Follies & Bridge
Term Fall & Winter (Year 5)
Professor Karen Lange
School Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Studio Studio 400/Senior Design Project
Site Moffett Federal Airfield, Mountain View, CA
Amid pretensions of social responsibility, contemporary architecture serves as a mere tool of capital, bending over backwards to meet the market demands of the developer. While architecture has always been tied to wealth, increasingly it has been optimized for wealth-extractive business pursuits like landlordship and marketing. As such, the fundamental social mission of architecture has been lost. When profit is the be-all and end-all, architecture relinquishes its role in ensuring a healthy public life.
The developer model can be upturned by maximizing urbanistic and architectural “inefficiencies” within publicly-funded projects. At the urban scale, the developer’s motive to subdivide, modulate, and codify is obstructed through irregular partitioning, idiosynchratic building configurations, and physical “barriers” that interrupt a site’s divisible land area. At the architectural scale, the developer’s motive to partition off and rent out is disrupted through redundant circulation and awkward spaces.
The site is Moffett Federal Airfield, a decommissioned pre-World War II era naval airship base in Mountain View, California. “Moffett Field” (colloquial) is currently owned by NASA, who leases it out to Google and its subsidiaries. The new proposal entails a coexisting of on the one hand, Google and its subsidiaries and all of their current activities on site, and on the other, a massive housing development and public park - funded by Google through the lease agreement they are currently paying NASA.