Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning
The Modernist movement was able, through the industrial revolution, to eliminate the role of façade as load bearing member, fetishizing transparency. However, this new preeminence of visuality was not applicable to the suburban home, with its predisposition toward the creation and control of privacy. What separates the suburban condition from the urban, in addition to the role of the single-family home as purchasable symbol representing an ideal, is the front yard. Instead of a simple A-B division across a singular surface, the yard creates a “deep” façade, a series of layered spaces serving as filtration; sidewalks, fences, plantings, yards, and porches all serving to enhance our control of privacy. What is afforded to the residents of the suburban community through this intermediary space is a system of participatory surveillance. As much as the front kitchen and the picture window allowed views out into the neighborhood, so too did they invite views in. The free exchange of visual knowledge contributed to residents’ familiarity of each other, effectively negotiating privacy and community. Interestingly, many of the logics embedded within the suburban deep façade also exist in the way we moderate our participation in the digital realm. By playing with the boundaries of conceal and reveal we choose not only how much of ourselves we want to present, but what. And yet, even though we are comfortable publicizing ourselves in the digital, our publicity in the built environment lags behind, remaining unquestioned and without update. By taking the mechanism of the deep façade, and its establishment of participatory surveillance, and transplanting that into a complex sequencing of typical suburban programs, dealing directly with a relationship between a public and private, we generate a meeting space which is founded upon more hedonistic and enjoyable play, fostering heightened interaction amongst residents.
Maldonado, Brandon Lee, "Corporeal Meeting Place: The Racialization of the Suburban Demographic" (2012). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 119.
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