Always Already Occupied
Liyun Chen

The Suburban Block  The suburban condition is an assumptive logic rather than a unique condition. Density measures, minor variants in proportion, specific distance between masses, material repetition and amenity dispersal. The suburban block is a mutation of a stable network. It gives form to neighbourhood character and re-affirms assumed bonds between private ownership and public amenity. The suburban block receives a parcel of land from its surrounding context in exchange for agreeing to retain the status quo.

This suburban block succumbs to aspects of this logic, yet challenges others, for this site is an anomaly.

Unlike the typical suburban blocks to its East, this double block has no abutting neighbours. It is circumscribed by public reserve and its carpark. Its North-West corner is marked by obligation to keep a heritage listed tree. As such, at first glance, the block has no hard boundaries, just obscure parameters. The site is more ambiguous than clear.

This is problematic for a site, which at its centre, seeks to be recognised. It is an entitlement regarding ownership, one that declares the right to inhabit. Yet the centre of this site is uninhabitable for it is riddled with access requirements to public infrastructure. Here the easement declares sovereignty over private ownership. It marginalises occupation to either of its sides.

While the typical suburban site enters the suburban condition through agreement, this site dwells within its contingency, loopholes, and

This site is paradoxical, it resists the unity in which it is circumscribed and formed by, and as such, negates the status quo in which it dwells.
Domesticity —  seeks to control, tame and make familiar. It defines enclosure and imbues it with comfort. It tends to express a sense of stability.

Within the suburban condition, domesticity centres itself within default boundaries - the interior, the owned and the occupied. But within these limiting conditions, the domestic seeks to dominate the entire site by challenging its regulations, enveloping its perimeter and dwelling in its gaps.

While occupation usually softens toward a site’s peripheries for regulatory purposes, here domesticity recedes or it is exposed, and the boundary between site and home is either carefully acknowledged or becomes indistinct. The edge is unstable and malleable, it changes, adjusts and negotiates its external boundaries. Perceptually and literally. The edge of the home is soft but clear. The boundary between public and private wrestle to respond to one other. Edge is not the end point of domesticity, but the mediator between external surroundings and private interior.

Edges no longer support the act of centring, delineating and defining enclosure. The outside flows inside through oblivious trespass and logistical planning. Here at the usually conventional limits of site, domesticity is pushed through the gaps, it is reworked, made malleable and collapses simultaneously.

Domestic entry is no longer attributed to habitual acts, but chance encounters and sometimes even pure negligence.