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Competition Guidelines


About the Area
Post-industrial ruin constitutes one of the most contradictory landscapes of modern times, since it fuses the romantic image of the past with what had been the sign of progress and the future. A number of structures have become part of our environment that, replaced by new economies or by the inevitable obsolescence resulting from the consumer cycle, have been swallowed up by a devouring nature. Chimneys, warehouses in ruin, abandoned bridges, all play a role in this testimony of time, of industrial acceleration and the triumph of consumption over production.

Recycling is the pragmatic counterpart to the romantic vision of the post-industrial landscape. We are proposing the recycling idea as an obligatory starting point for artistic creation. Apart from making us more aware of our consumer habits, the recycled object as an art form finds new significance when the elements are reconstituted and re-contextualized into a new fabric.

The goal of our proposal is to explore the relationship between the “artificial” and the wild, lush nature of Puerto Rico. We selected the highway between San Juan and Ponce as a site that already embeds this contrast: the highway as a manmade cut through the wilderness of the landscape as well as a site that only allows for a fast experience, the one from the car.

We propose to insert a strip of artifice into the natural setting of our site. The strip, made out of shipping containers, penetrates the center landscaped divide of the highway. 50 containers are stacked three high to form a stretched line that extends the length of the site to be experienced by people traveling by car. The containers, decommissioned by the shipping industry, promote the act of recycling as an environmentally conscientious practice praising, at the same time, the reuse of objects and ideas as products of human intelligence and creativity. The bold “inspirational” text on the side of all the containers enforces this idea of recycling, suggesting strategies and behaviors to the cars driving by. Yellow reflective paint allows the message to be experienced at night as well, glowing when lit by the car headlights.

The linear strip of containers also enforces the already existing logic set up by the linear highway system as well as the line of nature that encloses the site. In plan, the container strip becomes another layer of information added to the site, another solid line of artifice between the manmade marks of the highway. In elevation the strip begins to dissolve by randomly removing containers to expose the natural landscape beyond, merging artificial and natural. The strip at the same time challenges the existing site conditions while becoming one with its environment.
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