As the author of Local Code, a publication about the employing of digital tools to reengage abandoned parcels or lots in urban areas, Nicholas de Monchaux is very interested in the intersection of the digital and the physical. He believes that the digital can indeed influence and inform physical design decisions. The abandoned parcels, lots, and streets engaged are often, as Gordon Matta-Clark states, “Spaces between places, not out of sight, but certainly out of mind.” Local Code, as much as it is a response to forgotten spaces in urban areas, was also a response to the often employed but often cumbersome massive political infrastructure of the 20th Century. These infrastructures were often single use and touted resilience over, what Nicholas believed a much more functional, goal of adaptability. Instead of expensive massive single use investments, employ a multitude of micro investments throughout the city, which when hit a critical mass, can make a larger combined impact.

Nicholas then presents a counter argument to his claims by discussing the work of Gordon Matta-Clark, as quoted earlier, who conducted similar work but in a radically different way by in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Matta-Clark’s work was revolutionary for its time as it challenged many of the establish preconceived notion of what architecture was and explored the possibilities of the negative/ void space that existed between. Matta-Clark’s work was one of subtract and opposed to Nicholas’ adaptive addition using Local Code.

Image Credit: Nicholas de Monchaux Vimeo

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