University of Illinois at Chicago
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[recon]Figured Landscapes

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-07-30, 00:00 authored by Brandon Biederman
Say the word "suburbs" and you probably conjure images of cookie-cutter houses and yards lining indistinguishable streets. Suburban populations have continually increased in the post-nuclear era, yet their developments tend to have little variance other than applied aesthetics. This research looks at the potential for architecture to inject alternative designs and ideals into the current suburban model, redefining the image of "The 'Burbs" and paving the way for new community relationships. The accompanying picture represents one such alternative, which inverts, overlaps, and redistributes the properties found in typical suburbs. Instead of the usual centripetal interior surrounded by a landscape, here the landscape is internalized and enclosed by the home, altering how the interior correlates to both private and public landscapes. Further, blocks feature homes built in figural assemblages, rather than in straight lines along the perimeters, creating multiple types of customizable outdoor spaces that can be used as reading rooms, dining areas, bathrooms, and the like. These shifts in stereotypical suburban design and overlapping housing elements afford new relationships between neighbors and the greater community, and even redefine the concept of property ownership from being exclusive to physical land to something surface-based, effectively increasing the amount of own-able property.


This exhibit competition is organized by the University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate College and the University Library.


Publisher Statement

Architecture; Finalist; Copyright 2014, Brandon Biederman. Used with permission. For more information, contact the Graduate College at


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