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  • Pirate Infrastructures

    Pirate Infrastructures: Post-Suburban Archipelagia
    san francisco CALIFORNIA

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    lauren TICHY: Pirate Infrastructures: Post-Suburban Archipelagia. This thesis explores the implications of pirating built suburban developments. Control of both the built environment and its economic potentiality is shifted from the results of failed and outmoded development marketing studies to the actions of the real end-user. Researching the suburban condition, and what created it, enables a systems-based approach in considering the state of Western American suburbia during the most recent real-estate bust.

    The seemingly inexorable spreading of suburban sprawl demands analogous description and apocalyptic terminology. It spreads like a virus, floats on the landscape like debris, chokes the environment like a weed. The recent disruption of this spread invites new comparisons: the analogy of the archipelago invokes geologic forces that describe both the pressures that created suburbia as well as the systems that underlie the present state of crises.

    Virtual archipelagos of economic value coexist with the built condition to create opportunities to reap value benefits: from cash money to natural resources such as water, power, community and accountability.The archipelago analogy describes economically “underwater” areas of the neighborhood as a new type of navigable landscape. By utilizing the lens of the architect, change is catalyzed within an existing development through positing value-based design strategies.These strategies are an ethical response to those previously implemented by developers and planners lacking foresight and a larger view of responsibility.

    Water rights in the West are mired in history, politics and money – for a long time in Colorado it was illegal to harvest water that fell on your own property. By creating an occupiable infrastructure that diverts and collects water, the citizens of any community are empowered to sell this resource in order to become financially sustainable. In addition to collecting water, the infrastructure houses rentable square footage to increase population diversity and promote local business incubator development.
    The citizen-agent, acting within the realm created by developers, pirates the suburbs. The material and infrastructure within the suburbs is too valuable to not be opportunistically re-appropriated. A pirate sees light posts as a harvest-able forest, property-lines as irrelevant and both people and water as treasure. This system of resource reallocation, cross-referenced with values such as connectivity to transit arteries, natural resource exploitation and the creation of networked micro-economies creates a new and productive layer on the suburban landscape.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    lT: The economy, DIY movement, pirates, accountability, the West, water, sprawl, traditionally greenfield transit oriented develeopment, natural resources, the power of narrative

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    lT: Reading: Manuel De Landa, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Keller Easterling, Beatriz Colomina, Andrea Zittel, Archigram, Hakim Bey, Buckminster Fuller, economics textbooks; Looking at: Space Collective; Listening to: Arcade Fire, PJ Harvey, Planet Money
    watching: grasshopper tutorials, post-apocalypse & pirate movies.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    lT: Nicholas de Monchaux’s Spacesuit, Smout Allen, the Occupy Movement.

    Additional credits: Thanks to my thesis advisor, Hugh Hynes, my family, & CCA.
    Additional links: laurentichy.weebly.com

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