suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
mad_lab (jon BAILEY, chad PORTER, & erick KATZENSTEIN): That government transforms the way we occupy and inhabit space is nowhere more geodetically relevant than in the United States capitol of Washington DC, where limits have reached capacity in both physical space and organizational structure. Never before has the government owned more enclosed space within the U.S. than in the present. Following September 11th, the increase in subsidiary agencies has led to an explosive acquisition of government land. This growth has led to exponential sprawl reaching outward into the neighboring states in search for suitable living spaces.
The National Mall is one of the largest open spaces still in existence within Washington DC. Since its inception by Pierre L’Enfant in 1791, a continual source of speculative design projects has aimed at creating a picturesque foreground for the federal edifices that surround it.
Our design is opposed to these grand edifices which break apart the fine meshwork needed for a city to thrive. The solution to these mega structures is not a building reaching ever-higher into the atmosphere. This would pull apart the connections we have with the ground and further disconnect the government from the city. Rather, our proposal intends to dig into the earth, burying the program beneath whilst activating the ground plane.
In this canyon, walls become the physical limits of unrivaled growth. DC is given back in large swaths of land to the people, where previous federal land within is returned to the citizens of the city to re-inhabit. It is thus our intention, in reaction to the vertical limits imposed on the district, that the canyon becomes a central location for federal government offices, imposing limits on the size of the physical federal growth rates. This new juxtaposition of governmental program located beneath the ground plane creates a unique opportunity of oversight from the people above to the federal program within.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
mad_lab: The often uninhabited dead zones surrounding the Washington Mall, where federal program dominates and human occupation is minimal.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
mad_lab: Listening: Fugazi, Ratatat, Kavinsky, Stegosaurus Rex; Reading: A Thousand Plateaus (Deleuze & Gauttari), Coupling (Lateral Office/Infranet Lab), Far From Equilibrium (Sanford Kwinter), Subnatures (David Gissen).
Whose work is currently on your radar?:
mad_lab: SHoP, BIG, Philippe Rahm, Sean Lally, Francois Roche.
Additional credits and links: