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The Lawn was Two Feet Tall : A Story of Amendments in a Suburban Cul de Sac Patola, Lee 2021-05

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The Lawn was Two Feet TallA Story of Amendments in a Suburban Cul de SacbyLee PatolaBFA Film Production, University of British Columbia, 2015Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture and Landscape Architecturein The Faculty of Graduate Studies, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Landscape Architecture ProgramCommittee:Blair Satterfield (Chair)Fionn ByrneDaniel IrvineChad Manley© May 2021iiiiiFigure 1. The Lawn was Two Feet Tall (Collage by Author).The Lawn was Two Feet TallA Story of Amendments in a Suburban Cul de SacbyLee PatolaAbstractThis thesis project explores the conflicting identities of suburbia: suburbia as a consumer product or financial investment to be protected versus the use of suburbia as a structure for living. The beginnings of this suburban orientation begin in Part One: a study of objects, identity, mass consumption and the domestic space. Part Two consolidates these interests into a narrative exploration of suburbia which employs many of the methodologies (storytelling, gleaning, mashup and bricolage) investigated in Part One. Ultimately two texts are presented in dialogue: the Homeowners Association Rules (which protect the consumer value of the suburb) and a narrative that follows the daily lives of a set of suburban residents.  What emerges from the conflict between the two is a series of unapproved architectural artifacts. Both the writing and images included in Part Two are constructions rooted in reality, built by recombining and reinterpreting existing things (documents, typologies, photographs, stories and the like). In a world that privileges the new, this thesis project turns instead to what already exists as a means for renewed understanding. The objects around us - the built environment included - become living, changing artifacts from which to glean and subsequently to build upon. With this project I look around myself and ask: what new thing can be made by amending that which exists?Suburbia, and the rules which govern it, should neither be preserved in perpetual stasis nor demolished in favour of something brand new: it should be revisited, reinterpreted and amended. Let’s revisit suburbia. vivTable of Contentsviiviv  Abstractix  List of Figuresxv  Acknowledgementsxvii Dedication1    Part One: A Meandering Road4    Introduction5    Chapter One: Home  7   Citizenship and Consumership  10   Identity and the Home  15   Suburbia Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow  19   Site and Program21   Chapter Two: Objects  23   Philosophizing Things  27   Object End of Life  33   Gleaning45   Chapter Three: Methods and Precedents  47   Mashup Methodology  51   Storytelling57   Part Two: A Cul de Sac  59 Preamble  61 The Lawn was Two Feet Tall153 BibliographyixviiiList of FiguresFig. 1.  The Lawn was Two Feet Tall. Collage by Author.       iii Fig. 2.  Suburbs near Markham, Ontario. Photo by IDuke/Sting, “Markham-suburbs aerial-edit2.jpg,”    6 from Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Markham-suburbs_aerial-edit2.jpgFig. 3.  An image from the July 13, 1953 issue of Life magazine, showing a family surrounded by their household items. 7 Photo by J.R. Eyerman, in “400 New Angels Every Day,” in Life Magazine July 13 1953, https://www.grayflannelsuit.net/blog/time-capsule-los-angeles-development-boom-of-the-1950sFig. 4.  The promise of a good life in an electric coffeepot. Photo, in Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics  11 of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (New York: Knopf, 2003), 120.Fig. 5. The American Dream on the cover of The New Yorker, 20 July 1946. Illustration by Constantin Alajalov,   14 https://snappygoat.com/o/4bb3811f7f7be67506584758bc2ea2d81aa7d4c7/Constantin_Alajalov.jpgFig. 6. Typical suburban home and typical suburban family. By Author.      15Fig. 7.  Plan of roads in Levittown. Drawing by unknown, “Levittown, 1948,” from Harper’s. 197:1180 (1948), 85,   18 https://college.cengage.com/history/ayers_primary_sources/levittown_1948.htmFig. 8. Plan of housing layouts on lots in Levittown, Pennsylvannia. Drawing by unknown, from The State Museum of   19 Pennsylvania, http://statemuseumpa.org/levittown/one/d.htmlFig. 9. Household Things. Drawing by Author.        22Fig 10.  Dreams of the complete suburban life, etched in the stars on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, 15 August  23 1959. Illustration by Constantin Alajalov, Photo, in John Archer, Architecture and Suburbia: From English Villa to  American Dream House, 1690-2000 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), 277.Fig. 11. Cover of the Economist, May 28th-June 3rd 2011. Photo by the Economist, “Welcome to the Anthropocene | May 28th  27 2011,” from The Economist, https://www.economist.com/weeklyedition/2011-05-28. Fig. 12. Overflowing waste. Adapted from Edward Humes, “Grappling With a Garbage Glut,” The Wall Street Journal (Dow  29 Jones & Company, April 18, 2012), https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304444604577337702024 537204.Fig. 13. Various free items in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Adapted from Craigslist Vancouver Free Section. https://vancouver. 32 craigslist.org/d/free-stuff/search/zipFig. 14. An unusual domestic object, which Varda gleaned. Still from Agnès Varda, The Gleaners and I (2000) (Les Gleaners  33 et la Glaneuse)Fig. 15. Bathroom Fixtures. Photo by Author.        35Fig. 16. Bathroom Fixtures in Plan, Section and Elevation, Scale 1:10. Drawing by Author.    36Fig. 17. Seats. Photo by Author.         37 Fig. 18. Seats in Plan, Section and Elevation, Scale 1:10. Drawing by Author.     38Fig. 19. Framed Wall Decor. Photo by Author.        39xixFig 55. Aerial Map of Cul de Sac. Drawing by Author.       73Fig 56. Perspective of Min’s House. Image by Author.       73Fig. 57. Key Plan - Min’s House. Image by Author.        73Fig 58. Sketch of #4407. Drawing by Author.        73Fig. 59. Key Plan - #4407. Drawing by Author.        75Fig. 60. Real Estate Plans for #4408. Drawing by Author.       75Fig. 61.  Real Estate Plans for #4407. Drawing by Author.       75Fig. 62. New Kitchen Counters. https://pixabay.com/fr/photos/cuisine-immobilier-1940176/    75Fig. 63. Yard Sale. Adapted from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:General_Picture.JPG    77Fig. 64. Couch for sale. Image by Author.         77Fig. 65.  Yard Sale. Adapted from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yard_Sale_Northern_CA_2005.JPG  77Fig. 66.  Yard Sale. Adapted from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:General_Picture.JPG    77Fig. 67. Washing machines posted for sale online. Image by Author.      77Fig. 68. Empty room. Image by Author.         77Fig. 69. Empty room. Image by Author.         77Fig. 70.  Lawn growth diagram. Drawing by Author.        79Fig. 71.  East Oaks HOA Rules, excerpt. Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules, Regulations  79 and Interpretations of the Beverlywood Homes Association.Fig. 72. Online posting - Lawn Mower for Sale. Image by Author.      81Fig. 73.  Sketchbook pages showing Bill’s footstool of letters and grass growth. Drawing by Author.   81Fig. 74. East Oaks HOA Rules, excerpt. Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules.  81Fig. 75.  Sketchbook pages showing firebreaks. Image by Author, Firebreaks document Adapted from Max Bennett et al,  83 “Chapter 4: Firebreaks and Shaded Fuelbreaks,” in Reducing Fire Risk on your Forest Property, 13-15. Corvallis,  Or: Oregon State University Extension Service, 2010Fig. 76. Perspective of Bill’s lawn burning. Image by Author.       83Fig. 77. Perspective of the For Sale Sign outside #4407. Image by Author.      85Fig. 78. Key Plan - #4407. Drawing by Author.        85Fig. 79. Aerial Map of East Oaks with New Development and Closed Mall circled. Drawing by Author.   87Fig. 80. Perspective of New Development construction (Image by Author).      87Fig. 81.  Mall. Image by Author, Adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:University_Square_Mall_Main_Entrance.jpg 87Fig. 82.  New Development Flyer. Image by Author.        87Fig. 83.  East Oaks HOA Memo re: sign damage. Image by Author.      87Fig. 84.  Perspective of #4407. Image by Author.        87Fig. 85. Key Plan - Min’s House. Drawing by Author.       89Fig. 86.  Sketchbook pages showing Faye’s perspective sketches and plans. Drawing by Author.    89Fig. 87. East Oaks HOA Rules, excerpt. Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules.  91Fig. 88.  Key Plan - Allen’s House. Drawing by Author.       91Fig. 89.  Sketchbook pages showing Faye’s interventions. Drawing by Author.     91Fig. 90.  Perspective of the open-air corridor, from front steps. Image by Author.     91Fig. 91. Sketchbook page showing new plants at #4407. Drawing by Author.     93Fig. 92.  Key Plan - #4407. Drawing by Author.        93Fig. 93. Sketchbook page showing Allen in the backyard of #4407. Drawing by Author.    95Fig. 94.  Sketchbook pages showing gathering of Bird Watchers and Faye’s brainstorming. Drawing by Author.  95Fig. 95. Section of #4407. Drawing by Author.        97Fig. 20. Framed Wall Decor in Plan, Section and Elevation, Scale 1:10. Drawing by Author.    40 Fig. 21. Crate of Kitchen Stuff. Photo by Author.        41Fig. 22. Crate of Kitchen Stuff in Plan and Elevation, Scale 1:10. Drawing by Author.     42Fig. 23. Shoes, Sweater, Ikea Catalogue, Scale 1:10. Photo and Drawing by Author.      43Fig. 24. Plastic Corn, Scale 1:10. Photo and Drawing by Author.       44Fig. 25. CAD Block Windows and Objects from Mark Foster Gage Architects’ Helsinki Guggenheim Proposal.   46 Drawing by Author. Fig. 26. “Bicycle Wheel” by Marcel Duchamp, 1951, Photo by Joseph Bergen, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbergen/3871 47 525804Fig. 27. Mark Foster Gage Architects’ proposal for the Helsinki Guggenheim, 2014. Digital Rendering by Mark Foster Gage  49 Architects, https://www.mfga.com/helsinki-guggenheimFig. 28. An analysis of the objects used, and the kitbashing methodology adoped in the proposal for the Helsinki Guggenheim  50 by MFGA. Drawing by Author.Fig. 29. Drawing 9 from John Hejduk’s The Lancaster/Hanover Masque. Drawing by John Hejduk, from the The Lancaster/ 51 Hanover Masque, Canadian Centre for Architecture, https://www.cca.qc.ca/en/articles/issues/26/what-about-the- provinces/59105/the-lancasterhanover-masque.Fig. 30. “Store House, Scare-Crow House, and Weather Station.” Drawing by John Hejduk, in The Lancaster/Hanover Masque,  53 1980-1982. DR1988:0291:002, John Hejduk fonds, CCA Collection, from the Canadian Centre for Architecture,  https://www.cca.qc.ca/en/articles/issues/26/what-about-the-provinces/59105/the-lancasterhanover-masque.Fig. 31. “Music House.” Drawing by John Hedjuk, in Lancaster/Hanover Masque, 1980-1982. DR1988:0291:036, John Hejduk  53 fonds, CCA Collection, from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, https://www.cca.qc.ca/en/articles/issues/26/what- about-the-provinces/59105/the-lancasterhanover-masque.Fig. 32. Drawing of “Columbarium Architecturae (Museum of Disappearing Buildings).” Drawing by Brodsky and Utkin, from  54  Brodsky & Utkin by Alexander Brodsky, Ilya Utkin and Lois Nesbitt (New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2015)Fig. 33. Images from “The Continuous Monument” project by Superstudio. Collages by Superstudio, from MAXXI (Museo  55 Nazionale delle arte del XXI secolo), https://www.maxxi.art/Fig. 34. Images from “Zeno’s Conscience,” part of “Extra-Urban Material Culture” (1973-78) project by Superstudio.   56 Drawings by Superstudio, from Memory of the Peasant, http://thememoryofthepeasant.sink.sexy/chapter1.htmlFig. 35.  Map of USA. Drawing by Author.        61Fig. 36.  Map of California. Drawing by Author.        61Fig. 37.  Map of Sacramento, CA. Drawing by Author, adapted from USGS topographic maps    63Fig. 38. Suburb of Las Vegas. https://pixabay.com/photos/las-vegas-suburbs-vegas-las-nevada-2817993/   63Fig. 39.  New Home. https://pixabay.com/photos/new-home-construction-site-house-2419911/    63Fig. 40.  New home construction. https://pixabay.com/photos/new-home-construction-build-1664317/   63Fig. 41. Aerial of the suburb of Levittown. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LevittownPA.jpg   65Fig. 42. House in Levittown. Photo by Gottscho-Schleisner Collection, “Levittown Houses,”from Library of Congress   65 (1958). https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Levittown _houses._LOC_gsc.5a25988.jpg Fig. 43. Aerial Map of East Oaks Suburb. Drawing by Author.       65Fig. 44. The Houses of East Oaks. Drawing by Author.       65Fig. 45.  Aerial Map of Cul de Sac. Drawing by Author.       67Fig. 46.  East Oaks Homeowners Association Rules. Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules. 67 Regulations and Interpretations of the Beverlywood Homes Association.      Fig. 47. Aerial Map of East Oaks Suburb. Drawing by Author.       69Fig. 48. East Oaks Homeowners Association Bounds. Drawing by Author.      69Fig. 49. Perspective looking into Cul de Sac. Image by Author.       69Fig. 50. Aerial of New Suburb. https://pixabay.com/fr/photos/drone-village-air-terre-maison-1462463/   71Fig. 51.  New Home. https://pixabay.com/photos/house-garage-driveway-architecture-1867187/    71Fig. 52. Row of New Houses. https://pixabay.com/photos/house-townhouse-building-2683861/    71Fig. 53.  New Home. https://pixabay.com/fr/photos/nouvelles-accueil-maison-immobilier-1572747/   71Fig. 54. Aerial Map of East Oaks. Drawing by Author.       73xiiixiiFig. 96.  Section of #4407 showing platforms built in garage. Drawing by Author.     97Fig. 97. Plan of #4407. Drawing by Author.        99Fig. 98.  Plan of #4407 showing platforms in garage and planned location of bird blind in backyard. Drawing by Author.  99Fig. 99. Section of #4407 showing bird blind built in garage. Drawing by Author.     101Fig. 100.  Section of #4407 showing bird blind moved into place. Drawing by Author.     101Fig. 101. Section of Bird Blind showing height. Drawing by Author.      103Fig. 102.  East Oaks HOA Rules, excerpt. Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules.  103Fig. 103.  Perspective of Bird Blind. Drawing by Author.       103Fig. 104.  Key Plan - The Hernandez House. Drawing by Author.       105Fig. 105.  Aerial View of Hernandez House - people gathering. Image by Author.     105Fig. 106.  Aerial View of Hernandez House - new fence. Image by Author.      105Fig. 107. Sketchbook pages showing fence turned into planting. Drawing by Author.     107Fig. 108.  Aerial View of Hernandez House - new shrubs. Image by Author.      107Fig. 109. Aerial View of Hernandez House - west fence taken down. Image by Author.     107Fig. 110. Aerial View of Hernandez House - east fence taken down. Image by Author.     109Fig. 111.  Sketch showing Juan digging and kids playing. Drawing by Author.     109Fig. 112. Plan Drawing of Hernandez House. Drawing by Author.      111Fig. 113.  Plan Drawing of Hernandez House showing new foundations. Drawing by Author.    111Fig. 114.  Perspective showing house being lifted onto truck. Image by Author.     111Fig. 115. Plan Drawing of Hernandez House showing new layout. Drawing by Author.     113Fig. 116.  Aerial View of Hernandez House - the house has moved back. Image by Author.    113Fig. 117.  Key Plan - Franny’s House. Drawing by Author.       115Fig. 118.  Aerial View of Franny’s House - showing a clothesline. Image by Author.     115Fig.119.  Sketches by Faye. Drawing by Author.        117Fig. 120.  Plan of Franny’s House. Drawing by Author.        117Fig. 121.  Plan of Franny’s House - After Intervention. Drawing by Author.      119Fig. 122.  Sections of Franny’s House - After Intervention. Drawing by Author.     119Fig. 123.  East Oaks HOA Rules, excerp. Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules.   121Fig. 124.  Aerial View of Franny’s House after the intervention. Image by Author.     121Fig. 125.  Perspective of the inside of Franny’s House after the intervention. Image by Author.     121Fig. 126.  Key Plan - #4407. Drawing by Author.        123Fig. 127.   Aerial Map of Cul de Sac. Drawing by Author.       123Fig. 128.  Aerial Map of East Oaks. Drawing by Author.       123Fig. 129.  Aerial Map of Sacramento, CA. Drawing by Author, Adapted from USGS topographic maps.    123Fig. 130. Aerial Map of California. Drawing by Author, Adapted from USGS topographic maps.    125Fig. 131.  Real estate listing for #4407. Image by Author.       125Fig. 132.  Sketch of glassware. Drawing by Author.        127Fig. 133.  Sketch of #4407. Drawing by Author.        127Fig. 134.  Sketch of #4407 - with new door. Drawing by Author.       129Fig. 135.  Plan of #4407 showing display shelves. Drawing by Author.      129Fig. 136.  Section of #4407 showing display shelves. Drawing by Author.      131Fig. 137.  Sketches of door and shelving details, handwritten sign. Drawing by Author.     131Fig. 138.  Key Plan - Mo’s House. Drawing by Author.        133Fig. 139.  Sketches of Mo’s Bar and shelving. Drawing by Author.      133Fig. 140.  Perspective of the garage door at #4407. Image by Author.      133Fig. 141.  East Oaks HOA letters to residents - No trespassing, Property Alterations and Business Use. Image by Author.  135Fig. 142.  Key Plan - #4407. Drawing by Author.        137Fig. 143.  Model of #4407 with walls removed. Model by Author.       137Fig. 144.  Perspective of #4407 with no walls . Image by Author.       137Fig. 145.  Perspective of #4407 with construction fences. Image by Author.      139Fig. 146.  Perspective of Hernandez House being lifted onto truck. Image by Author.     139Fig. 147.  Perspective of Franny’s House. Image by Author.       139  Fig. 148.  Perspective of Min’s Library of Objects in her garage. Image by Author.     139Fig. 149.  Aerial Map of the Cul de Sac. Drawing by Author.       141Fig. 150.  Perspective of the garage door at #4407. Image by Author.      141Fig. 151.  Perspective of the Bird Blind. Image by Author.       141Fig. 152.  Real estate listing for #4407, sale pending. Image by Author.      143Fig. 153.  East Oaks sale voting ballot. Image by Author.       143Fig. 154.  Minutes of the vote. Image by Author.        143Fig. 155.  Perspective of completed construction of the New Development. Image by Author.    145Fig. 156.  Aerial Map of East Oaks showing new through road. Drawing by Author.     145Fig. 157.  Aerial Map of the Cul de Sac showing new through road. Drawing by Author.     145Fig. 158.  Key Plan - Sam’s House. Drawing by Author       147Fig. 159.  Amended East Oaks HOA Rules. Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules.  147Fig. 160.  Minutes of the last East Oaks Annual General Meeting. Image by Author.     147Fig. 161.  Perspective looking into the Cul de Sac, which isn’t a Cul de Sac anymore. Image by Author.   149AcknowledgementsThank you to my committee for their time and guidance.  Specifically: Blair Satterfield, thank you for your belief in me and this, when I had none. Fionn Byrne, thank you for your clarity when my view was obscured. Daniel Irvine, thank you for revealing new paths when I was at a dead end. Chad Manley, thank you for helping me find the poetry when it was hiding.Thank you as well to the many other people who have instructed and guided me throughout my time at SALA. The past four years have been rich with teachers, collaborators, and co-conspirators. xvxivxviixviPart One: A Meandering Road21IntroductionWhere I currently sit I am surrounded by things. I suppose more specifically, I am surrounded by objects. To be even more specific I would say that I am surrounded by domestic objects, as I am in my home as I write. This project begins - and perhaps will end (I am at the very beginning of this project right now, so I don’t yet know what will come) - with domestic objects, in a domestic space. This project began with a concern that the architecture that makes up so much of the housing stock in North America seems, at least to me, to be lacking in individuality. Having recently moved, I have spent quite a bit of time looking at the spaces on offer and found that a great many of them looked nearly identical, with similar floor plans and finishings. The identity of these spaces seemed only to be delineated by the furnishings and other objects inside the home. Even when actively looking outside of my own needs, wants and budgetary restrictions, the houses and apartments I found were largely homogenous. It felt as though the range of choice presented to me had no range at all - a feeling that many others I have spoken to share. For a society which champions the individual, our homes seem to assume that we are all the same.But in the ongoing search for a place to call home that felt individual (or in any small way like a reflection of myself), I began to think that perhaps my expectations were to blame. Why, in fact, are notions of identity so linked to the idea of home? Further, why has the home seemingly become an identity-neutral container for the objects that we use to express our individuality?The following is an attempt to address these questions and to frame the context within which Part Two of this project will operate.3 4Chapter One: HomeFigure 2. Suburbs near Markham, Ontario.5 6Citizenship and ConsumershipOur love affair with objects is not a twenty-first century fling. Many scholars have pointed to the postwar twentieth century as the era of proliferating consumerism within North America. Many have tracked our consumption and use of mass-produced objects back further, to the nineteenth and early twentieth century rise of industrialization, and others have focused on our interest in objects in the more distant past. While periods further afield may have set the foundations for our relationship to domestic objects today, the rise of consumerism in relation to the domestic space in the mid- to late twentieth century is worth some explanation. The increasingly consumeristic culture that developed in the latter half of the twentieth century was very much intentional. Lizabeth Cohen explains in her book A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America, that her self-coined term ‘Consumers’ Republic,’ is used to denote the “strategy that emerged after the Second World War for reconstructing the nation’s economy and reaffirming its democratic values through promoting the expansion of mass consumption.”1 She details the establishment of mass consumption as a patriotic act in postwar America, understood and advertised as a way to improve the lives of oneself and others,2 and often points to the domestic space - the home itself as well as the objects within it - as the primary economic, social, and political instrument in the Consumers’ Republic: “new house construction provided the bedrock of the postwar mass  consumption economy, both through turning “home” into an  expensive commodity for purchase by many more consumers than  ever before and by stimulating demand for related commodities. As  today, the purchase of a new single-family home generally obligated  buyers to acquire new household appliances and furnishing, and  if the house was in the suburbs, as over 80 percent were, at least one  car as well.”3Figure 3. An image from the July 13, 1953 issue of Life magazine, showing a family surrounded by their household items.1 Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America, 1st ed (New York: Knopf, 2003), 11.2 Cohen, A Consumers’ Republic, 112-3.3 Cohen, 121-2.7 8Here, Cohen highlights the sudden and vast multiplication of new houses in America - and the resultant spawning of suburbia - as a driver of consumption, and thus of the American postwar economy. She also points to the political connotations of this when she writes that “widespread American home ownership and high living standards, the argument went, put to rest Soviet charges that capitalism created extremes of wealth and poverty, and secured a firm foundation for American freedom.”4 Thus to be a consumer in American culture and to actively participate in mass consumption, was to participate as a citizen of America in direct opposition to membership in some other society. Consumerism at that time was, and continues to be an integral part of the American political identity. Lest we assume the Consumers’ Republic a thing of the past, of postwar and Cold War era America, the past few years readily provide us with numerous examples of an inflated consumeristic patriotism. While many may hope that President Trump (45th president of the United States from 2017- 2020, and current president at time of writing) becomes an outlier in the history of American presidents, his presidency clearly demonstrates the integral role mass consumption plays in the politics of America. “The President is Shilling Beans,” is the title of a 2020 article in The New Yorker, which grapples with the moment the President of the United States publicly endorsed a particular brand of canned beans, positioning it in opposition to “The Radical Left,”5 as Trump called it. While the presidential endorsement was a possible breach of ethics rules6 (and thus perhaps could be considered an anomaly), it clearly speaks to the way that consumerism continues to be aligned with Americanism, and how the things one does or does not purchase is an act of political engagement. Truly, “for all Americans, citizenship and consumership remain intertwined.”7In fact, Cohen readily admitted that the “Consumers’ Republic did not unfold quite as policymakers intended” back in the early postwar years.8 And nearly twenty years after the publishing of A Consumers’ Republic, I would agree.Because mass consumerism is a phenomenon linked to much of the latter half of the twentieth century does not mean that the onset of the twenty-first came with a rejection of consumerism. Those who point to today’s movements towards sustainable lifestyles and reduced consumption optimistically overestimate the impact of these movements. While I would personally prefer to see larger trends away from bloated consumerism, governments continue to espouse mass consumption as a key to strong economies, especially in the face of global crises. And to be clear, this sort of consumerism is not the same as shopping local to support small businesses - on the contrary, this mass consumption approach is tied to mass production and very large businesses. Quite simply, the fact remains that Amazon doubled its profits during 2020’s worldwide pandemic.9 And what are we buying on Amazon? Usually, household things. Identity and Home“Ostensibly obsolete ideologies of past centuries still find strong echoes in the present, if not in what we say or do, then in where and how we live.”10As previously noted, the home was integral to the system of mass consumption generated in postwar America. And beyond being a simple economic stimulus, the construction of new homes became a driver of consumer culture and the locus for the formation of the American identity via the “trope of the American dream.”11 The American Dream is part and parcel with the consumerist identity of America, and is deeply tied to ideals of home ownership. Like suburbia,12 the American Dream often presents itself as having no concrete definition; it is associated with a “general understanding that there are opportunities to be realized or goals to be fulfilled,” centred around the “individual self.”13 Particularly, the (often suburban) home becomes a “highly specialized instrument for realizing many aspects of bourgeois selfhood.”14 As such, the American Dream engages in notions of identity and as a pivotal physicalization of these notions, the postwar suburban home becomes the locus of this identity.In Architecture and Suburbia from English Villa to American Dream House, 1690-2000, John Archer explores the deep-seated relationship between identity and architecture and its manifestation in postwar suburbia. He initially links eighteenth century Enlightenment philosophy to contemporary notions and manifestations of selfhood, noting that with the establishment of individualism, philosophers of the time “suggested that the material world around us should have a new primacy in defining self.”15 The foundations for the expectation that the home should reflect one’s identity were set over three hundred years ago. Archer points to English philosopher John Locke as foremost in the establishment of these ideas: 4 Cohen, 125.5 Masha Gessen, “The President Is Shilling Beans,” The New Yorker (The New Yorker, July 16, 2020), https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-president-is-shilling-beans.6 Gessen, “The President Is Shilling Beans.”7 Cohen, 403.8 Cohen, 403.9 https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/30/21348368/amazon-q2-2020-earnings-covid-19-coronavirus-jeff-bezos10 John Archer, Architecture and Suburbia from English Villa to American Dream House, 1690-2000 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), xviii.11 Archer, Architecture and Suburbia, xvii.12 Dolores Hayden, Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000, 1st ed. (New York: Pantheon Books, 2003), 11-16.13 Archer, xv.14 Archer, xv.15 Archer, xvii.9 10 “once he articulated the notion of a politically free self who was able  to appropriate property for private purposes, there lay an  opportunity in architecturally elaborating that property, especially  what was regarded as one’s most private property, the home, to  articulate a person’s individuality and selfhood.”16These notions subsequently took hold in America, with many influential European and American architects and writers including John Ruskin,17 Andrew Jackson Downing,18 Catharine Beecher and Elizabeth Gordon19 endorsing the home as a medium (if not the primary medium) for the expression of identity. But by the time the mid-nineteenth century rolled around, the “dwelling had become more than an instrument of self-articulation… the dwelling had become necessary to self-fulfillment.”20 Just as consumerism became integral to citizenship in this period, consumerism in the form of home ownership (or participation in the American Dream) was entwined with selfhood. Not just by expressing one’s individuality through the architecture and finishes of the home, but by owning a home in the first place became a form of engagement with one’s self as an individual in the United States. Consumer, citizen, and homeowner were all tied up in the American identity. “A crucial component of this shift has been the marketing of identity  through mass-produced commodities, which now more than ever  includes houses that can be fabricated in a full range of themed,  regional, and historical styles (e.g., log-cabin, ranch, or colonial),  as well as the furnishing for those dwellings, such as ornamental  trim, draperies, carpets, cabinets, furniture, appliances, media, and  media equipment.”21And the expression of identity was not limited to the exterior ‘style’ of the home. The interior of the home was perhaps even more important in the identity-realization of an individual. In the same way that the mind of an individual was thought to be empty at birth, lacking identity until the mind was furnished with things, the interior space of the home too might be said to be identity-less until filled with furniture and objects.22 Nowadays too, suburbanites tend to express individuality via the interior of the home more often than the exterior.23 But in both cases (the use of the interior and exterior as a tool for the realization of identity), the consumer is just that - a consumer. The mass-production of housing, alongside the mass-production of domestic goods worked together to create a system of mass-consumption in the pursuit of individuality. But how individual might the identity expressed be if it was picked from a series of predetermined choices? “On the one hand this broad array of consumer choice, and the  retail apparatus dedicated to its distribution, bespeaks a culture  ever more enamoured of individualism, conveniently supplied  with a large number of different identities to choose from. But  on the other hand the consumer who has no say in determining  the available choices, no matter how wide the array, may well Figure 4. The promise of a good life embodied in an electric coffeepot.16 Archer, xviii.17 Archer, 1.18 Archer, 178.19 Hayden, Building Suburbia, 17.20 Archer, 3.21 Archer, 13.22 Archer, 5-6.23 Archer, 312.Image unavailable, please see List of Figures for more information.11 12 despair at the impossibility of articulating a truly individualized  identity. Such is the thrust of Adorno’s critique of the tyranny of a  mechanized, industrial-capitalist culture: identities selected from a 	 field	of	marketing	choices	are	no	identity	at	all.”(emphasis added)24Is it true that an identity composed of a combination of existing options is illegitimate? This is a question I will try to address in Chapters 2 and 3. For now, it is important to understand the ways that mass-consumption was fuelled by notions of identity-making in postwar America. And the ways in which the suburban environment and consumer culture which we are left with today is a result of attempts to fuel these notions. Today, the landscape of suburbia is often associated with lack of identity, a mat condition made up of endless rows of nearly-identical houses. And it is true, “Americans have replicated the single-nuclear-family dwelling millions of times across the landscape,” it has become “the archetypal feature of American suburbia.”25 One might point to the systems of construction and mechanized mass production as the root cause of all this sameness, but there are other, ideological reasons for the creation of homes in a limited number of styles and configurations. Remember, consumption in America is patriotic, it is a form of citizenship and economic revitalization. It is a political act, and as we have explored, it is also a personal act of self realization performed by the mass public. The dissonance that exists in America, where individualism is valued so highly and where this expression of individuality is predicated on the mass consumption of mass produced products is evident when Archer points out that: “the more homogenous the American dream, the better the  marketer’s dream of a homogenous mass market for mass-produced  consumer goods. If uniform dwellings produced uniform drones, at  least that would pave the way for an economy of mass  commodities.”26Mass consumption in the pursuit of expressing one’s individuality, has left us with an architectural monoculture that, on the exterior, seems to almost erase the unique identities of inhabitants. But I would argue that the inhabitants of the suburbs are not the uniform drones suggested by Archer. The outside just does not reflect the inside.This dissonance is part of what makes the existence of suburbia so troubling, and perhaps even more frustrating is the continual propagation of this type, because “In the end, as the marketplace becomes arbiter of “self,” private aspirations and personal freedoms are correspondingly compromised.”27 The approach of developers now, to ‘build what sells’ is predicated on a self-fulfilling cycle.28 They build what is proven to sell because it has sold before, leading to an endless stream of essentially the same house, with little interest in risk-taking or experimentation. In the end, “prospective purchasers, for whom the choice of a house may seem an opportunity to further delineate self or individuality, are in fact ill served by a market that prefers to replicate only the choices that appeal to the broadest common denominator.”29But this project does not exist to condemn the suburbs. In fact, this project takes the opposite approach. The suburbs exist, they are are relevant, and perhaps they are even deeply interesting.Figure 5. The American Dream on the cover of The New Yorker, 20 July 1946.24 Archer, 13. 25 Archer, 291.26 Archer, 311.27 Archer, 335.28 Archer, 335.29 Archer, 335.13 14Figure 6. Visions of a typical suburban home and typical suburban family are rooted in nostalgized, narrow understandings of the reality, and often neglect to incorporate the diversity that actually exists in suburbia (Collage by Author) .As previously explored, suburbia was integral to the system of mass consumption instigated in postwar America. And the suburbs that exist today are directly descended “from the residential and commercial landscapes created in the heyday of the Consumer’s Republic.”30 But in outlining the historic importance of the suburbs to North American consumer identity, it is important to keep in mind that suburbia itself is not a thing of the past, though some might claim it so.  In Dolores Hayden’s Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000, she points out that while historian Robert Fishman announced in 1987 that the era of the suburb was “over,”31 by the time Hayden’s Building Suburbia was published in 2003, “more Americans reside[d] in suburban landscapes than in inner cities and rural areas combined.”32 And that trend continued. As of 2018, “about 52 percent of people in the United States describe[d] their neighbourhood as suburban,”33 with approximately 175 million Americans living in suburbs, compared to 46 million living in rural areas and 98 million in urban cores.34 According to the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project, this growth is due to suburban “gains in all the drivers of population change” including gaining new residents, immigration from abroad and more births than deaths overall.35 Make no mistake, the suburb is not a thing of the past, and as things are going, it will likely not become one in the near future.But as suburbia continues to grow, perhaps attention should be directed at the past - by which I mean the existing suburb - rather than the newly constructed development. It is true that as “environmentalists wrestle with the economic implications of sprawl, architects are tackling its physical symptoms.”36 However - and as Hayden outlines - many of the Suburbia Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow30 Cohen, 401.31 Hayden, 16.32 Hayden, 3.33 Jed Kolko, “America Really Is a Nation of Suburbs,” Bloomberg.com (Bloomberg, November 14, 2018), https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-14/u-s-is-majority-suburban-but-doesn-t-define-suburb.34 Kim Parker et al., “Demographic and Economic Trends in Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities,” Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project (Pew Research Center, May 22, 2018), https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/05/22/demographic-and-economic-trends-in-urban-suburban-and-rural-communities/.35 Parker et al., “Demographic and Economic Trends in Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities.”36 Hayden, 202. 15 16strategies adopted by architects today focus on the creation of new suburbs and, critically, these architects often advocate for strategies already previously attempted and for which precedents historically, and often unbeknownst to the advocate, already exist.37 Perhaps most importantly, the contrivance of these strategies are often built on simplified and no longer applicable understandings of suburbia and a conformity to established norms: “when architects talk about new projects that might be historicist,  wired, or green, they often hold a nostalgic, idealized view of  affluent families and the picturesque enclaves and borderlands of  the American past. Many designers also weaken their visions by  trying to fit their projects into “the market” as defined by current   real estate development priorities.”38Therefore, in appealing to the consumer culture that originated the suburban form, architects simply maintain a system that neither solves the issues of suburbia nor reflects contemporary suburban living. The architect must confront the fact that “new designs alone cannot redeem a throwaway culture organized around obsolescence and the continual consumption of undeveloped land and new products.”39 Further, “if the United States is to become a more sustainable and more equitable place, older suburbs have to be saved rather than abandoned on the way to new projects.”40 As such, this project will take on a typical suburban home as the site of intervention.Figure 7. Plan of roads in Levittown.37 Hayden, 202.38 Hayden, 202.39 Hayden, 229.40 Hayden, 229.17 18The generalized suburban site of this project is loosely based on Levittown, Pennsylvania, one of seven Levittown developments built in postwar America. The site also indicates the program for this project, and there are no surprises here. The program is housing: the domestic space of living. This project is not just interested in the program of living for living’s sake but also in the ways that domestic space enforces modes of consumption and the participation of the individual in larger societal processes. One single-nuclear-family home will become the main site of inquiry with a size of approximately 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. The project will understand modes of material (object) consumption in relation to the programs indicated by the basic interior/exterior domestic structure, some of which are listed below: • Kitchen/Dining - eating, cooking, cleaning • Bathroom(s) - bathing, using the toilet, grooming  • Bedroom(s) - sleeping, intimacy, dressing • Living Area - socializing, entertainment, work • Garage/Driveway - storage, hobby, recreation • Backyard - play, socializing, rest • Frontyard - greeting, display, community engagement As a typical suburban house, the base design will fall into what Archer refers to as the type to appeal to the “broadest common denominator.”41 Like John Hejduk’s series of house designs which began from a single gridded square (The Texas House, The Diamond Houses etc), this project will begin with a single, supremely typical base house lacking in identity. This house will be the proxy for the suburbs of yesterday which continue to exist today. This house is the first “found object” of the project.However, this project is also interested in notions of identity and the culture of mass consumption from whence the suburbs arise. Therefore, this project will also focus on the objects in the home.Site and ProgramFigure 8. Plan of housing layouts on lots in Levittown, Pennsylvania. From The State Museum of Pennsylvania. 41 Archer, 335.19 20Figure 9. Household Things (Drawing by Author).Chapter Two: Objects21 22“Social consciousness and everyday life in society are formed in the process of both material production and consumption.”42We have established that the mass consumption of domestic objects is and has been linked to notions of identity and ideology. Objects are tools for living but they have also been positioned as tools for expressing who we are as individuals. But how do objects act on, rather than just for, us? Do they change the way we think, feel or behave? Do they have a language all their own?Many philosophers, writers and scholars have focused their attention on objects and it is certainly not a unique observation that our relationship with objects is complex and pervades all aspects of our lives. We use objects to make other objects, to understand and interrogate the world around us, to express or legitimize our status in the world, as gifts or offerings, for comfort, sustenance and survival. We love objects or hate them and sometimes just do not care about them at all. And many philosophers have studied them and these philosophers have many different ideas about objects.In her book Creative Ecologies: Theorizing the Practice of Architecture, Hélène Frichot provides a fantastic summary of the various philosophies regarding objects. While it is a very long quote, it is so useful in framing how we will discuss objects in this project that I have included it in full below, bear with me: “All of these things being said about things, and objects too, arrive  from a diversity of situations and disciplinary points of view.  Distinctions between things and objects are ventured or overlooked.  A life of things is called upon, or else an orientation towards  objects is recommended (Graham Harman). A thing becomes an  arche-fossil, existing before as well as after the passing of human  creatures, even situated as a cure to human finitude (Quentin  Meillassoux). The thing in itself remains inaccessible, and things  continue to bother us. An être-en-soi (being in-itself) is self-contained,  a realized object that simply is, and in its thisness it contrasts with  a properly human being’s être-pour-soi (being for itself); a human Philosophizing ThingsFigure 10. Dreams of the complete suburban life, etched in the stars on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, 15 August 1959.42 Boris Arvatov and Christina Kiaer, “Everyday Life and the Culture of the Thing (Toward the Formulation of the Question)” (Oct 81, 1997), 120.Image unavailable, please see List of Figures for more information.23 24 being for-itself that is, in turn, ever in tension with l’être-pour- autrui (being for others) (Jean-Paul Sartre). There are things-in- themselves (noumena) and things for us (phenomena) (Immanuel  Kant). More recently, with the theoretical stirrings of new  materialism, things turn out to have a power all of their own, a  thing-power (Jane Bennett). Things rendered as hyperobjects have  been inflated into objects of such massive environmental scale, with  murky outlines, that they are located beyond our (human) ken,  except for the symptoms and signs we meagrely glean (Timothy  Morton). A social life of things is commented upon and questioned,  which situates the thing inextricably amidst social relations (Arjun  Appadurai). There are things that can be abstract and concrete that are called  boundary objects, which constitute the information embedded in  things (artefacts, specimens, field notes, maps) that mark out  thresholds between one situation and the next depending on their  application. Such things turn out to be both plastic and  differentiated, but able to maintain some minimal identity across  sites and situations of use and meaning (Susan Starr). Things are  slippery and become something rather like quasi-objects, changing  guard with quasi-subjects, because subject and object are flung  together and intermixed into temporal flows and upheavals and  complex relations (Michel Serres). There is something that can be  called a thing-feeling of outgoing, generous and jovial things, where  things are decidedly not withdrawn (Lars Spuybroek). We  momentarily gather around a thing to argue about our matters of  concern, whether they are political, scientific or aesthetic (Bruno  Labour). Young girls are offered as examples of sweet young things  (Martin Heidegger). Live human subjects are, with historical  regularity, reduced to bare life and rendered as exceptional things  removed from the human rights of citizenry (Giorgio Agamben).  Things, it probably goes without saying, have a long conceptual  history (Elizabeth Grosz) - a long and illustrious genealogy that  divides and endlessly subdivides into so many tributaries of  thought, not to mention material instantiations. Given all these  variations on the theme of things, it should be no surprise that such  a thing as thing theory has emerged (Bill Brown). Any one thinker or reflective doer who turns to address a thing,  or an object, and behaves as though this is a novel practice of  epoché, of bracketing out the world in order to get at the kernel of  things, forgets the exhaustive forays that have already been  undertaken before them. This leaves the thinker (and the creative  practitioner too) in the awkward situation of wondering what  exactly to add to this exhaustive array of contemplations and  interactions with things.”43Essentially, there are a lot of things being said about things (and objects). Here it is useful to mention that thus far I have been using the term ‘object’ over ‘thing’ to indicate a physical, complete object (like, for instance, a plastic cup), rather than a concept, dematerialized, or damaged/broken/particularized thing (such as the pieces of plastic the cup becomes when crushed).This project focuses on notions put forward by two thinkers in specific: Jean Baudrillard and Bruno Latour. Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) was a French sociologist, philosopher, and cultural theorist who (among many other things) developed a theory of the connotative and denotative meanings of objects and how these meanings are used and exchanged in society, most notably in his book The System of Objects. In his focus on objects (and he notably states that he is “not concerned here with machines,”44 - similar to this project), he outlines that the “two levels of objective denotation and of connotation (whereby the object is cathected, commercialized and personalized, whereby it attains utility and enters into a cultural system) are not, under today’s conditions of production and consumption, separable in the way that the levels of language [langue] and speech [parole] are separable in linguistics.”45 Like Arvatov above, the production and consumption of objects are entangled and together produce meanings both obvious and hidden. Baudrillard gives many examples of what he means by connotative and denotative meanings. He explores colour, ornament, large and small objects, tools; in the realm of the domestic object, he writes in the case of seats. In this section, he describes the functional (or denotative) aspect of a seat, which is “unquestionably to permit people to sit down: to sit down to rest, or sit down at a table to eat.”46 But he also explains the way that seats connotatively work to effect sociableness: “promoting a sort of all-purpose position, appropriate to the modern social human being, which de-emphasizes everything in the sitting posture that suggests confrontation.”47 So much of this connotation and affect stem from the design of the seat itself, but Baudrillard generally addresses the category of contemporaneous ’seats,’ which to him work in this specific way to produce meaning and behaviour.Further, an object in combination with other objects results in a more complicated set of connotations and denotations.48 Objects have relational meanings. Similar to Baudrillard, Bruno Latour (1947-present) is a French sociologist, philosopher and anthropologist. He is notable for developing the Actor-network theory, which maintains relationality at its core. But Latour’s contribution to this discussion of objects centres around his ideas (by way of Heidegger) of the object - or to use Latour’s term, ‘thing’ - as something that “has stirred up attention and given rise to a political gathering.”49 The thing or object can become the site for politics, rebellion or political discussion, and this thing does so by bringing with it connotations or denotations that are worth discussing. Perhaps most useful within the realm of this project, is the idea that objects are inherently political but also that human-object and object-object relationships can surface meanings that are political, and worth discussion: “if we mobilize our relations with a broader spectrum of things  and accept our reciprocal and dynamic relationship with things,  rather than letting them sit about in a warehouse, or on a shelf, we  can place ourselves in contact with what Labour has called the  parliament of things. A parliament suggests a setting in which all  those assembled come together to discuss pertinent matters.”5043 Hélène Frichot, Creative Ecologies: Theorizing the Practice of Architecture (London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2019), 86-7.44 Jean Baudrillard, The System of Objects (New York: Verso, 1996), 3.45 Baudrillard, System of Objects, 9-10.46 Baudrillard, 44.47 Baudrillard, 44.48 Baudrillard, 8.49 Frichot, Creative Ecologies, 91.50 Frichot, 117.25 26Figure 11. Cover of The Economist, May 28th-June 3rd 2011.Object End of Life“in the psychoanalytic tradition, both persons and things are tellingly called “objects” and suggest that we deal with their loss in a similar way.”51Human life on this planet is sustained via the use of resources, that much is surely obvious and is neither objectively good nor bad; it is simply a fact. We consume resources in order to fuel and shelter our bodies, to move ourselves from place to place, and - with regards to the topic of this thesis - in the production of the many tools and objects around us in our daily lives. Our lives require consumption, true, but it seems to me that - today, in the era of the Anthropocene (a title “used to describe the most recent period in Earth’s history when human acitivity started to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems”)52 - our lifestyles have become consumptive. It seems that we take up much more space and far more material resources than our relatively compact corporeal volumes actually demand. The world is saturated with human-made objects. At the time of writing:  “the weight of human-made objects will likely exceed that of living  things by the end of the year. In other words, the combined weight of all plastic, bricks, concrete and other things we’ve made in the  world will outweigh all animals and plants on the planet for the first  time… For every person in the world, more than their body weight  in stuff is now being produced each week.”53While this finding deals with the broad range of objects and things encompassed by the category ‘human-made objects,’ it speaks to the material consumption and object-production of many societies today. In particular, this project focuses on North American society, taking the United States of America as its primary case study, however, many of the issues related to object production and consumption are global, and much of the research in this booklet may extend to life North of the Canada-US border.51 Sherry Turkle, Evocative Objects: Things we Think with (Cambridge, MA: MT Press, 2007), 9.52 National Geographic Society, “Anthropocene,” National Geographic Society, June 5, 2019, https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/anthropocene/.53 Helen Briggs, “Human-Made Objects to Outweigh Living Things,” BBC News (BBC, December 9, 2020), https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55239668.27 28The linear life cycles of objects  in our capitalistic North American society has propelled us to a normalized state of abundant consumerism and, subsequently, landscapes of devastating waste. Yes, many reduce, reuse or recycle (and not necessarily in that order), some engage in sharing economies (such as renting clothing for special occasions or using car-share programs), or thrift or resell, but that doesn’t negate the ongoing consumption of our society, the hunger for the newest objects to fill our homes.  In 2014, the average American household had 300,000 things and while the United States was, at that time, home to 3.7% of the world’s children, the children in America owned 47% of the world’s toys.54 In North America, we love our stuff: “We cherish things and accumulate them. We move them from shelf  to shelf, and from home to home.”55But ownership of an object is rarely the end of the story, as much as it is presented that way in an effort to maintain the momentum of our consumer society. Many of the objects we bring into our homes end up in landfill, where they take a long long time to decompose. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2009 “furniture accounted for 9.8 million tons (4.1 percent) of household waste.”56Figure 12. Overflowing waste (Image by Author, Adapted from Edward Humes). 54 Mary Macvean, “For Many People, Gathering Possessions Is Just the Stuff of Life,” Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2014), https://www.latimes.com/health/la-xpm-2014-mar-21-la-he-keeping-stuff-20140322-story.html.55 Macvean, “Gathering Possession Is Just the Stuff of Life.”56 “EPA Reports 9.8 Million Tons Per Year in Furniture Waste” (Reuters, May 6, 2011) https://www.reuters.com/article/idUS126369713020110506.29 30Alternatively, some objects end up intentionally cast out of the home that once sheltered them to a curb or front step, or perhaps set aside near - but not in - a garbage bin. These objects are no longer wanted, but they are also not quite garbage yet. They are neither in the bin nor in the house, nor are they deemed to have any remaining monetary value for what might be a number of reasons including style, age, deterioration or damage, function or simply the convenience of setting out the object in the alley rather than listing it for sale. At some point, these objects were wanted, or perhaps just tolerated. Sometimes accompanying these objects there will be a sign that says “free,” but often it’s implied. If I were to adopt one of these items and bring it home with me, it would become mine because I would have chosen it. It wouldn’t have been gifted to me, nor would I have bought it. In a sense, I would have foraged this item.Or, if I were to borrow the terminology of French filmmaker Agnès Varda, I would have “gleaned” this item.Figure 13. Various free items in Vancouver, BC, Canada. 31 32In Agnès Varda’s documentary The Gleaners and I (2000) (Les Gleaners et la Glaneuse), there are many types of gleaning, there are gleaners who glean food from agricultural fields, from garbage bins, from open-air markets - these are mostly to do with food - but there are also gleaners of objects, like the ones left “free” in the alley or at the curb. Gleaning is a core concept of this thesis.  “What do we do when we glean? We select, extract, gather, pull  out of context, recombine and often we have to be prepared to pick  up the leftovers because, no doubt, someone has been here  before us. This pertains to well-worn concepts too. We compose  exhaustive combinatorial of things and string them together in  search of some meaning, of some thread to follow, however  artificially strung out. We listen, as Varda has listened, to the  weak and the strong voices before they fade away, lifting them  briefly out of obscurity… We attend to the places where spaces are  threatened with exhaustion, and we challenge the status quo, the  dominant Image of Thought that tells us how to collectively think…  It is an art of creative resistance in response to a fast-paced  consumptive lifestyle.”(emphasis added)57Gleaning is one term for the methodology that this project will adopt. It is a methodology that looks to what exists and what has been left behind as something that can be reused, appropriated and intervened upon. Further, it assumes that there is something to be learned from these things, objects or architectures. Gleaning is the act of noticing, foraging, adopting and caring for something first and foremost. Over the course of the past few months, I often found items set out at the curb or in alleyways while on my daily walk. Here I have catalogued a number of the items found and I have begun to speculate on the stories they tell.GleaningFigure 14. An unusual domestic object, which Varda has gleaned from the curb. Still from Agnès Varda’s docu-mentary The Gleaners and I (2000) (Les Gleaners et la Glaneuse)57 Frichot, 82-3.33 34Bathroom FixturesTwo sinks, one toilet base and one toilet water tank. No toilet seat. They are all fully disconnected and sitting behind a garage, near a bright mural. They look pretty clean, actually. The colours are nice, they look retro, and the materials seem solid. They	are	definitely	not	new.They would be great for a movie, or if someone wanted to renovate in powder aqua and white. Reminds me of two ends of a spectrum: grandma and that young hip loft-living diy-er. I guess they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.The sinks have been arranged outside so that they, in complete contrast with their original purpose, do not gather water.Figure 16. Bathroom Fixtures in Plan, Section and Elevation, Scale 1:10 (Drawing by Author).Figure 15. Bathroom Fixtures (Photo by Author).PlanSectionElevation35 36SeatsOne chair and one stool on the public side of someone’s fence in the alleyway.The chair looks vintage, made of steam bent wood and metal. My mom said she had the exact same chairs in her small-town high school.The stool has paint splatters all over, somewhat unstable wooden legs (with interesting curved details) and a vinyl seat cover. It is not very padded, it is quite a hard seat.Both seats are quite hard - they don’t seem very comfortable. Maybe they are from an art studio or just extra seating hanging around in the garage that is no longer needed. They haven’t been rained on yet. Someone will snap these up.Figure 18. Seats in Plan, Section and Elevation, Scale 1:10 (Drawing by Author).Figure 17. Seats (Photo by Author).Plan PlanSectionSection Elevation Elevation37 38Framed Wall DecorCheap frame, maybe Ikea? Spray-paint style art, but it seems like a poster to me. The pink post-it note matches the colour scheme. It seems like someone is redecorating, or maybe cleaning out a kids’ room.Even though it says “San Francisco,” it doesn’t remind me of San Francisco.Fig. 20. Framed Wall Decor in Plan, Section and Elevation, Scale 1:10 (Drawing by Author).Figure 19. Framed Wall Decor (Photo by Author).PlanSectionElevation39 40Crate of Kitchen StuffAlso not rained on yet, otherwise this would be an incredible fountain / bird bath sculpture. Seems like there are lots of good things in there, not least of all the plastic milk crate.Figure 22. Crate of Kitchen Stuff in Plan and Elevation, Scale 1:10 (Drawing by Author).Figure 21. Crate of Kitchen Stuff (Photo by Author).PlanElevation41 42Shoes, Sweater and Ikea CatalogueThese must have been here for awhile, they’re covered in frost. All three things that would get completely ruined in the fall/winter rain. They seem to be arranged from least to most valuable, left to right. Plastic Corn on the CobThis was sitting on the top of a short fence outside someone’s house. Without knowing it was plastic, I would have thought it was:a) real cornb) a high-art sculptureWhy are they getting rid of just this one plastic vegetable? What happened to the set?PlanPlanSectionSectionElevationElevationFigure 24. Plastic Corn, Scale 1:10 (Photo and Drawing by Author).Figure 23. Shoes, Sweater, Ikea Catalogue, Scale 1:10 (Photo and Drawing by Author).43 44Chapter Three: Methods and PrecedentsFigure 25. CAD Block Windows and Objects from Mark Foster Gage Architects’ Helsinki Guggenheim Proposal. (Drawing by Author).45 46Mashup MethodologyThe act of gleaning, of finding and foraging items, becomes fodder for a methodology of mashup, as explained by Bruce Grenville in the book/gallery exhibition MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture: “The term mashup is in many ways a placeholder for a moniker  that could faithfully capture the breadth and complexity of the  historical periods described above… the term is the container for a  long list of names and actions that are equally constrained by  the context of their origins, but that offer a compelling insight  into the historical evolution of this method and speak to the  complexity and variety of the movement - collage, montage,  readymade, bricolage, assemblage, found object, décollage, cut- up, quotation, collaboration, détournement, appropriation,  inhabitation, sampling, kit-bashing, rip, remix, co-production,  recombinant, postproduction, cut/copy, supercut, hacking, culture  jamming, aggregator, etc. Within the context of this project…we’ve  settled on mashup, a late-twentieth-century term that has been  adopted in a wide variety of media and practices to describe the  mixing, blending and reconfiguration of existing materials (sounds,  images, objects, events) to produce a new outcome.”58Mashup encompasses the methodologies and operations adopted by a great many artists and architects in the twentieth century who work with the readymade or found object. Picasso used collage to critique representation,59 Marcel Duchamp brought us his surrealist/absurdist readymades,60 Andy Warhol worked in appropriation and assemblage,61 and many many others took on these methods of foraging, altering and re-representing to draw attention to the world in which we live. Figure 26. “Bicycle Wheel” by Marcel Duchamp, 1951. 58 Bruce Grenville, “Mashup: The Birth of Modern Culture,” MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture (London UK: Black Dog Publishing, 2016), 20.59 Christine Poggi, “In Defiance of Painting: Cubism, Futurism , and the Invention of Collage,” MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture (London UK: Black Dog Publishing, 2016), 53.60 Poggi, “In Defiance of Painting,” 51.61 Nicholas Chambers, “Andy Warhol’s Brutal Assemblage,” MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture (London UK: Black Dog Publishing, 2016), 98.62 Mark Foster Gage, Mark Foster Gage: Projects and Provocations (New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc, 2018), 73.47 48+ =Digital 3D ObjectsFound OnlineRemove Colour / Material,Join in 3D Modelling ProgramIn recent years, the kitbashing method of appropriation has surfaced in the realm of architecture. Mark Foster Gage Architects’ (MFGA) proposal for the Helsinki Guggenheim museum is a pivotal example of the use of kitbashing methodology in architecture. Here, the internet serves as the kit of parts from which MFGA derives components. The building is composed entirely of “recycled digital materials, objects that were randomly downloaded from various online sources.”62 While MFGA have applied the kitbashing aesthetic to other buildings more closely related to my thesis topic (such as the Velichor Residential Building and Metropol Hotel in New York), the use of found digital objects and the way these objects dictate the built interior and exterior space in this museum proposal is a much stronger example of the unique space-making capacity of kitbashing. MFGA describes their chosen objects as having “no intentional existing relationships with one another or larger symbolic agenda,”63 and outlines their aim as stripping objects of symbolic associations in favour of creating a “new and highly complex form of architectural aesthetic.”64 However, despite their formal intentions, I would argue that this could also be read as an exercise in appropriation and the sampling and incorporation of cultural artifacts into a building that is, ultimately, both a product and a preserver of culture. The act of reuse and recombination of materials to create new things is certainly apt when working in the realm of identity and mass consumption, in a society where, as previously established, identity is built through a combination of objects selected from a limited set of pre-established choices. Consumers today build their own expression of individuality in the same kitbashing, mashup way that so many artists turn to. In this way, individuals “appropriate products of the culture efficaciously to their own ends,” subverting and working around “precast roles and identities.”65Objects are used in combination to generate a narrative - whether it be the identity of an individual or that of a building.Figure 27. Mark Foster Gage Architects’ proposal for the Helsinki Guggenheim, 2014. Digital Rendering.Figure 28. An analysis of the objects used, and the kitbashing methodology adoped in the proposal for the Helsinki Guggenheim by MFGA (Drawing by Author).62 Mark Foster Gage, Mark Foster Gage: Projects and Provocations (New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc, 2018), 73.63 Gage, Projects and Provocations, 73.64 Gage, 73.65 Archer, 13.49 50“We live our lives in the middle of things. Material culture carries emotions and ideas of startling intensity.”66In her book Evocative Objects: Things We Think With, Sherry Turkle presents a collection of stories that centre on a series of objects: a cello, ballet slippers, a raincoat, a datebook, a vacuum cleaner and a silver pin among many others. These various chapters relate personal stories, observations or associations and events in the teller’s life. Her book is evidence of the ways that objects become vessels for identity and narrative.And as Paul Emmons and Luc Phinney write in Confabulations: Storytelling in Architecture, in the archeological tradition “the story of stories emerges from the fragmentary prehistory of barely discernible tools - chips of snapped flint, fired clay, charred wood.”67At this point it would be accurate to say that objects tell stories. Architecture tells stories, or “architects build stories.”68 They may be stories about identity or ideology or politics, archaeological or personal. As such, this project will ultimately be framed within a story.Storytelling has been central to architecture throughout history and has been utilized by a plethora of architects. Beyond the use of narrative in architectural ornamentation - a tradition practiced throughout much of architecture’s history (and one that has only within the past century fallen out of vogue)69 - the creation of architecture as monument has historically been used to maintain narratives of particular events and particular authorities.  In the mid- and late- twentieth century, the use of narrative in presenting speculative or fictional architecture could be seen in the works of those such as Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin, John Hejduk, and Superstudio. StorytellingFigure 29. Drawing 9 from John Hejduk’s The Lancaster/Hanover Masque. Hejduk’s fictional architecture relies heavily on the relationship between subjects and objects.66 Turkle, Evocative Objects, 6.67 Paul Emmons and Luc Phinney, Confabulations: Storytelling in Architecture (Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2018), 1.68 Emmons and Phinney, Confabulations, 2.69 Antoine Picon, Ornament: The Politics of Architecture and Subjectivity (Somerset: Wiley, 2014), 52-5.51 52The Lancaster / Hanover Masque by John Hejduk (Above)The Lancaster/Hanover Masque, also known as Text 8 is a 1992 project by John Hejduk published in book format. It is a study of object/subject via fictional narrative, resulting in architectural form. It is sited in a rural farm community of no real geographical location, and focuses on spaces for living. It is a “matrix of “objects” and “subjects””70 where objects and subjects “can be positioned in a symmetrical relationship which is not closed off or cyclical.”71 Everything is equated to the other and the architecture is generated via these interconnecting subject-object relationships. Via narrative the audience is drawn into a “mirror-labyrinth”72 that reflects the viewer’s “own personal story (of “dwelling”)… acted out by the “subjects” and “objects.”73 The fictional architecture here is entirely narrative, and it is also very visually compelling.Figure 30.(left) “Store House, Scare-Crow House, and Weather Station,” Drawing by John Hejduk, Lancaster/Hanover MasqueFigure 31. (right) “Music House,” Drawing by John Hedjuk, Lancaster/Hanover Masque, 1980-1982. DR1988:0291:036, John Hejduk fonds, CCA Collection. Both Images from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, https://www.cca.qc.ca/en/articles/issues/26/what-about-the-provinces/59105/the-lancasterhanover-masque.Figure 32. Drawing of “Columbarium Architecturae (Museum of Disappearing Buildings)” by Brodsky and UtkinAlexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin (Right)“Columbarium Architecturae (Museum of Disappearing Buildings)” (1984/90, Project),74 is a fictional project which is drawn in a specific location in a city, and deals with the archiving of demolished buildings. Their drawings are paired with written pieces of poetry or prose. Their storytelling approach throughout their works, and this one in specific is a good example of use of narrative for emotive effect, as well as to provoke and critique.70 Wim van den Bergh, “Icarus’ Amazement, or the Matrix of Crossed Destinies,” The Lancaster/Hanover Masque = Le Masque Lancaster/Hanover (Montreal, QC: Centre Canadien D’Architecture, 1992), 99.71 Bergh, “Icarus’ Amazement,” 102.72 Bergh, 102.73 Bergh, 102.74 Alexander Brodsky, Ilya Utkin and Lois Nesbitt, Brodsky & Utkin (New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2015).53 54The Continuous Monument and Extra-Urban Material Culture by Stuperstudio“The Continuous Monument” (1969, Project), is a platform for living that was sited (continuously) around the globe and uses narrative as a critique of globalism and consumer culture.75“Zeno’s Conscience,” part of “Extra-Urban Material Culture” (1973-78, Project), an anthropological investigation of the tools present in Tuscan peasant culture, Italy.76 Figure 33. Images from “The Continuous Monument” project by Superstudio.Figure 34. Images from “Zeno’s Conscience,” part of “Extra-Urban Material Culture” (1973-78) project by Superstudio. From Memory of the Peasant, http://thememoryofthepeasant.sink.sexy/chapter1.html75 Peter Lang, “Superstudio: Life without Objects - 2003,”  https://www.petertlang.net/design-culture/superstudio-life-without-objects/.76 Edoardo Manzoni, “Chapter 1: the Memory of the Peasant.” http://thememoryofthepeasant.sink.sexy/chapter1.html.The power of these projects to stimulate the imagination and critique contemporaneous society lies in their use of narrative. As precedents for a storytelling methodology, they point to the way that stories can be used as a form of provocation, humour and empathy. All elements I feel that we could use right now. As Nigel Coates points out in Narrative Architecture: “Narrative is a theme that is writ large in the social dynamics of our  times; semiotic understanding of language, communication and  identity has brought us virtually to the point where the language  of architecture and those of advertising and the media cross over  into one another’s territories.”77Evidently, ours is a society composed of objects and stories. The question is, how might we compose an architecture of these?77 Nigel Coates, Narrative Architecture (Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley, 2012), 11.55 56Part Two: A Cul de Sac57 58PreambleWriting is part of my process. Perhaps you got a little lost in Part One. I certainly did. Part Two found me going in circles, thinking about home, consumerism, objects, suburbia, gleaning, mashup and storytelling. I spent a lot of time thinking and not so much producing, and after meandering down a series of roads, pursuing offshoots and taking new turns, I found myself in a cul de sac of my own making. And there I stayed. From there, Part Two grew.My research began with an interest in objects - how we consume them, how they are used to construct identity, and thus how they may come to exist as artifacts from which we might glean information. In this research I had turned to suburbia, a place built around the consumption of objects (the home and all its contents) as a form of identity. And although suburbia may be treated like a thing of the past by many (historian Robert Fishman announced in 1987 that the era of the suburb was “over”78), suburbia has come to house a majority of the population in America - more than rural and urban combined.79 Suburbia then, is a living, relevant thing, and one that has lived long beyond the glossy “finished” product it was previously sold as.Part Two of this project explores the conflicting identities of suburbia: suburbia as consumer product, or financial investment to be protected versus the use of suburbia, or the home, as a structure for living.The project is cited at the confluence of two texts: the Homeowners Association Rules which enforce, in a top-down manner the use and appearance of the suburb; and a written narrative that outlines a series of events within the community.  The written narrative works to question both the rules in existence and the immediate and lasting impacts of individual resistance on the built environment. The project is fiction based on fact. The HOA Rules were constructed by adopting, adapting and piecing together found documents. The suburb, cul de sac, and characters in the story are all fictions adapted from reality - they could exist in nearly any suburb in the country.Overall, this project aims to position the suburb, and the rules which govern it, as neither something to be preserved in perpetual stasis nor demolished in favour of a blank slate and brand new iteration. Both the physical and written architectures of the suburb should be treated not as a finished product, but should be revisited, renovated and ultimately amended.This work is a reflection of my process this year: a process of gleaning and searching and putting something down and finding something else. Walking down one path and then turning around. And writing stories to make sense of things; to aspire and question and sometimes sadly, to return to reality.What follows is an adaptation of the final 16-minute long video which was presented at the final review, on April 28th 2021. All drawings are reproduced here at half their intended (printed) size (scale 1:2).The original video may be viewed at:https://vimeo.com/542524820/c92d2aae6e78 Hayden, 16.79 Hayden, 3.59 60The Lawn was Two Feet TallA Story of Amendments in a Suburban Cul de Sac61 62Prologue: The SuburbsThis is the United States of America, and here, the state of California.Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 35. Map of USA (Drawing by Author).Figure 36. Map of California (Drawing by Author).63 64And here is Sacramento, a city that bleeds into a sprawl of suburbs. The suburbs have no widely accepted definition.Here, suburbia may be defined as not the city and not the country, neither urban nor rural. At its ever-expanding edges, newer, bigger developments are built. Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 37. Map of Sacramento, CA (Drawing by Author, adapted from USGS topographic maps)Figure 38. Suburb of Las Vegas.Figure 39. New home.Figure 40. New home construction.65 66The developers here build more of what sells, which is to say, what has sold before, which is to say what has been built before, and which has appealed to the broadest common denominator. Here, Suburbia may be defined as a product not unlike the house itself, prefabricated with an attached garage or the shiny new car and the domestic appliances it houses. When you buy into suburbia, you buy a product, a promise of a certain lifestyle. There are about four hundred houses in this suburb, and in only a handful of styles - four to be exact.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 41. Aerial of the suburb of Levittown.Figure 42. House in Levittown.Figure 43. Aerial Map of East Oaks Suburb (Drawing by Author).Figure 44. The Houses of East Oaks (Drawing by Author).67 68In this cul de sac there are there are 6 houses. This is the physical site of our story.But there is also another site - a written document. This cul de sac, and the neighbourhood it inhabits is governed by a set of written rules enforced by the Homeowners Association. A Homeowners Association (or HOA) is similar to what you might know as a strata, except rather than overseeing just one building, this body presides over a whole residential subdivision. HOAs first came into existence in the early twentieth century, and by 2004, “a fifth of Americans”80 were living in residences governed by HOAs. HOAs oversee services such as garbage pickup, the maintenance of common areas and streets, all the way to outlining the appearance, maintenance and specifics of the subdivision’s architecture and landscaping.81 With regards to design, the East Oaks HOA stance is as follows:“Diversity in the community is encouraged, however, diversity does not mean atypical. Some designs may be considered by the Board and Design Review Committee too extreme, innovative or out of keeping with the surrounding look of the community. The goal of the CC&R’s is to promote uniformity.”8280 Wyatt Clarke and Matthew Freedman, “The Rise and Effects of Homeowners Associations,” Journal of Urban Economics 112 (2019): pp. 1-15, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jue.2019.05.001, 2.81 Clarke and Freedman, 2.82 adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules, Regulations and Interpretations of the Beverlywood Homes Association, PDF File (Sept 17, 2018), https://beverlywoodha.ahn08.com/document_view.asp?id=395, 4.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 45. Aerial Map of Cul de Sac (Drawing by Author).Figure 46. East Oaks Homeowners Association Rules (Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules, Regulations and Interpretations of the Beverlywood Homes Association).69 70On the one hand, HOAs protect the appearance and thus the financial value of the houses in this neighbourhood. On the other hand, they are characterized as “an instrument of exclusion and a successor to racially restrictive covenants.”83 This neighbourhood’s HOA rules were written many decades ago. Some amendments have been made over the decades, but the general character of the community has remained the same for about 70 years, and is protected, preserved in time.83 Clarke and Freedman, 6.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 47. Aerial Map of East Oaks Suburb (Drawing by Author).Figure 48. East Oaks Homeowners Association Bounds (Drawing by Author).Figure 49. Perspective looking into Cul de Sac (Image by Author).71 721. The Guest RoomFaye had once had faith in the new developments she helped to design. She had thought they were part of a new model for living, a new suburb for the twenty-first century. But she’s not so sure anymore. Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 50. Aerial of New Suburb.Figure 51. New Home.Figure 52. Row of New Houses.Figure 53. New Home.73 74But the city is expensive and she’s working mostly from home these days, so she’s decided to make her money stretch a little further. On morning runs she explores the nooks and crannies of the residential sprawl. Old or new, they are all still littered in dead-ends and arranged around large driveways and double garages and lacking in sidewalks and parks and any sort of mixed-use zoning. Backyards are still fenced and front yards are trimmed lawn.She’s staying with her aunt Min in her house in the cul de sac while she looks for a place to rent nearby. There’s this one empty house, #4407, at the end of their cul de sac. She can see it from Min’s guest room window: the lawn is black.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 54. Aerial Map of East Oaks. (Drawing by Author)Figure 55. Aerial Map of Cul de Sac (Drawing by Author).Figure 56. Perspective of Min’s House (Image by Author)Figure 57. Key Plan - Min’s House (Drawing by Author)This Page:Figure 58. Sketch of #4407 (Drawing by Author)75 762. The LawnBill and his mother had lived in #4407 at the end of the cul de sac. Bill had come back to look after his lone mother when she fell ill, and unable to scale the stairs to her room. Bill hadn’t known how far in debt she was until after she’d gone. Behind the facade of international vacations, new furniture and home renos both necessary (one-level living) and less so (brand new countertops), everything had to be sold to fund the hospital visits, the treatments, and the funeral.Facing and This Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 59. Key Plan - #4407 (Drawing by Author).Figure 60.  Real Estate Plans for #4408 (Drawing by Author).Figure 61. Real Estate Plans for #4407 (Drawing by Author).Figure 62. New Kitchen Counters.77 78That past summer, he’d sold everything that wasn’t nailed down to the house. People from the neighbourhood came to give their condolences and pick through the boxes on the lawn. He posted the rest online. The house was slowly emptied, its blood drained first onto the front lawn, and then downstream somewhere out of sight.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 63. Yard Sale.Figure 64. Couch for sale (Image by Author).Figure 65. Yard Sale.Figure 66. Yard Sale.Figure 67. Washing machines posted for sale online (Image by Author).Figure 68. Empty room.Figure 69. Empty room.79 80Then Bill flew back home to sell his own things and while he was away the lawn grew ten inches. And he came back to ten letters from the HOA.Grass grows at about 1/4” per day. By the time Bill had been gone ten days, the grass surrounding his house was 4 inches tall, the max height allowed by the HOA. But he’d sold his lawn mower. And he didn’t have the $2,000.00 they wanted. Every letter left a paper cut, and he’d already sold everything but the house itself. Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 70. Lawn growth diagram (Drawing by Author).Figure 71. East Oaks HOA Rules, excerpt (Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules, Regulations and Interpretations of the Beverlywood Homes Association).81 82So he ignored the fines.And he let the grass grow.And he stacked the HOA letters until they grew to foot stool height.And he sat with his feet on them and watched the grass sway in the fall breeze.The HOA put a lien on the house.And then they foreclosed.And the day he got that final notice, the lawn was two feet tall.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 72. Online posting - Lawn Mower for Sale (Image by Author).Figure 73. Sketchbook pages showing Bill’s footstool of letters and grass growth (Drawing by Author).Figure 74. East Oaks HOA Rules, excerpt (Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules).83 84He borrowed his neighbour’s weed whacker and cut a four foot wide ring around the exterior perimeter of his lot.Then he borrowed a leaf blower and cleared that same ring of all the trimmings. Then he walked thirty blocks across the suburb and came back with a fire extinguisher and the fire chief.He put the stack of HOA letters in the centre of his front lawn and lit it on fire.And the whole cul de sac came out and watched from the road.And after two hours, all of Bill’s grass was less than an inch high and smouldering.And Bill left and never came back.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 75. Sketchbook showing firebreaks (Image by Author, Firebreaks document Adapted from Max Bennett et al, “Chapter 4: Firebreaks and Shaded Fuelbreaks,” in Reducing Fire Risk on your Forest Property, 13-15. Corvallis, Or: Oregon State University Extension Service, 2010)Figure 76. Perspective of Bill’s lawn burning (Image by Author)85 86A For Sale sign went up in front of #4407 the next day, HOA-approved atop the charred ground. The HOA owned the house, since there was no mortgage on it.But the house wouldn’t sell.3. The For Sale SignFacing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 77. Perspective of the For Sale Sign outside #4407 (Image by Author).Figure 78. Key Plan - #4407 (Drawing by Author).87 88And the mall nearby closed, which sent housing prices lower.And there was a new development going up just across the highway, which sent housing prices lower again.And Bill’s neighbours began to hate the empty house and its For Sale sign. They complained to each other and then to the HOA. And one of them kept kicking down and crumpling up and bending the sign.And the house wouldn’t sell.So the HOA finally gave up, and the sign came down.They figured they would wait until the prices were back up.But the shopping mall was closed and the new development was going up just across the highway and this meant that the value of the house would stay low for a long time.And the house at the end of the cul de sac, #4407, would sit there for awhile.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 79. Aerial Map of East Oaks with New Development and Closed Mall circled (Drawing by Author).Figure 80. Perspective of New Development construction (Image by Author)Figure 81. Mall.Figure 82. New Development Flyer (Image by Author).Figure 83. East Oaks HOA Memo re: sign damage (Image by Author).Figure 84. Perspective of #4407 (Image by Author).89 904. One RoofAuntie Min had an idea, instead of continuing to look for a rental, maybe Faye should just stay. What if the two women lived independently but together… two houses, one roof.Suddenly the bag of tools inhabiting the corner of Faye’s little room had a purpose, was open, was creating a racket.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 85. Key Plan - Min’s House (Drawing by Author).Figure 86. Sketchbook pages showing Faye’s perspective sketches and plans (Drawing by Author).91 92Allen, Min’s neighbour was the first to complain. He & Elise had lived in the cul de sac the longest, in the house just next to Min’s. They were quiet and private and would often peek over the fence to make note of the construction. But it was Min’s right to do what she wanted with the inside of her home, no approval needed. In the end the changes weren’t obvious from the street, except that there was no front door anymore, it had been replaced with an open-air corridor between the two suites.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 87. East Oaks HOA Rules, excerpt (Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules).Figure 88. Key Plan - Allen’s House (Drawing by Author).Figure 89. Sketchbook pages showing Faye’s interventions (Drawing by Author).Figure 90. Perspective of the open-air corridor, from front steps (Image by Author).93 945. The Bird BlindBack at #4407, the yard of the empty HOA house at the end of the cul de sac where Bill used to live, was in blossom with native flowering plants and the whole area had overgrown into a soft meadow. A family of birds was bathing in the puddles at the bottom of the pool.Facing Page, left to right:Figure 91. Sketchbook page showing new plants at #4407 (Drawing by Author).Figure 92. Key Plan - #4407 (Drawing by Author).95 96One morning, Faye saw Allen standing in the empty house’s backyard. He was just standing there, looking up at the trees, or down into the pool. As weeks passed, he sometimes brought a friend, then there were more people, and they dragged over chairs and stools and held binoculars and cameras to their eyes, and when they were rained on or the sun became too hot, they sat under the overhang of the roof at the back of the house. They watched the birds and the birds watched them.Slowly, the birdwatchers had assembled a low wall of scavenged materials to hide behind. Faye offered to help them build something a little more pleasant. The house was sort of common property, right?Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 93. Sketchbook page showing Allen in the backyard of #4407 (Drawing by Author).Figure 94. Sketchbook pages showing gathering of Bird Watchers and Faye’s brainstorming (Drawing by Author).97 98Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 95. Section of #4407 (Drawing by Author).Figure 96. Section of #4407 showing platforms built in garage (Drawing by Author).99 100But the neighbourhood busybodies were on high alert. So soon they were building everything inside the house itself, in one long line from the patio doors to the garage. They only built on Saturday mornings from 10am-12pm when everyone normally mowed their lawns, and the construction noise was drowned out. Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 97. Plan of #4407 (Drawing by Author).Figure 98. Plan of #4407 showing platforms in garage and planned location of bird blind in backyard (Drawing by Author).101 102And when they were done, they launched the bird blind like a boat, jettisoning it from inside the house into the backyard.Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 99. Section of #4407 showing bird blind built in garage (Drawing by Author).Figure 100. Section of #4407 showing bird blind moved into place (Drawing by Author).103 104 In the end the HOA didn’t know who to fine, they couldn’t fine themselves. And it was technically just under 6’ tall…Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 101. Section of Bird Blind showing height (Drawing by Author).Figure 102. East Oaks HOA Rules, excerpt (Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules).Figure 103. Perspective of Bird Blind (Drawing by Author).105 1066. The Front YardThe Hernanadez’s at #4406 loved their front yard. They gathered there to sit and chat and look out over the cul de sac. And there was a never-ending barbecue. The Hernandez family front lawn was magnetic, it was always full of visitors. But when their little front yard fence went up, it wasn’t long before the HOA had been alerted, and the Hernandez’s were promptly threatened with a fine. 84 Inspired by James Rojas’ “Latino Urbanism” Amanda Merck, “James Rojas: How Latino Urbanism Is Changing Life in American Neighborhoods,” Salud America, November 6, 2020, https://salud-america.org/james-rojas-how-latino-urbanism-is-changing-life-in-american-neighborhoods/.84Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 104. Key Plan - The Hernandez House (Drawing by Author).Figure 105. Aerial View of Hernandez House - people gathering (Image by Author).Figure 106. Aerial View of Hernandez House - new fence (Image by Author).107 108When the fence came out it left a little row of post-holes. This they turned into a little trench in which they planted a line of low shrubs, which became the shortest “fence” they were allowed. And the parties continued.Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 107. Sketchbook pages showing fence turned into planting (Drawing by Author).Figure 108. Aerial View of Hernandez House - new shrubs (Image by Author).Figure 109. Aerial View of Hernandez House - west fence taken down (Image by Author).109 110The fence between #4406 and #4407 (the empty house at the end of the cul de sac) was slowly removed, and soon their neighbours, Allen & Elise at #4405 took down the fence between their yards too.The kids played in the newly merged mega yard, while just out of sight Juan prepared an architectural scheme of his own.Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 110. Aerial View of Hernandez House - east fence taken down (Image by Author).Figure 111. Sketch showing Juan digging and kids playing (Drawing by Author).111 112And then one day the whole house was lifted off its foundations and onto the back of a truck, which hauled it fifty feet further into the lot and onto the waiting foundation.Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 112. Plan Drawing of Hernandez House (Drawing by Author).Figure 113. Plan Drawing of Hernandez House showing new foundations (Drawing by Author).Figure 114. Perspective showing house being lifted onto truck (Image by Author).113 114The house had moved back. Way back on the lot until there was only the minimum set back for the backyard and the whole lot was mostly front yard. And a ring of old concrete foundation that was filled in with gravel became the best spot for parties. Which often spilled over into the yard of the house at the end of the cul de sac, #4407.Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 115. Plan Drawing of Hernandez House showing new layout (Drawing by Author).Figure 116. Aerial View of Hernandez House - the house has moved back (Image by Author).115 1167. The ClotheslineWhen the Hernandez family washing machine broke down, Franny, the Italian woman in #4409 offered the service of her washing machine. And could she wash.At first it was just a favour to the Hernandezs. But soon no one in the cul de sac did their own laundry. Franny made your clothes new again, better than new. Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 117. Key Plan - Franny’s House (Drawing by Author).Figure 118. Aerial View of Franny’s House - showing a clothesline (Image by Author).117 118One day Franny pitched up on Faye’s doorstep with an idea for a trade in services. Fresh laundry for a small amendment to her architecture. Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 119. Sketches by Faye (Drawing by Author).Figure 120. Plan of Franny’s House (Drawing by Author).119 120She wanted something to hide all her clotheslines behind, but out of the way of the oncoming breeze. All she needed was one big facade at the front of her property, something that looked like a house from the street but was all drying space in the back. Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 121. Plan of Franny’s House - After Intervention (Drawing by Author).Figure 122. Sections of Franny’s House - After Intervention (Drawing by Author).121 122The HOA Board of Directors, had been arguing for months about her operation. In the end, you couldn’t see the clotheslines from the street and everyone had denied any cash being exchanged… so they ignored it.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 123. East Oaks HOA Rules, excerpt (Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules) Figure 124. Aerial View of Franny’s House after the intervention (Image by Author).Figure 125. Perspective of the inside of Franny’s House after the intervention (Image by Author).123 1248. The Garage DoorMin had always felt bad about what had happened to Bill. She thought she was helping when she bought out the contents of his kitchen at his unsanctioned yard sale. But there’s something about having all these extra glasses sitting in her kitchen when she knows they came from his.  She wonders what happened to the rest of his things, where they all went, dispersed across the neighbourhood and the city...Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 126. Key Plan - #4407 (Drawing by Author).Figure 127.  Aerial Map of Cul de Sac (Drawing by Author).Figure 128. Aerial Map of East Oaks (Drawing by Author).Figure 129. Aerial Map of Sacramento, CA (Drawing by Author, Adapted from USGS topographic maps)125 126 ...and the county and who, knows, maybe the state. They could be anywhere, just like Bill.She wonders what will happen to his house. What will happen to all the solid bits that he didn’t sell: the walls where pictures used to hang and where the height of his younger self had been tracked along the doorframe. Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 130. Aerial Map of California (Drawing by Author, Adapted from USGS topographic maps).Figure 131. Real estate listing for #4407 (Image by Author).127 128She doesn’t really need all this extra glassware. She asks Faye to help her find them a new home. And Faye sees an opportunity to put a door...Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 132. Sketch of glassware (Drawing by Author).Figure 133. Sketch of #4407 (Drawing by Author).129 130...in a door.Inside the garage at #4407 at the end of the cul de sac, there are now floor to ceiling shelves, like a series of delicate ladders. And all of Min’s extra glassware and kitchenware and housewares are displayed there, displayed on the shelves as if in an art gallery.Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 134. Sketch of #4407 - with new door (Drawing by Author).Figure 135. Plan of #4407 showing display shelves (Drawing by Author).131 132And there is one small sign: “Take one, maybe leave one. No money is exchanged here.”Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 136. Section of #4407 showing display shelves (Drawing by Author).Figure 137. Sketches of door and shelving details, handwritten sign (Drawing by Author).133 134But the HOA really cracked down when they heard that Mo had returned from a travel writing gig and had brought his extensive knowledge of cocktails back with him - Min had persuaded him to start bartending at the new local pub, which was in fact, the garage door #4407, the empty HOA-owned house at the end of the cul de sac.Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 138. Key Plan - Mo’s House (Drawing by Author).Figure 139. Sketches of Mo’s Bar and shelving (Drawing by Author).Figure 140. Perspective of the garage door at #4407 (Image by Author).135 1369. The Walls Fall DownOne day a letter was dropped in all the cul de sac mailboxes, forbidding the inhabitants from entering the empty house at the end of the cul de sac, #4407. That was that for Faye. She had seen community grow like a weed in a crack and she had seen it squashed at every turn by a stately letter and the low threat of a fine.Faye was angry. She was angry that the HOA kept sending letters of complaint to the Hernandezs and Franny and Min. She was angry that they seemed to care more about lawns and garbage days and whether your yard sale was approved than installing sidewalks or fostering community spaces. Facing Page:Figure 141. East Oaks HOA letters to residents - No trespassing, Property Alterations and Business Use (Image by Author).137 138This could be their community space.So she removed the walls.One night it was the back wall.The next night it was the side wall of the living room.The final night was the front facade.And the final morning, there was just a second storey, a roof, and the garage. And no first floor walls.Welcome to the open-air community centre at the end of the cul de sac, #4407 Pinewood Crescent.Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 142. Key Plan - #4407 (Drawing by Author).Figure 143. Model of #4407 with walls removed (Model by Author).Figure 144. Perspective of #4407 with no walls (Image by Author).139 14010. The Fences Go UpAfter the walls came down, the fences went up.Tall metal construction fences. With signs saying “NO TRESPASSING.”Faye would stand by the fence and look at the house, and she would imagine what might have been. What could have been made of this place. But the HOA would’ve found a way to stop her.Or maybe they wouldn’t have - they didn’t stop Juan moving the Hernandez house all the way back to make a bigger front yard. They didn’t stop Franny from running her laundromat and they didn’t stop Min from moving her library of things into her own garage and leaving the garage door open all day. Facing Page, top to bottom, left to right:Figure 145. Perspective of #4407 with construction fences (Image by Author).Figure 146. Perspective of Hernandez House being lifted onto truck (Image by Author).Figure 147. Perspective of Franny’s House (Image by Author).Figure 148. Perspective of Min’s Library of Objects in her garage (Image by Author).141 142This cul de sac had been left with an empty house and anger and sadness and guilt and confusion and they tried to turn it into something more useful and more hopeful than a house where the old owner couldn’t stay and the new owner couldn’t sell. Where there was no value left.But there was value there in the potential to be something different. And that way of seeing this house had infected the cul de sac. A garage door couldn’t just be a garage door anymore. A yard couldn’t just be a mown lawn anymore.Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 149. Aerial Map of the Cul de Sac (Drawing by Author).Figure 150. Perspective of the garage door at #4407 (Image by Author).Figure 151. Perspective of the Bird Blind (Image by Author).143 14411. The VoteThe house at the end of the cul de sac had an offer on it.And because it was owned by the HOA, the community had to vote.In the end only 5 votes were against, all from owners in the cul de sac. The offer was accepted.Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 152. Real estate listing for #4407, sale pending (Image by Author).Figure 153. East Oaks sale voting ballot (Image by Author).Figure 154. Minutes of the vote (Image by Author).145 146The new development was completed, and they needed a through road to bypass the highway. And the house at the end of the cul de sac was knocked down. And paved over. And now the cul de sac isn’t a cul de sac anymore. There’s a funny elbow and a constant stream of cars.And the rest of the neighbourhood has seen a sudden rise in house prices, but this one cul de sac which isn’t a cul de sac anymore never saw that jump. Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 155. Perspective of completed construction of the New Development (Image by Author).Figure 156. Aerial Map of East Oaks showing new through road (Drawing by Author).Figure 157. Aerial Map of the Cul de Sac showing new through road (Drawing by Author).147 148Epilogue: The Year AfterA year later, Sam has just moved into the cul de sac. As he is flipping through the meeting minutes of the last AGM, he notices a number of amendments to the rules - just small things: lawns, yard sales, clotheslines...Facing Page, top to bottom:Figure 158. Key Plan - Sam’s House (Drawing by Author)Figure 159. Amended East Oaks HOA Rules (Image by Author, Adapted from Beverlywood Homes Association, Rules).Figure 160. Minutes of the last East Oaks Annual General Meeting (Image by Author).149 150...Beside each amendment a house is cited - Min’s, Frannys, The Hernandez House - why is every ammendment attached to a house in his cul de sac, when there’s a whole suburb of houses lying just beyond? And what’s this one address, #4407, who lives there?Sam steps out onto the street and looks to his right.It would have been right there.Facing Page:Figure 161. Perspective looking into the Cul de Sac, which isn’t a Cul de Sac anymore (Image by Author).151 152BibliographyArcher, John. Architecture and Suburbia from English Villa to American Dream  House, 1690-2000. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.Arvatov, Boris and Christina Kiaer. “Everyday Life and the Culture of the  Thing (Toward the Formulation of the Question).” October 81,  (1997): 119-128. doi:10.2307/779022.Augaitis, Daina, Bruce Grenville, Stephanie Rebick, et al., and Vancouver  Art Gallery. MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture. London, UK: Black  Dog Publishing, 2016.Baudrillard, Jean. The System of Objects. New York: Verso, 1996Bennett, Max et al. “Chapter 4: Firebreaks and Shaded Fuelbreaks.” In Reducing Fire Risk  on Your Forest Property, 13–15. 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