The Interchange

THE INTERCHANGE: MOVING BEYOND THE DIVISIVE HIGHWAY

Location: Durham, North Carolina

The physical form of cities is a direct reflection of societal priorities. In this car-dominated landscape, the infrastructure that enables vehicles to move from place to place has left indelible scars on urban areas in the form of unyielding, labyrinthian freeways. From Washington, D.C. to New York City to a host of other cities across the United States, these transit corridors are, in many ways, concrete fossils: the preservation of a particular period of monofunctionality that will remain for ages barring great investment and willpower.

Vehicular infrastructure is traditionally invasive and divisive, promoting growth of the periphery at the expense of the core’s cohesion. Durham is no different, and given the continued population growth amidst a finite supply of land and resources, one wonders where the tipping point exists.

This speculative project explores the underpinnings of the freeway-dominated landscape before shifting gears to examine possible antidotes fueled by an optimistic attitude of inclusive multifunctionality, culminating in hypothetical alternative that marries architecture, landscape and urbanism.