Spring 2018

Out of Bounds: Patterns of Performance in the Urban Realm

        In the built environment, access is often defined by edges, envelopes, and thresholds. These boundaries - either real or implied - shape the performance of the city, defining how buildings present themselves and how people interact with space and with each other. While boundaries are often considered as two-dimensional planes, this studio will explore the notion of edges made spatial and connective rather than two-dimensional and divisive, simultaneously negotiating between necessary physical containment and desired experiential connections. The resulting liminal space provides a rich stage set for life to play out, whether formally or informally, as part of an anonymous public or within a familiar community, as sites of ritual or spontaneity. Using materiality as a mediator, this studio will delve into the possibilities of this liminal, in between territory, considering it as both a definer of space and a possible occupiable zone in itself.

        The site for this studio will be Austin - a rapidly transitioning city in an awkward adolescent stage. Like any urban environment, Austin is full of boundaries and liminal zones, from rapidly erected and disassembled construction fences, to large, fixed urban geographies such as I-35, Mopac, and Lady Bird Lake. Public space in the form of Austin’s extensive park system seeps into the gaps between old and new development. Currently only loosely related, the parks have the potential to serve as a connective tissue for the city as it grows, providing a regional resource to be shared while still serving the needs of individual communities.