Territory Twister

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