Are we distracted? In our enthusiastic wanting for the greater good, perhaps we risk becoming too easily distracted by spectacle. When the veneer fades on new development, the soul of our communities is responsible for filling the space. The community harmed most by the I-280 overpass has the most to lose. Within a context of rapidly increasing land prices and competing urban interests, FIELD SHIFT is driven by the need to reorganize new spaces for cultural flourishing.
This project proposes to deconstruct the freeway in order to reconstitute the tons and tons of concrete into a cultural field. Only the existing pylons will remain, at once marking the scar in the landscape and filling the void with opportunities for public murals and sculpture. In addition, the array of concrete will raise the ground plane several feet, allowing for an urban waterfront and marsh ecosystem that is resilient to tidal changes and predicted sea level rise.
The field aims to challenge spreading high-end exclusionary development and prioritize affordability in its surrounding neighborhoods. A localized honest adaptation of the scar alongside an entirely normal at-grade approach to the city center via rail minimizes absorbed real estate costs. This maximizes the city’s ability to retain public land for housing in the parcels outside the domain of our chosen site. A functional and adaptive public space is built of the freeway scar, able to speak to and mark the coming challenges of climate and society in the 21st century.
“The scar is a mark of pride and of honor, both for what has been lost and what has been gained. It cannot be erased, except by the most cosmetic means. It cannot be elevated beyond what it is, a mutant tissue, the precursor of unpredictable regenerations. To accept the scar is to accept existence. Healing is not an illusory, cosmetic process, but something that—by articulating differences—both deeply divides and joins together.” ― Lebbeus Woods