GROUND

OFFRAMP 11

Would it be blasphemous to propose that contemporary discourse is over-saturated with discussions of architectural objects? Recent debates on the desirable qualities of objecthood--legibility, abstraction, and so on--appear to have reached an impasse. And, while some critics emphasize the effects of architectural objects (measured through phenomenological, environmental, and/or behavioral metrics), it is unclear how their findings could be folded back into the design process. Issue #11 of Offramp aims to momentarily divert our critical gaze away from the architectural object in order to reflect upon its other: the ground. In a world increasingly resistant to dichotomies between human activity and the natural environment, how should architects conceive of sites, territories, topographies and other manifestations of ground? How can the building/ground joint be imagined without reverting to either nihilistic autonomy (see siteless) or nostalgic fetishization (see genius loci)? From the analytic to the speculative, Offramp 11 seeks essays and projects that explore the formal, technological, and political dimensions of ground within architectural design. Tell, or show, the new possibilities that lie within the shifting terrain beneath our buildings.