"The future of mobile architecture is unfolding rapidly. As our buildings become more portable and adaptable, they become more useful. Before long we will shed the bulk and excess of static environments as we look to Generation Mobile and its long-term solutions for the uprooting of today’s built structures." - Jennifer Siegal, Office of Mobile Design
"A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives." -Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace; the Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry
“Save good farming and you save good farmers. Save good farmers and you save farmland. Save farmland and you feed the people. Teach good farming and you create new farmers. Reclaim idle farmland and you resettle America. It’s a call to farms.” - Lynn Miller, Small Farm Journal
America is undergoing a Renaissance in its understanding of food, culture, landscape, and commerce. A new generation of farmers and eaters is driving a shift towards widespread public support of local, sustainable food systems. Some of the hallmarks of this shift are: more and better small farms and markets, more attention to story and authenticity of products, increased community involvement on farms, and a shift towards consumption of locally grown and prepared foods.
New entrepreneurs and designers are faced with this question: in light of these shifts, how can we create an infrastructure for small farmers that increases their cultural, financial, and agricultural stability and viability?
Farmers need an [infra]structure that addresses these cultural imperatives, a system that includes mobile vending space, a value-added kitchen, and community event area. In essence, they need a new toolkit, which gives them the ability to be grounded in place, yet mobile and agile, profitable, engaging and informative.
Like the local food movement, my approach to design looks to place-based traditions, materials, and techniques as a way to benefit from and build upon the accumulated knowledge of generations of designers, continuing the vital conversation between people, place, architecture and sustenance.
I believe this approach has the ability to breathe much-needed authenticity into the world of sustainable design, moving it closer to my belief that sustainable architecture is a relationship in which the built environment, natural environment, and the cultural environment all benefit from one another, with solutions that teach lessons of ecology, culture, and economics.
I am exploring this position through the design of a facility that houses the essentials described above for the New American Farmer in Mid-coast Maine.
The facility includes a stationary base structure that houses space and equipment for larger-scale food production, preparation, and packaging. It includes areas for viewing and participation, performance, demonstration and workshops.
The nucleus of the space is removable, and houses the infrastructure essential to mobile operation, including a streamlined commercial kitchen* and efficient space for retail and exhibition. It is able to expand and compress depending on the available space and needed function at any given time and place.
The physical buildings explore how best to blend traditional craft and noble materials within modern contexts, while the specific construction technique of joinery focuses on honoring hand-built craftsmanship while enabling the flexibility of assembly and dis-assembly of space.
Program: NYPL Library Design
Collaboration: Lina Bondarenko and Andrew Weigand
Professor: Joshua Prince Ramus, REX
Issue: The Library, as a collection of static objects, risks irrelevancy as we change the way we access information. Lifelong learning, which is key to the mission of the New York Public Library System, is best achieved hands-on: learning through doing. In typical libraries, there is a disconnect between where you access the information and where you test it & put it to use.
Position: We cannot calculate exactly how people will use the library in the future. Furthermore, media is changing so fast, we cannot predict how people will access and use information in addition to books. Instead, we can design a plethora of different spaces, each with unique qualities, and create as many curious and serendipitous encounters between space and information as possible. We must prioritize people, not objects, by creating a collection of events & spaces, supported by media and the arts.
Manifestation: A tool for locating content is found near the entry on the first level of the library. Once the user has identified where their desired content is, the user wanders up through the stacks, and is then met with various unexpected spacial applications adjacent to the content in the stack. Or, the user first wanders through a vertical playground of of juxtaposed activity spaces, and ducks in and out of the stacks to gather information. By creating a vertical stack in one corner of the building, we multiply the number of opportunities between where one accesses knowledge and where one applies knowledge in unique ways.
This library expands the narrow offering of spaces in which to access and use information. It provides a set of de-standardized spaces that reflect the diversity of its patrons, collections, and the activities they participate in.
The program and organization of these spectrums bring the urban condition into the Library: Freedom, diversity, and the Unexpected.
On the exterior, the Geode Chair reads as a solid platonic object. Its cold, weathered metal surface serves the purpose of a modern tabletop, placed in the center of a room and experienced in the round, or tucked away to minimize its impact in a smaller space.
Unpacked, the Geode Chair reveals its soft, brilliantly colored interior. It is faceted in a way that becomes a surface for sitting, inviting users to lounge and otherwise relax in the comfort of their home.
Each unit can be multiplied to create a variety of sitting and surface configurations. Its transformation ultimately changes its surrounding environment into a social gathering space, or place for an intimate conversation. -Writeup by Shawn Conte
the Geode Chair
Sketches - Florence
Notebooks // Sketches
Project: the Wright Table
Program: Furniture Design
Advisor: Sekou Cooke, ARC500.3
A variation on the traditional gate leg table, this flexible piece facilitates viewing and workspace for drawings. The hinged top could lean against a wall -- forming an inclined support for loose paper -- or open flat to function as an ample work surface. To conserve space, this table is designed to collapse. The two hinged halves of the top fold into the table's midsection and the gate legs swing inward. Particular emphasis is put on a hierarchy of pieces, where a strong sense of horizontality is obtained. Small decorative elements tie the whole piece together.