Archive for July, 2010


July 26, 2010

A great quote about ‘mapping’- merely exposing patterns and phenomena, thus ultimately confirming the status quote- vs. ‘project’- a superimpositon on an abstract template.

“So which is the lesser evil? To risk losing oneself in the analysis of current conditions, or to seemingly superimpose a new reality, at the expense of the vitality of everyday life in the city? Without mapping, there is no reality-based project; only fiction or worse, pure aggression. However, without project, there is no discipline of architecture or urbanism: for these fields are, by their very definition, about altering the topography of civilization.” -Alexander D’Hooghe & editorial team, MIT, Certain Agendas in Architecture, 2006

Therefore, the reconciliation between the two are to use mapping to inform ‘project.’ This grounds the project in reality while still creating a platform for the new. It helps to involve the past and present in the transformation the project proposes.



July 23, 2010

When exploring interstitial zones, the first thing to look at is what makes something interstitial. First let’s break down the word itself: interstitial.

inter- between

sistere- to stand

by definition: an intervening space, and an especially small one at that.

intervening- disjunctive, middle

here we have something extremely important to the definition of an interstitial space: there is a DISJUNCTION.

with a disjunction comes the recognition that there are possibilities for junctions: multiple facets joining at one point.

JUNCTION: the point itself is not defined but rather a zone. there are no definitive boundaries of the junction but rather a threshold of space where one facet begins to be influenced by another. the interaction between facets is also not defined. the only certain factor is that the elements are, in one place separate, and in another together.

what is most intriguing is if a disjunction automatically is resolved with a junction?

really, my thesis should address a way to deal with disjunctions. it seems easiest to say that an increase of connections should rid the dis[junction]. really do disjunctions always have negative affects? i guess my first step is identifying when disjunctions are necessary.

…articles/essays to read on [dis]junctions…?

Lima Studio

July 23, 2010

This studio was an investigation of Urban Environments.

key elements for the progression of the project included:

  • mapping of city & urban site history
  • defining housing typologies- existing, ideal, defective
  • recognizing urban fabric
  • creating strategy for connections
  • defining users & demographic
  • implementing a rhythm for the development plan

overall this started with 1. research, went on to 2. explorations, followed by initial 3. proposals, then back to site explorations and continual tuning of the site proposals.

To see a pdf of my full project: 802

Interstitial Zones

July 23, 2010

Graduate Thesis Program

Rena Mande

Program: 4 + 3

Thesis Topic: Interstitial Zone Development

This topic will achieve an interdisciplinary overview of architectural incisions and how they serve a community and economy. I recently was awarded the NewSchool Arts Foundation Travel Scholarship and will be doing research in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over the summer, I will aim to resolve the issues of “how to integrate a well-presented city center with large informal settlements that surround the city and provide economic opportunities for a population that continues to have deep socio-economic divisions. Facing a new challenge: how to make the city socio-economically relevant to all communities.”

I will attempt to “find a site (building, open space, neighborhood) in Johannesburg that can benefit from a design intervention that will help support a local industry, or bridge the economic gap between haves and have-nots.” Here, I will look to formulate ideas on integrated communities, and ultimately inform my thesis project next year.

I also recently returned from an architectural studio trip in Lima, Peru. Through my research, I developed a multi-use retail and housing complex in a central zone in the city, aiming to activate the previously underdeveloped area. This zone had many juxtaposed developed and un-developed areas and my investigation reflected on the fabric between the two.

I believe that exploring these areas will enhance my understanding of interstitial zones (like that of San Diego and Tijuana.) Looking at Johannesburg and Lima will allow me to discover the urban fabric of border zones on a small and manageable scale. These learnings shall then be used to inform my thesis project on another chosen interstitial zone, such as the San Diego/Mexico border.

In my chosen site for thesis, I will also (like with Johannesburg,) develop an architectural intervention. I currently have not determined what would be most appropriate, and that is to be influenced by the research, but I see possibilities of infrastructural architecture with informal elements. There will most definitely be a retail and cultural area in the proposed architectural incision. I see it most likely taking the form of multiple programmatic elements intertwined in one architectural system.

I believe that design serves as a platform to engage in the development of society. My thesis will stem from a global view of architecture’s purpose but will look to apply those possibilities locally. It will attempt to achieve to not only to simply create a building but also develop an environment and community.