The contemporary city exists in a state of perpetual emergency: it ignores the alliance between architecture and urbanism, while simultaneously denying questions of large scale development. To elaborate this paradox today is to assume the question of the superblock: the clearance and development of sites larger than the conventional block.  While this anti-type has often been denigrated by traditionalists, the SUPERPAD demands reconsideration with the passing of the metropolitan grid, whether by default, design, or destruction. 

The SUPERPAD offers two versions for metropolitan life after the grid, sponsored under conditions that range from saturated terrain to thickened air: the LILY and the CLOUD. The New Urbanist transect is taken as a literal site to reinvent plausible metropolitan life for the post-industrial city... there, like an archipelago of volcanic hotspots, a series of autonomous islands or superpads disperse and flock according to opportune sites of contradiction: from super-metropolitan islands in swamp wilderness to derlirious ruralism in depopulated inner-city quarters... like tectonic plates, the program envelope is defined by an upthrust of parking, cordoning offices and connecting work to live, while the subduction of a green carpet voids for light and air... instead of consuming ground, density here makes new ground in a liberating moment of free plan and free section.

© 2006 NOA: Andrew Heid with R.E. Somol, Dan Wood and Amale Andraos. Master of architecture design thesis, awarded Princeton's highest honor for design excellence, the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize.

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