Dismantling boundaries

March 4, 2013

Issue statement by Iker Gil, editor in chief of MAS Context.


Mas issue boundary cover opening

Since its inception, one of the defining traits of MAS Context has been our endeavor to span disciplinary and geographic divides, creating an open platform for thinkers from multiple backgrounds and owning different expertise to discuss—and disagree about—specific topics. In essence, we’re aiming to break the boundaries between designers and non-designers.

Lately, I’ve attended many discussions in the architectural field centered on the idea of continuing to clearly define the borders of the profession and make it impenetrable to the “outsiders.” Those boundaries are consciously built by the way ideas are approached, discussed, and shared. And I just don’t get it. Architects, as in any other profession, are trained to gain expertise and then excel in a certain area. In no case am I advocating for that expertise to be diluted by assuming roles for which we haven’t been trained and are beyond expertise. However, I do not concede that we should continue to isolate ourselves from the “outsiders,” the non-architects. We remove ourselves from larger discussions that would not only benefit from our expertise and point of view, but also enrich, or even change, our approach because of the expertise and point of view of others. I believe that these conclaves and collaborations can only lead to better and more relevant work.

With this issue, we want to discuss the other types of boundaries present around us, how we deal with them, and their resonant implications. The twenty contributors included in this issue address physical, political, economic, social, cultural, temporal and personal boundaries. While some are more visible than others, they all consciously or unconsciously define how we engage with our built environment and, ultimately, with each other.

It is now your turn to decide what boundaries to keep. And which ones to break.


Boundary has had invaluable help from Lawrence Abrahamson, Paola Aguirre, Alaska, Tobias Armborst, Noël Ashby, Jeremiah Chiu, Andrew Clark, Odile Compagnon, Matthew Coolidge, André Corrêa, Killian Doherty, Renata Graw, Sharon Haar, Nathan Kirkman, Sean Lally, Teaque Lenahan, Meredith Ludwig, Larry Mayorga, Julie Michiels, Dennis Milam, Paul Mougey, Marina Nicollier, Carl Nightingale, Jason Pickleman, Yorgos Rimenidis, Brian Rose, Julia Sedlock, Nora Semel, Aurora Tang, and Mario Vaquerizo.

MAS Context is partially supported by a grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.