Con( tested+junction )
Master of Architecture Thesis 2009 | Primary Advisor: Dawn Gilpin | Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning
A common mistake made in the architectural discipline, and supported by the general public, is favoritism for modernization that leaves our built environment placeless. What is often overlooked is how contextualized work can empower itself by integrating modern, mechanized know-how with regional, cultural practices. Brownsville, Texas serves as a testing ground in a sector where the newly constructed border fence trails into the US a half-mile from the actual Mexican border—thus creating a “no-man’s land.” A new development arises as interventions are made to generate public participation in an effort to manifest a genuine architectural typology derived from the region’s bipolar condition. Through design, the escalating tensions caused by fear tactics and ignorance can be confronted in a setting where opportunity is allotted for the two cultures of varying levels of modernization to overlap in order to expose, inform, and unify each other in a constructive manner.
This project validates itself as an architectural work by assessing the locally available materials, skills, interests, and needs of the bordering (and yet disjoined) communities as a choreographed physical domain that in itself becomes the instigator of the “gray zone.” As the programmatic instigator perseveres as an establishment, it gains momentum in its economic potential, infrastructural support, and political influence which is visually illuminated through its refinement of architectural form and restructuring of its interior spaces as a customization to its more rigorous needs.