Between Figure and Ground: Articulating Heterotopia in the Suburban Paradox
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This thesis focuses on exploring figure-ground within the amorphous suburban green space of Calgary, Alberta. It is an edgeless prairie city, flooded with unused space and tethered by freeways that stretch toward the infinite horizon beyond the mountains. The incessant need to own and parcel nature has created a landscape of excess where both city and nature are a blur at the edge of our distracted vision. Using expanded defi nitions of figure-ground as a design methodology, this thesis attempts to better understand this paradox and to act in its middle ground. Articulating a heterotopia between the ideal with the real, the public and the private, the natural and the artificial, this thesis explores a new imaginative space, delicately but firmly tethered to suburban ground and its elusive horizon. The results manifest in unexpected geometries on a thin strip of park between a backyard and a freeway in Calgary.