site-specific art and design for communities
  • Field notes

Finding Space in the Margins

Received Best of Category in I.D. Magazine’s Annual Design Review

Designers: Jeanine Centuori, Russell Rock, and Kim Shkapich, graphic designer

Assistants: Sonny Ward, Jesie Kelly

With this analysis, we propose an urban design strategy that utilizes marginal spaces, or thickened borders, as sites for amenities that collectively form a public realm. Numerous bleak and empty surfaces line these margins, and whether thick or thin, solid or porous, strong or weak, often exist as pragmatic barriers that secure and protect territories. We propose to resurrect these surfaces as sites and participants in the public spaces of an urban residential area through a strategy of finding defining, refining, and redefining. Surface linings of marginal spaces are privileged as catalysts for design proposals. They become canvasses on which to inscribe a public realm. Due to the tight nature of available space in the margins, multiple functions are achieved through expansion and contraction of amenities. These amenity elements are grafted onto surfaces such as blank walls, chain link fence, parking lot edges, etc. In their closed or compact state, they accommodate their limited existing functions; in their expanded mode, they address new programs. Mining the opportunities of surface as flattened space is a tactic to take the left-overs, the margins, and envelop its possibilities.