The Open City Pops Up Where and When you Least Expect it


The pervasiveness of like-minded clustering sounds like bad news for the ideal of the Open City, since a hallmark of the Open City is diversity, but is it?

This 80-foot long mural-produced for the 2009 International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam-is conceived of as an imaginary road-trip through 15 very real American communities. It is meant to suggest that while it is true that when given a choice, most Americas choose to live in a homogeneous community over a more mixed one, when one looks closely at he everyday, suburban landscape of semi-public spaces that exist in between these homogeneous communities, one can see that it is sprinkled with “spaces of encounter” where diverse social and ethnic groups coexist, interact, and generate complex relationships and networks. While these spaces don’t have the formal or programmatic properties we usually associate with the Open City-spaces of encounter depicted here include a parking lot, a strip mall, and a megachurch-a closer look reveals that rich dynamics at work in each.

Contributors: Interboro Partners, Corrinne Botz, Warren Chow, Eckart Graeve, Michael Haggerty, Eric Hughes, Erica Kim, Gabe Kirchheimer, Raj Kottamasu, Matthew Lasner, Rafael Soldi, Adam Markus, Thumb (graphic design), Cari Varner, Michael Zebrowski

Interboro Project Team: Tobias Armborst, Matthew Clarke, Daniel D’Oca, Adrien Forney, Urs Kumberger, Ben Lindner, Ondine Masson, Hilla Rudanko, Eric Schwartau, Rafael Soldi, Samu Szemerey, Georgeen Theodore, Pedro Torres


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