A ndrew Lords

Leftover Semiotics & Other Delights

This One Still Needs a Subtitle

The physical form of a city is resultant of more than just the buildings that populate it. The unseen forces of the city berate the built environment, driving it to constant disequilibrium, the stresses and friction of their movements leaving deep scars and shaping the urban fabric. While these forces - powerful entities such as physical conditions, social constructs and political or economical influences - remain largely invisible, the result of their energies becomes apparent and legible in the physical manifestation of the city. The vacant lot is the one of the most readily recognizable manifestation of these forces. Caught in a choke-hold of contextual influences, these pockets of urban emptiness are evidential of the external influences of the city overcoming the internal requirements of typical development models. Social conditions, political forces, technology, economics, physical constraints, all converge with issues of ownership and authorship, throwing any given property off balance.

A design method is explored prioritizing external influences over internal requirements. Downtown Los Angeles becomes a testing ground for a modular system which seeks to programmatically and formally index the amalgamation and subsequent disequilibrium of external forces acting upon each vacant lot. The intention of this index is to become an accurate sign of the contextual influences, while simultaneously functioning as a piece of the urban fabric, as a set of working programmable spaces.