Dredging for Ostia

We came to Rome as examiners of past and present strong cultural conditions as a means to create our work. This is a fundamental component of our practice, as we believe that in order to contribute to the making of place, it is important to understand and acknowledge the identifiable culture of that place. Because of where we practice (Louisiana), we are especially interested in the culture of place-making as it relates to (origin) geography, ecology, infrastructure, historical building, and constructed landscapes. We strive to find a way to contribute contemporarily to the continuation and development of identifiable culture.

So we bring these questions about how to practice in the contemporary world came from our work in southern Louisiana to Rome and we have found at Ostia an exemplary site to test the questions..

- How can a contemporary investigation be simultaneously respectful and critical of as many factors in place-making as possible? At Ostia one must be respectful of its history, development, and connection to geographical situation. One must be critical of its problematic contemporary position of suburban sprawl, in-effective land use, and disconnect with the geographical surroundings.

- What type of investigation can relevantly negotiate these unique environments toward the creation of a more vivid future? At Ostia one finds innumerable unique landscapes must incorporated to fulfill its potential of a more vivid future: ecological, cultural, agricultural, infrastructural, etc…

- Can an investigation, like the region, be simultaneously local and global? Ostia is local: its history, building typologies, land use are absolutely tied to its locality. Ostia is global: suburban sprawl, unplanned land use, ecological deterioration, etc…

- How can infrastructure be an active agent in place making? Ostia was founded through its relationship to infrastructure: port, etc. Now, Infrastructure is required for habitation to control the flooding, to clean the river, to make potable water, to create power, to produce food, to sustain the environment, to provide access, to distribute goods. We engage infrastructure critically to activate environments. Ostia once again is situated well to test this engagement.

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