Toronto, ON, CA
The “grey goo” of New Jersey is emblematic of first ring suburbs throughout the United States: a vast and fractured landscape of strip malls, big box retail, homogenous residences, and large infrastructures. The “grey goo” has no inherent identity - the only element which changes from suburb to suburb is how the regional infrastructures were organized. New retail types appear to cling to infrastructure, as a recognition that a gathering of people can be predicted on the entrances and exits of highways and train stations. Perhaps these are the last predicted “communities” within the suburbs save for the shopping mall. Infrastructure has also created fracture lines in the suburbs - severing greenbelts, street grids as well as residential fabrics. Fracturing the physical grain of the suburbs has transcended into a fractured society. Demographic analysis and census studies reveal clear “zones” of different socio-economic demographics that are divided by these infrastructures.
This project attempts to reconcile both by-products of infrastructure by exploiting their congestion and stitching back the fractured landscape. This “reversal of fortunes” transforms the most residual and fractured zone lying between two infrastructures to the most central and connective piece within the project.The programme of the project is twofold: a transfer station to exploit the convergence of flows and a vertical University Campus with large public library to elevate and educate the public. The transfer station allows for residents to switch between rail, automobile and ferry transport. It is this artificial community created by these flows that is exploited by the University Campus. The University Campus is placed in the most residual areas of the site, connecting across infrastructures and stitching the landscape. Ultimately, by stitching the fracture at its most divided point (ie. where 2-3 infrastructures cross) and through this gesture creating a regional form that provides a legible marker for this intersection, the project is able to offer a new identity to the suburbs.
Location: Passaic, NJ, US
My Role: Project Designer
Additional Credits: Alexander D'Hooghe (Advisor)