly available census and municipal data. Now ubiquitous in urban planning and real-estate development, GIS most commonly uses spatio-demographic data to validate or reify conventional planning practices. This project exploits the ubiquity of GIS by converting data-sets with discrete categories and boundaries into pliable and fluid relational topologies. These manipulations of spatial data explore the proposition that models for describing and understanding web-based virtual communities are also useful for describing the potential organization of communities in actual, urban space.  We propose that when these topologies are superimposed on conventional plans or maps they suggest new kinds of densities, intensities, gaps, territories, and latent communities in cities – deeply implicating design strategies for repurposing or modifying existing infrastructure and incentivizing the development of properties.

The Onondaga Creek Project identifies latent communities and underutilized properties that exist in proximity to a neglected but important element of infrastructure and landscape in a typical shrinking city. GIS is used to correlate the spatial organization of latent communities and dormant properties that might anchor these communities, and to propose design strategies focused on sustainable development through land banking, environmental remediation, and the linking of educational and recreational facilities.  Ultimately, the aim is to propose unprecedented forms of urbanism that might emerge in cities of declining density and increasing diversity.

1. First Generation TINs and Line Graph

1a. The profile of Onondaga Creek is selected and offset at 500’ intervals into the city of Syracuse. For each offset, a TIN (triangular interpolated network) model is projected across the resultant valley, based on the land values per square foot along the offset lines. Hence, networks of unusually high property value are projected across the Creek, implicating the Creek’s participation in the system imaged. TIN models are usually used in GIS to create topographies. This project uses TINs to image spatio-statistical relationships that make visible latent sustainable urbanisms.

1b. Line graphs are creating charting the values of the TIN models from 1a as they cross Onondaga Creek. The peak values in these graphs are isolated. These peaks represent potential high land value vectors across the Creek that may be leveraged or articulated in future development.

2. Peak Value Vectors

2a. The peak property values vectors isolated in 1b are grafted back on to the city fabric.

2b. The Peak Value Vectors are saturated with the demographic data pertaining to the land parcels that they intersect.

3. Second Generation TINs

3a-3f. A series of second-generation TIN models are interpolated that image a series of spatio-statistical values as they intersect the Peak Value Vectors from 2. The values used for these TINs fall under three statistical categories: Economic, Recreational and Educational.

4. High Slope Areas in Second Generation TINs

4a-4f. The Second-Generation TINs created in 3 are analyzed, and the faces of the models with the highest slope values are isolated. These high-slope zones are understood to be the most volatile areas in relation to the spatio-statistical values used in their creation. They contain the most latent potential for development relative to the values they image

5. Hybrid Voids

The land parcels of the city that are either Vacant, seriously Tax Delinquent, or of very Low Land Value (<$4,000) are isolated. Where these parcels are adjacent to one another they are joined into one large parcel. Finally, all combined parcels of greater that 40,000 square feet are isolated. These parcels are of sufficient size to host large public or private development that might catalyze future urbanisms.


6. Intersect Voids and Slopes

The High Slope areas isolated in 4 are layered  and overlaid with the Hybrid Voids isolated in 5. Where the layered High Slope areas fill the Hybrid Voids, potentially sustainable urban programs and development strategies are suggested.


7. Zoned for New Sustainable Urbanisms

The city is re-zoned to encourage development that will concretized the latent communities implicated in the GIS analysis. Zoned urban developments enroll both private and public interests, and include both top-down regulations and bottoms-up emergent urbanisms.

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mclain <![CDATA[Detroit Shape Scape]]> http://www.mclainclutter.com/?p=240 2012-12-11T18:40:49Z 2011-08-21T18:31:28Z Summer 2011

The Detroit Shape-Scape is a theoretical project sited within the zoned conditions described in Radical Railbanking, and aspires to concretize the latent publics implicates in that project. The project is conceived as mini city within the city, housing a programmatic diversity characteristic of a vital metropolis. The program includes interior and exterior public spaces, an expansion of the adjacent Wayne State University, student residences, rentable space for craftsmen and artists, stops for existing and proposed mass transit …

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Summer 2011

The Detroit Shape-Scape is a theoretical project sited within the zoned conditions described in Radical Railbanking, and aspires to concretize the latent publics implicates in that project. The project is conceived as mini city within the city, housing a programmatic diversity characteristic of a vital metropolis. The program includes interior and exterior public spaces, an expansion of the adjacent Wayne State University, student residences, rentable space for craftsmen and artists, stops for existing and proposed mass transit systems, bike storage for commuters, and commercial programs. The project catalyzes this programmatic mix within a formal strategy that mimics the formation of many American cities. The site is divided into a miniature urban grid and then each block is made host to a small building that is manipulated in a simulation of common incentive zoning policies. Each block provides exterior public space through a setback of the ground level plan; and light and air is provided between blocks through a setback of the upper levels. On the ground level, the manipulations result in a complexly interwoven mesh of program and interior and exterior space. On the upper levels, the setbacks provide an opportunity for visual connections across programs. The miniature buildings meet at the second level, resulting in a vast interior urbanism, where sectional voids and vertical circulation cores provide locational anchors in a labyrinthine urban organization. On the exterior, the complex is shaped to visually align into a single skyline figure when viewed at high speeds from the highway and arterial roads, while dissolving into a collection of figural buildings when viewed by pedestrians or from the vantage of slower traffic.

Site of Radical Railbanking zoning map

Left: An urban organization is collaged within the site; a mini-metropolis within the city. Right: The collaged urban organization is formalized.

Each block is regulated by generalized zoning envelope.

The complex touches the ground as a series of pavilions that define a network of small exterior public spaces. Together, they form a matrix of interior and exterior public rooms. On the second floor, the individual pavilions join to create a vast interior urbanism, combining the constituencies of the pavilions below. Above the second floor, the complex forms a series of miniature housing towers.

 

Model photographs

The complex is shaped to visually align into a single skyline figure when viewed at high speeds from the highway and arterial roads, while dissolving into a collection of figural buildings when viewed by pedestrians or from the vantage of slower traffic.

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mclain <![CDATA[Cleveland: MEDIPLEX CITY]]> http://www.mclainclutter.com/?p=195 2011-08-21T21:24:19Z 2010-11-15T00:06:34Z In-Progress

Once the fourth largest city in the United States and a major industrial center, Cleveland has lapsed into decades of sustained decline. The loss of its middle class population and economic base in manufacturing has left the city financially and physically in shambles. Amidst this perfect storm of bad news, one sector of Cleveland’s economy has been growing prodigiously: healthcare. The Cleveland Clinic, the city’s medical namesake, is now its largest employer and a cornerstone of Cleveland’s economy. Throughout …

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In-Progress

Once the fourth largest city in the United States and a major industrial center, Cleveland has lapsed into decades of sustained decline. The loss of its middle class population and economic base in manufacturing has left the city financially and physically in shambles. Amidst this perfect storm of bad news, one sector of Cleveland’s economy has been growing prodigiously: healthcare. The Cleveland Clinic, the city’s medical namesake, is now its largest employer and a cornerstone of Cleveland’s economy. Throughout the past twenty years the Clinic has developed acres of the city’s east side, while developing a symbiotic relationship with Cleveland’s urban blight.  Probing the economic, intellectual and aesthetic roots of the Clinic’s symbiosis with its host city, this paper will provide a framework for designers to re-think the relationship between Cleveland and its Clinic – urging that a new type of city rise at the synthesis of urbanism and urban hospital.

 

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