Terrain Vague, a word coined by Ignacio de Sola Morales, a Spanish architect, became a popular discussion topic among the architectural academics in the 90s. Terrain Vague in its French definition refers to the uninhabited, vacuum-like spaces in urban cities. De Sola Morales criticized architects for changing those spaces by suggesting changes that, by nature of the space, were too violent. He claimed that the idea of absence in a dense landscape as an essential part of the urban fabric as it allows for expectations and represent an anonymous reality.


A similar introspection took place in the early 1970s by Gordon Matta-Clark in Fake Estates, where he purchased “gutterspace” in New York City- unusually small unusable slivers of land sliced through the city grid. Matta-Clark died before realizing his plans of using them as sites for his unique brand of “anarchitectural” intervention into urban space.


With increasing population and area, the density of Houston remains very much the same. This allows for uninhabited terrain vague to thrive and remain constant within various parts of the city. The spaces aren’t small like in New York City—they are large enough for actual architectural proposals, but that can truly effect the nature of the spaces, according to de Sola Morales. These places take place abundantly along transportation and natural routes, but also within lots in the city that are abandoned or taken back by the city for various reasons.


These spaces become lost, forgotten and referred to as dangerous, but in fact, are important for Houston’s unique urban identity.


This is a continuous exploration of these spaces through drawings, collections and textiles.

Vague Estates