matter as imagery, Erie Boulevard, ex-urban land, American quotidian landscape, landscape design, 'choreography of intervention'
The thesis contends that imagery, deployed through the deliberate staging of an architectural scene, can misrepresent actuality for the creation of cinematic illusion.Through the consideration of matter as imagery, my project aims to design a set of fictive traces of life/occupations that mimic the limits of realism. It is about designing a hyper-real landscape through narrative.
The author chose the site of Erie Boulevard in Syracuse as a place to catalog over time through a series of photographs. My observations over the course of 6 months gave me an image catalog to extract from and a set of actions that helped me see what life on Erie is like. In addition, I composed a set of ideological qualities of this place, such as an ex-urban land, a place of vacancy, and a vehicle for human occupation.
Erie Boulevard is a palimpsest that images decay of a failing landscape, specifically, the American quotidian landscape. The ex-urban textures of the 1950’s create a vast and alienating place. This project does not attempt to rebuild or glorify Erie, but instead highlight the nuances of a space whose urbanism and livelihood are in a state of decay. The hostility of this ex-urban land comes from the lack of sidewalks, compressed strip mall stores, and elongated horizontality of the wide roadways. As a result, Erie then represents a space where the pedestrian is unwelcome, where automobiles dominate the land, and where actions of the human scale are contested.
Human occupation around this site becomes a choreography of intervention that is forced to operate around these limitations, where Erie is merely a stage that displays divergent actions. In essence, humans are resisting Erie through their actions just as much as it is resisting them.
The focus is to observe the ways in which these actions happen, and consequently design a set of fictive traces of life that mimic the limits of realism. This project strives to create a life in each scene that redesigns the narrative of Erie by inserting traces of use and occupation. It is about questions of design and its agency, constructing the environment through narrative. It is propositional and speculative, questioning what it means to design a landscape.
Maalouf, Rose, "False Actually: Constructing the False-Hyper-Real in the Quotidian American Landscape" (2019). Architecture Senior Theses. 444.
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