Being alone

With his Isolated Building Studies, sociologist David Schalliol is seeking the visual confluence of his interests in urban dynamism, socioeconomic inequality, and photography. By using uniform composition in photographs of Chicago buildings with no neighboring structures, he wants to draw attention to new ways of seeing the common impact of divergent investment processes on urban communities.

Isolated buildings are particularly useful for the exploration of neighborhood transformation and its social correlates, because they are immediately recognized as unusual. As urban buildings, their form illustrates their connection with ad­jacent structures: vertical, boxy, an architecture confined by palpably limited parcels. When their neighboring buildings are missing, a tension emerges: The urban form clashes with the seemingly suburban, even rural setting. Thoughtfully engaging the landscape requires further investigation to resolve this tension: Why is this building isolated? It is from this fundamental friction that the Isolated Building Studies launches.

View the full article in Topos 97.