Order of the Garden, Columbia GSAPP
Urechi Oguguo (Research+ Visualization)
Architecture is never neutral, it either heals or hurts.
From the racist practice of redlining, to the segregated spaces of the Jim Crow era, to the invention of ‘low-income’ neighborhoods, architecture has historically been a crucial tool in enforcing systemic injustices. In East Village, Manhattan, neighborhoods with predominantly Black, Indigenous and people of color are located adjacent to inhospitable conditions which have been a result of these racist histories. The lack of care for these presidents is evident in the lack of access to equitable social, structural, and environmental infrastructure.
This project breaks down the garden to our understanding of its essence— not as a noun as it is popularly understood, describing a physical place, but as a verb defining an exchange of care at all scales. Using St.Mark’s Church-in-the-bowery as a point of contact, this project focuses on identifying and tending to these areas in the city which have systematically been uncared-for.
Considering the history and location of the church grounds, this project proposes a range of garden prototypes for vast networks of care— for the gardener,and the performance of gardening; for rest, rejuvenation and gathering; for the garden, and the medicinal herbs and vegetables that the space provides with the possibility of growth; for the uncared-for and historically neglected communities in East Village, whose spaces these gardens will be adapted to in order to exchange breath,nutrition, and care.
The order of the garden is a re-thought and reclamation of urban space. It is a disruption of the formal systems that make up the orders of the city as we know it. It is a network that prioritizes the safety, wellbeing, and growth of all participants— human, non-human, and thing alike.