urban topographies: cuts and patches via omnibus
It’s archaeology without physical excavation: the cuts and patches register different eras of construction and settlement, the movement of water, the movement of pedestrians.
For a long time, in research and practice, I have been focusing on what I call constructed ground. This focus enables inclusion of living systems in my research and design work without segregating them into an exclusive domain of “nature.” The idea of constructed ground registers the fact that the ground of any site is not background; it isn’t flat; it isn’t a tabula rasa — it is always already constructed.
Some of the specific thinking behind these images emerged in 2004, when I was fortunate to be in Rome as a Fellow at the American Academy. My project, which initially focused on individual palazzos and villas, had to do with interrelationships of geometry and topography in architecture. I also began to look at these interrelationships at a more granular scale, focusing on infrastructure rather than buildings. I took hundreds of photographs of the remarkable drains and channels in streets and courtyards, which speak to the role stormwater can play in shaping urban space.