Fall 2017 / Minto, Alaska
This project addresses the lack of viable public spaces for arctic inhabitants - specifically children - and the potential to use seasonally dynamic building thresholds to support needed outdoor space for a school and the greater community.
Minto sits within interior Alaska in the historically Athabaskan region. It is a region of climatic extremes, from -50 F in the winter to 80 F in the summer. It is nearly 100% Athabaskan, making it unique and extreme in its population as well. The Athabaskan people traveled in bands through the Minto Flats for thousands of years, migrating with the seasons, often meeting together in Minto during the cold season. Much of this culture has been lost in the last century. This project intends to tap into the cultural traditions of the Minto people, using their understanding of seasonal change, pragmatism and adaptability, to create thermal and culturally rich educational and play spaces.
The resulting school and surrounding landscape provides a critical educational and recreational resource to the Minto community as it continues to hybridize its cultural practices. It proposes a design strategy for extreme climates that explores alternative architectural potentials of engineered systems, thereby creating spaces with climate not in opposition to it. Finally, it examines the experiential and functional relationships between buildings and landscapes, orchestrating a cohesive design across disciplines.
Partners: Anna Morrison and Yin Yu Fong / Professor: Matthew Jull
Fall 2018 / Central Park, NYC
The Atmospheric Arboretum allows humans to experience and understand the complex and reciprocal relationship between trees and atmosphere, inviting climate into the human “sphere of affect.” Using the pine tree’s natural ability to seed cloud formations, and accelerated by speculated technological advances, the Atmospheric Arboretum generates a new climate in Central Park; a forested, aromatic microclimate at the center of a dense urban island. Research conducted by the European Council for Nuclear Research (CENA) suggests that pines possess the capacity to generate clouds by emitting pinene molecules–the monoterpene molecule that gives pines their distinct smell–suspending water vapor into clouds. It is well understood that trees are a natural generator of microclimates, but the ability to create extreme climatic conditions through plant technology offers immense possibility for new forms of aesthetic experience in the park. This project engages the existing Pinetum at Central Park, a small patch of pine forest south of the 86th street transverse dedicated to Olmsted and Vaux’s original pine-lined streets that were lost over the last century to deciduous trees.
Professor: Sean Lally and Lucia Phinney
Spring 2018 / Meadowlands, NJ
This project responds to the threat of sea level rise in the communities embedded in the marshes of the New Jersey Meadowlands. Much of the Meadowlands sits within feet of current sea level, and the projected rise in sea level will drastically affect the infrastructure, homes and lives of thousands of people living within the Meadowlands. An imminent threat of this scale requires a radical shift in the current model for climate resilience that proposes hard infrastructure and static sea walls. It demands the imagination to consider new definitions of what home and community can mean, and it will require an investment in social infrastructures rather than hard infrastructures. The atlas is intended to sustain, prolong, and provoke the social infrastructure of the Meadowlands through a series of phases and designed interventions, catalyzing community action and imagination.
We argue that resiliency and adaptation in the face of climate change cannot be accomplished without the imagination of the communities affected. As the result of our initial provocations, we offer a cloudy atlas of community-generated futures, embedded in the material histories of the area. This atlas serves as a roadmap of possibilities by which communities, designers, governments, and institutions can navigate the unpredictable future in real time. Sea level is the datum by which ritual is organized around, not inhibited by.
Partners: Kirk Gordon and Han Yu / Professors: Leena Cho and Alex Wall
Fall 2017 / Jardin de Metis competition
Light Lab was our submission for the Jardin de Metis garden competition, located along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada. Leena Cho’s seminar Meteorological Instruments, focused on visualizing meteorological phenomena through drawing and culminated in this collaborative competition. I played a central role in conceptualizing the installation, a series of petri dishes filled with water casting ethereal shadows on its visitors. I created light studies, indoor and outdoor, to capture the best effect from the water and helped develop the design and construction details
Team: Leena Cho, Andishe Ghofranitabari, Dimitra Grigoriou, Cara Turett, Karl Jon Sparrman, Matt Walter / Professor: Leena Cho
Fall 2017 / Arctic design studio
This research was conducted during the Fall of 2017, as a part of a studio led by faculty of the Arctic Design Group–a research platform founded by Prof. Leena Cho (MLA, DSG ’09) and Prof. Matthew Jull (PhD, M.Arch ’09) to explore the design of cities, buildings and landscapes in the extreme and dynamic conditions of the Arctic. The research was partially conducted during a 1,000 mile, ten-day south-to-north research transect through Alaska (Anchorage-Fairbanks-Minto-Utqiagvik) to study environmental conditions and typologies of buildings, cities, and landscapes.
Our research used climate data collection and observation on site, as well as designed experiments to test the principles of thermodynamics in relation to the built environment. The result of this research is the design project, “Thermal Thresholds: Education and Play in the Arctic,” which addresses the lack of healthy outdoor and indoor spaces for Arctic inhabitants - specifically children - by developing a seasonally dynamic school in interior Alaska.
Partners: Yin-Yu Fong and Anna Morrison / Professor: Matthew Jull
Fall 2017 / PFF II
Plant Convention: A Showdown: Structured beds and formal allees work in contrast with loose swaths of perennials and informal groves in the meadow, wetland and woodland in a conversation over planting conventions. A collection of plants from conflicting sides, the Virginia Garden Club and the Local Native Seed Exchange, show they can play nice together in the garden. Harmonious forms and well-timed seasonal interest making these typically conflicting palettes mesh.
Professor: Julie Bargmann
Fall 2016 / Charlottesville, Virginia
Inspired by William Morrish’s interpretations of landforms past and present in Civilizing Terrains and interpreting choreographic notation of Halprin and classical composers for the movement of water and people, Meadow Creek Corridor seeks a middle ground between historic and anthropogenic conditions of terrain and water using the notion of choreography and the language of notation.
Professors: Nancy Takahashi and Zoe Edgecomb
Spring 2016 / Chatham, Virginia / 2017 Virginia ASLA Honor Award in the Planning and Analysis
Created while working at WJLA, this book provided an analysis of current tree conditions at Chatham Hall school for girls, as well as proposals for the future of the grounds as an arboretum. My role involved documenting the site with Paul Josey, and creating a book analytical and instructive drawings for the client with Paul’s guidance. The project has since transpired into a full master planning design for the school.
Spring 2017 / Richmond, Virginia
This project identified the public transportation Richmond, Virginia as a system that could have a more meaningful relationship with water. Our approach was to first identify five “types” of urban hydrology created by impermeable roads, and then focus more closely on three bus stops along the 52/53 route. Through a parametrically generated paving system and more site specific interventions we began to alter the watershed to the benefit of the surrounding landscape and community, beginning at the bus stop. Through the bus stop we ask how these spaces can become social and hydrological catalysts and what potentials these spaces have beyond their temporary service.
Team: Kirk Gordon and Katie Kelly / Professors: Tat Bonvehi and Alex Wall
Design Advocacy: An Exhibit of Inclusionary Practice highlights work which utilizes the theory and practice of spatial design as a tool for advocacy and equity–of the bodies, identities, and non-living entities historically under-represented in design–within the spaces of our built environment, design education, and workplace. The collection of 24 projects featured in this show highlight exemplary work of current students, faculty, and alumni that actively engage in these questions of advocacy in design practice and seek interpretations that affect users as well as fellow designers.
From the exhibit: In this array of projects you will find work that contemplates spatial and structural equity in various ways, ranging from the work of collaborative studios and individual thesis dissertations, to pro bono projects and commissioned work; from hypothetical and imaginative proposals to built designs; from community implemented projects and art installations to innovative policy shifts and design strategies. Regardless of their differing media and approaches, these projects were carefully conceived through thoughtful attention and direct advocacy and action.
Advocacy takes many forms in the built environment and the discourses that shape it. In Pipeline, the shared, centralized fixtures of the rest stop bathroom become a symbol of social equity. The Women’s Mobile Refuge also recognizes the political power of the seemingly banal bathroom fixture, by providing hygiene and safety on a woman’s first night out of incarceration. Projects such as the NYC LGBT Historic Sites website and A Critique on the Just City–a dissertation based in Washington D.C.engages the embedded yet largely ignored cultural history of queer life in urban spaces. Two Truths Talking and Pussy Paintings both explore cultural perceptions of women through visual and artistic media. The Missing Four Hundred project expands the design canon through an exhaustive research of the forgotten women who shaped the design professions. Environmental Injustice on the Elizabeth River and Freshkills: Reorientation explore ideas of advocacy through environmental justice. Many of the projects, such as the Ella Fitzgerald Park in Detroit, the _mpathic Design collaboration with the Buckingham County African American Historical Society, and the landscape studio Spatializing Culture at Friendship Court, have committed to design advocacy through engagement and immersion with the communities they design with. Lastly, every project on this wall is united by its relationship to this University and the School of Architecture.
Curation and Design by myself, Zazu Swistel, and Lauren McQuistion / Graphics, branding and text by myself / Installation by Lauren McQuistion, Ben Smalls, Ucha Abba, Taryn Wiens, and Heather Courtenay
Fall 2018 / Lisbon, Portugal / Arkxsite competition
The brief for this competition asked simply for a memorial to the 18th century earthquake, tsunami and fire that destroyed the city of Lisbon and altered the global economy. Our proposal recognizes the deeper history and cyclical nature of earthquakes that have recurred at this site every quarter century and marks the rhythm through an inscribed, zig-zag edge at the waterfront.
The new edge is also a nod to the seismograph, a technology developed in response to the 18th century earthquake. In addition to a proposed landscape, the 40sq meter museum space utilizes the vernacular structure, gaiola pamboline, the first earthquake resistant structure which was developed in Lisbon after the disaster, and which the Pamboline neighborhood is largely constructed of, though concealed by masonry. The design exposes this intelligent structure and celebrates the resilience it provides to Lisbon’s architecture.
Team: Anna Morrison and Katie Kelly
Fall 2018 / Thesis I
Graphic Anthropology is an ongoing research project that I continue to develop as a thesis. Using the Pelliccia travel fellowship as an opportunity for field research in the city of Rome, this primary research project wishes to advance critical engagement with techniques of observation and representation of complex socio-spatial environments.
Considering optics, discourses, and political positions of the observing subject, put forth by known authors and researchers such as Giambattista Nolli, Giovanni Piranesi, James Corner, Bruno Latour, and Henri Lefebvre, this research project seeks to interrogate and interpret well-established theses on documentation and the relationship of visuality and representation. These investigations aim to establish a personal and experimental methodology prior to travel to and exploring the Esquillino neighborhood of Rome in January 2019.
When I fully acknowledge the value of indeterminacy in personal, bodily engagement with a place and look forward to unforeseen curiosities and avenues of research in the following months, this prior methodological research—curated in bibliographic, photographic essay, drawings, and animation—along with the site of visit, together, act as a testing ground for exploring the mechanism and media of documentation in design research and artistic practice.
Advisors: Ghazal Jafari and Bradley Cantrell
Summer 2016 / Penland School of Crafts
Built during a two-week wood working session at Penland, the Crook Lamp was formed using a bent lamination technique, creating an arch like a shepherd’s crook. The studio, led by Indianapolis artist Ray Duffey, explored wood reclamation techniques. The lamp is a combination of new walnut and repurposed oak. The base is a found block of old timber construction, and the existing holes and indentations determined the orientation of the wiring and arch.
Summer 2018 / Ouddorp, Netherlands
While at Inside Outside, I worked on site design and strategic planning of a high-end camp ground in Ouddorp, an island in South Holland with many camp grounds in the region. The project proposed a complete redesign of the campground. I specifically worked on schematic drawings of the main campground building and park, designing a layout with meadows, swimming pools, and a wooded trail of natural play elements. For schematic planning at the park scale, I created a series of axonometric sketches for the client, to test different layout strategies for individual campsites in relation to vegetative boundaries and openings. The philosophy of the new campground was important to the schemes, suggesting a more open and less defined series of plots that share views to the surrounding landscape.
Team: Jana Crepon (principal), Aga Zborowska (project leader), Vincent Lulzac, Lorenzo Cantoni
Drawings created by myself with the guidance of Jana Crepon and Aga Zborowska
Winter 2018 / Blank Space Fairytale Architecture competition
A competition hosted by Blank Space asked applicants to imagine, through images and text, one’s own architectural fairytale. The Basement of Babel imagines a library housing all the destroyed texts in history, stored beneath the ruins of Breugel’s Babel.
Images produced by Katie Kelly (ink, charcoal, photoshop); Accompanying story written by Ryan White
Summer 2016 / Caracas, Venezuela
A structure for the Caracas Community Center was conceived through manipulation of architectural units of my case study, Makoko Floating School, and my partner’s [Nicholas Grime] case study, Sant’Elia Nursery School. The building acts as a literal and metaphorical bridge between the informal settlements of Caracas, Venezuela and the urban center. The shell structure allows the space to be occupied and personalized based on need for market space, language classes, medical treatment or the street itself.
Team: Nicholas Grimes and Katie Kelly / Professors: Leena Cho and Tat Bonvehi
Summer 2018 / Tilburg, Netherlands / Plexi, MDF, Plywood
This 1:100 scale model of the LocHal in Tilburg, Netherlands was created for the Inside Outside Retrospective exhibition at ETH, Zurich. The model displays Inside Outside’s recently completed project, LocHal in Tilburg, a new library and community center housed inside the decommissioned train car warehouse. The scale of the model and the simple materials were selected with the intention of highlighting the grand, 30 meter long curtains. The model was one of many artifacts displayed at the ETH in Zurich in celebration of the work of Petra Blaisse | Inside Outside.
Planning and drawing files were done by myself and Desirée Pierluigi. Execution and construction of the model and scale figures was done by myself, with assistance from Desirée Pierluigi. Design and construction of scale curtains and planters was done by Desirée Pierluigi.
All photos taken by Desirée Pierluigi except where noted.
Summer 2016 / Penland School of Crafts
Built during a two-week wood working session at Penland, This and That Box started with a singular fixation–to make a cove cut. The cove cut is technique for creating curved surfaces, which involves pushing a piece of wood across a table saw blade at a precise angle, gradually raising the blade and incrementally carving the wood.
The studio, led by Indianapolis artist Ray Duffey, explored wood reclamation techniques. The corners of the box are made of reclaimed oak and the sides are made of new birch ply, with cast pewter tongue and groove joints connecting the two materials.
Pieces created between 2014 and 2015
Kardinal Hall Beer Garden, as part of a larger adaptive reuse development of the historic art deco Coca Cola bottling facility, is a 3000 SF bar and garden space for a new restaurant along Preston Avenue. The garden is inspired by the industrial history of the site, with raw concrete walls and early successional sumac, as well as the traditional beer gardens of Germany, emulating the shaded riverside environments through tall oaks and flowing grasses. Bocce courts, ping pong tables, and a projection wall for movie screenings are modern additions to the classic beer garden experience.
My role in this project was to create schematic sketches and drawings to develop the design of the beer garden, create construction documents and details of custom furniture, lighting and paving, and to create presentation materials for the client and for frequent reviews with the historic preservation board overseeing the renovation of the historic building.
Spring 2019 / Master’s Thesis
My thesis challenges notions of objectivity in fieldwork, and experiments with the spectrum of the bodily and disembodied methods that currently define our techniques of data collection in landscape architecture. Considering the spectrum of tools and methodologies specific to the discipline, and the range of theories and perspectives surrounding the discourse of observation and objectivity, my research constructs this evolving debate over how and what we see, the consequences of which shape our approach to design.
Through a series of experiments I have aimed to reveal the vulnerability of our information. If we choose to accept that the ways we see and record sites are inherently unruly, uncertain, and even contradictory, what do the gaps and blindspots in our knowledge gathering look like? These investigations—ranging from methods of conventional remote sensing and data gathering to on-site reconnaissance and unconventional body-scale interventions—question the meaning of a ground “truth” and suggest that our tools and methods of site reading are shaped by fictions: discrepancies, disintegrations, misinterpretations, and diachronous readings. Through this research, I question the myopic and singular approach to fieldwork that has historically dominated the discipline. I suggest we acknowledge—even embrace—the reality that observation occurs always through a medium, “a complex contradictory, structuring and structured body, versus the view from above, from nowhere, from simplicity” as Donna Haraway says. Our obsession with truth and our quest for authenticity has defined the landscape discourse, yet it is at the moments of interpretation and misreading—a ground fiction—that design begins.