Jason Griffiths – Manifest Destiny: The Essential Indifference of American Suburban Housing

Lecture date: 2011-10-27

On 18 October 2002 Jason Griffiths and Alex Gino set out to explore the American suburbs. Over 178 days they drove 22,383 miles, made 134 suburban house calls and took 2,593 photographs.

In Manifest Destiny, Griffiths reveals the results of this exploration. Structured through 58 short chapters, the anthology offers an architectural pattern book of suburban conditions all focused not on the unique or specific but the placeless. These chapters are complemented by an introduction by Griffiths and an afterword by Swiss architectural historian Martino Stierli.

Manifest Destiny is a lecture about the contradictory dream of manufactured suburban America.  It presents a first hand account of ordinary houses first photographed in 2003 during a road trip across the US. Today this has grown into book of images and thoughts that present a compromised view of a bucolic world full of perfect homes. And yet despite this abject and at times empty picture Manifest Destinyalso suggest a place of tragic beauty and the enduring, strange allure of the Arcadian dream.

Jason Griffiths is a partner in Gino Griffiths architects and works in the American Southwest. His practice is based on a multidisciplinary approach to architecture working through competitions, buildings, furniture, writing and photography. He has won numerous international awards and has exhibited and published widely including in AA Files, Architecture, JA, JAE and the Sunday Times. Built work includes The Lowest House in the Mojave Desert, Siouxland Transit Bus Stops, K-Zell Metalworks, The Political Ply Shade Canopy and Scottsdale Arts Camera Obscura. Jason has lectured widely throughout Europe, the US and Mexico and has taught at the Bartlett, Westminster, the AA and the Tech de Monterrey.



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