Constellations of the In-between

Architectural Speculations in Metro Vancouver’s Interstices

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) graduation project \ University of British Columbia \ 2014–2015
advisor: Blair Satterfield
awarded the Canadian Architect Student Award of Excellence & published in Canadian Architect Magazine \ 2016

Amidst an increasingly transdisciplinary field, and in an environment of uncertainty and change, the nature of architectural intervention and its sources of agency increasingly come into question. This is unmistakably manifest in urban conditions of interstitiality: the many overlooked, and often contested, in-between territories across the city. Constellations of the In-between explores such marginal spaces, with an interest in drawing on the latent forms of agency found in the complex spatio-temporal topologies of material elements, social frameworks, and cultural practices.

The thesis comprises four architectural speculations in territories selected from across Metropolitan Vancouver. They comprise a historically contested aboriginal reserve on the shore of Vancouver’s False Creek, a congregation of religious buildings on Richmond’s urban-agricultural edge, an office park chosen by thousands of crows as their winter roost in Burnaby, and an infrastructural right-of-way traversing Surrey’s expanding suburban fabric. Taking advantage of spatial indeterminacy and temporal flux as repositories of agency, a series of propositions respond to possible trajectories facing each site.

Positioned between realism and speculation, each graphical narrative builds on the existing topological relationship found within its particular interstitial context, drawing forth its latent potential for new, productive spatial and temporal configurations. As such, each intervention encompasses both a localized catalyst and its system-wide effects on the landscape. By offering alternative vantage points on the city—and proposing spatial arrangements conductive to communication, cohabitation, succession and negotiation—Constellations of the In-between reimagines each territory as a dynamic site of collective inhabitation.