Grid off Grid

AAD Studio

Summer 2012

Jing Liu, Florian Idenburg + Ilias Papageorgio, critics

All sorts of systems and structures that organize and steer life govern our society. No system however, whether political, judicial, economic, socio-cultural or spatial, can comprise life in its entirety. Every system has gaps, leaks and ambiguities. This studio sought out the genealogy of these seemingly chaotic and disparate moments. Grid off Grid did not proffer an overly simplified critique of the notion of systems and structuring principles, but aimed to discover a new extended space within.

Set in New York, the Manhattan Grid was the system to use as context. For 200 years, it has projected and fostered the interests of modernity in the city. The exercise was to occupy Union Square as an incubator colony for bio-tech start-ups. The idea of the incubator, an organism that needs to be both connected to and protected from its environment, raised architectural concerns about both autonomy and adherence. How should breeding space be positioned within the intensity of the New York City grid? By intuitive exploration and analytical experiments, we tested the legitimacy of the constitutional principles for a new system. By modes of inserting, disturbing, infecting or overlaying, the new system gained relevance, liberating unknown territories.

Johnny Chan A/B/C
Hsiang Wei Chen D/E/F