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Confronting the need for revolutionary education that directly engages the most pressing issues facing our world, the Ste(A)m Village positions itself as a aggregative education facility that can deploy to any site and adapt to the specific conditions and challenges of that context.
Constructed from modular Cross-Laminated Timer (CLT) components, the Ste(A)m Village classroom typology can be deployed to meet the needs of any specific educational institution with maximum relevance to the particular challenges within any context.
Taking cue from the growing fields of tomorrow, the proposed classrooms of the Ste(A)m Village break from the traditional heuristic approach of English, Maths, Science, etc. and instead address issues of Food Shortage, Water Conservancy, Material Sciences and Creative Re-Use, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Renewable Energy Production. Each of these subjects is tied to a specific structure whose form and fixtures mirror the structure's use and spatial needs. Recognizing that each of the disciplinary assignments are not all-encompassing, the Ste(A)m Village takes advantage of its campus format, programming the intermediate functions between the classrooms with uses that address the critical overlaps between fields. Through this intermediate programming, the multidisciplinary collaborative potential of the Ste(A)m Village emerges in its aggregation, yielding a space whose educational potential exponentially increases with client investment.
The presented proposed heuristic structure of the Ste(A)m Village was carefully programmed to be of maximum relevance to the needs of its sample client, the Ellis School, an all-girls K-12 school in Pittsburgh, PA whose educational mission aims to graduate students motivated and equipped to engage the future needs of the world. Beyond the Ellis proposal, the modular nature of the Ste(A)m Village proposal affords it the potential to program its curriculum and campus to the needs of all other educational institutions as well.
Project in Partnership with Elle Bai
This Eco-Housing proposal sites itself on a river-adjacent site in Pittsburgh's Strip District, on the far side of the Pennsylvania RR Fruit Auction and Sales Terminal Building. Exploring the juxtaposition of 19th century American Romantic and pastoral ideas of nature, notably those of Thoreau, with the ecologically degraded and post-industrial realities of the site, the housing seeks to find a balance between the emotional viscerality of natural refuge and the relevance of urban living.
A growth timeline developed for the site produces an apparent urban forest, from whose vegetative mass, private space is carved for individual family housing units. Through constructed topography, site lines are curated to produce an auditory isolation and olfactory distinction between the site and the greater Strip District, without disturbing the site’s visual connection to the river, nearby bridges, or downtown Pittsburgh.
Research and analysis was conducted in partnership with the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation and the Phipps Conservatory Archives to develop this timeline. Dominant riparian ecosystems along the Allegheny River were analyzed for their soil, topographical, pH, wind, solar, and moisture preferences, according to plant species and ecosystem typology. This was used to best curate a healthy, resilient, and diverse ecosystem on site. Specific plant species were selected for their atmospheric qualities, be they olfactory, aesthetic, or tactile.
Making the most of the opportunities afforded by the Pennsylvania RR Fruit Auction and Sales Building, site entries are punctured through the existing building mass, creating drama and mystery to the outside. Further reinforced by glimpses of an overhead screen of cor-ten steel harvested from the remains of the Strip Districts former industrial identity, hints of a unique harmony of the site topography, context, and vegetation. The screen creates distinctions in path to curate the divisions of public and private to maintain resident privacy without compromising the more public experience of the urban forest.
The site experience for a resident guides them from the initial site entry down paths nrrower and narrower, as the material and ecosystem palettes around them warm to become more gentle. This progression is crucial to the site’s ability to create resident experience of home, a goal furthered by the site’s unique olfactory identity. The homes themselves are small, cozy dwellings which feature exterior courtyards derived from the precedent of the suburban garden. Each courtyard is to be planted with particularly fragrant species, every one unique, to evoke the experience of groves within a forest- pockets of woody, earthy, and fresh scents. The courtyards therefore afford personal and visceral experiences of nature - of relatable wilderness.
Following the death of David Bowie, artists across disciplines engaged the legacy of the great artist in tributes to his impact, uniqueness, and soul. The following is a proposal for a cenotaph for the late Bowie, a physical monument of his cultural impact.
David Bowie positioned himself as a cultural outsider, intentionally just beyond the territorial fringe of pop culture. From his satellite position he could observe relatively undisturbed, and when ready, intervene in the flow of Pop Culture through his work, deliberately and thoughtfully altering its course.
Mirroring Bowie's satellite approach to our popular culture, this cenotaph sites itself upon the most alien of our planet's satellites, the moon. Through a language derived from Bowie's own British pride and its Neolithic Celtic architecture and his numerous residences during his lifetime, the structure took form in its subterranean intervention to the moon surface.
Sited on the border just between the light and dark sides of the moon - between our known world and the alien, the empty structure poses a challenge back to humanity.
How do we negotiate our creative impulse in its necessity to intervene in our own world and its ability to draw on the infinite unknown? What meaning do we, as artists fill into the voids that inhabit that infinite boundary between our very selves and all the beauty of our human world?