Saturday, November 18, 2006

houston nesting pt2: application

Engineered infrastructure is not often designed for its aesthetic
qualities. In striving for a local efficiency, these structures' forms
are produced almost incidentally-- or at the very least not in
accordance with aesthetic demands.

For most systems, their effect is diffused by being difficult to
access or hidden behind screens (or under the ground), but in some
cases necessity or shee size demands that they be placed in a
relatively "open" space. If these systems are also linear, they
produce a pervasive, inevitable and some what uncontrollable effect
upon a city.

The traditional model for interfacing with infrastructure has been one
of separation and screening, leading often to a quixotic denial of
their urban presence. This also forces these linear systems into
boundary roles, dividing a city into distinct regions (fig 1).

However, given the long history of engineering and urbanism coexisting
or eveing being mutually catalytic (aqueducts trade routes canals
rail lines etc) a more inclusive method must exist.


A tree's form is deterministic much as a freeway or bayou's is; the
various requirements of sunlight, water, soil and wind qualify the
locations of leaves, branches and roots. Despite this, forests form
less of a horizontal barrier than a verticial delimination of multiple
ecologies (fig 2), where canopy, sub canopy, and forest floor are made
into viable habitats through the intermediate form of a nest-- a
sub-assembly that corrects or augments the deficiencies of the
immediate environment to produce a viable home.

What would this nest be for humans be, if it was not in the forest but
under the freeway, and not for habitation but for recreation?


Anonymous said...

These two texts leave me wanting to see the whole thing. The nest analogy is a rich one.

If I might offer a little tip, I would suggest that:

"and not for habitation but for recreation?"

is extraneous here, and the thought would finish better without it. You could then go on to an explanation of use for your nest with the next portion.

Anonymous said...

I like reading Ben's blog whenever I get too confident in my own intelligence. Seriously though, I'm totally confused.