Date of Award
Master of Architecture (MArch)
Appropriation is an action of intervention in many fields, including legislation, culture and design. To appropriate something (or someplace) means to violate its original ownership and claim it, which in most cases is illegal. However, appropriation doesn’t have to be an illegal act: it can be permitted by the authority and become a “reuse” of an object or space. For example, street dining is often authorized by city governments, so they indicate a transition of the ownership of the street from the vehicles and pedestrians to the restaurants and diners. In architectural terms, appropriating a space (or structure) mostly equals giving it a new program. Lara-Hernandez, Melis and Caputo (2017) define appropriation of the built environment as a continuous synergy between citizens and the urban landscape displayed through specific activities that contributes to the edifice of the social urban landscape. “Appropriation of public spaces allows citizens to take part in the production of urban space, beyond the mere inhabitation/fruition of the already formed urban space by giving citizens the right to completely manage and use their everyday life” (Lefebvre, 1992).
Another action of appropriation is to “Squat”. It is the action of occupying an unoccupied area of land or building that someone does not own. This usually refers to homeless people occupying part of the streets, houses or other types of space owned by the others. In Architecture of Appropriation, there is a seven-step-practice of squatting that can legalize the act of squatting. “In the Netherlands, squatting a building is a complicated and now criminalized intervention in the built environment, yet one that requires an organized structure of solidarity and support as well as specific knowledge and experience.” (Boer, 2019). It is possible to have legitimized squatting. It is also possible to peacefully appropriate something without causing any tension or violating any law.
In summary, the appropriation of architectural space might be illegal in the beginning, but like the artists moving into SoHo in NYC, the act of appropriation or even squatting can be a way to stimulate the economy and eventually completely transform the space. I wish to find possible methods to appropriate the Crook Point Bascule Bridge, the selected site properly and create new programs for the neighborhood. This intervention is not only re-appropriating the urban space, but also making new spaces that have the potential to be appropriated by the locals in the future.
Meng, Haochen, "Appropriate that Bridge: Appropriation as a way of Intervention" (2023). Masters Theses. 1061.
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