From a very early age, we are familiarized with the human topology of the world; using maps labeled with oceans, countries, provinces, and cities, we begin to understand spatial concepts on a global scale. That being said, these cartographic representations fail to acknowledge the territorial claims and political relationships developed in the layers of air above the planet’s surface. Just as humans have divided the earth’s land and oceans into bordered regions, we have also sectioned off the air above—an action necessitated by the rise of global aviation. In an effort to represent and explore this atmospheric realm, we created a translucent inflatable box that can rest on top of a political map to reveal the relationship between ground and air. By looking through the surface of the box, the viewer is introduced to ideas of vertical sovereignty and can begin to reflect on the interface between tectonic and aerial territory.
This project was completed in collaboration with Kapp Singer for Arch 200b: Scales of Design.
Fly Over Cairo
Illustrated Fly Over
In the 19th Century, the city of Cairo, Illinois, was poised to become the industrial center of the United States. Its unique position on a peninsula where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi River made it a critical stop in the US's exploding North-South river trade while also acting a crossing into the ever expanding West. During that time, incredible amounts of cash flooded into the city, creating bloated and hyperbolic expectations of the town. For a brief period of time, members of the merchant elite even lobbied for Cairo to become the capital of the country. However, the speed of industrialization and expansion of technology soon left Cairo's geographical position obsolete. Today, the town is largely abandoned, suffering from frequent flooding and erosion from the rivers that made it so important.
This project tells the story of Cairo's rise and fall through a series of illustrations that "fly" over the peninsula while also showing the passage of time. As the zoom in completes, the viewer sees a utopic vision of the city, before turning the book over to zoom out and see its reality.
Derationalizing the Fujian Tulou
Section Cut Architectural Model
The Western gaze has rationalized and exoticized the Fujian tulou, constructing mythologies of social structure from a decontextualized reading of their physical language. A myth of defensive, insular, militaristic egalitarian societies arises from a preoccupation with the thick retaining wall and centralized circular geometry, evident in the architectural drawings from their UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination. In reality, these buildings defy the rigid categorization of international organizations: their fractally iterative forms transcend time; their inherent repetition provides infinite reconfigurations of socio-cultural spatial practice; their vast variety resists reduction.
Our model deconstructs this structural mythology, developing a new representation of this iterative and adaptive architecture. It undermines the defensive myth and materializes the porous relationship between the building and the “outside" world. Through the transparency of its acrylic frame and a structure that allows the building to release from its topography, our model invites the user to consider the intricacies of its interior. This, along with the wandering section cut, highlights the non-circular geometries of the tulou which are often overshadowed by popularized representations. By rethinking the purpose of the traditional section cut the model develops narratives of social hierarchy that exist despite the strict symmetry of the tulou. Finally, the opportunity to fold and refold the structure speaks to ways in which social-cultural connections can be formed independent of spatial dimensions and barriers.
This project was completed in collaboration with Helen Dugmore for Arch 200b: Scales of Design.
A Device for Seeing
Architectural Concept Piece
In the past decade, as demand for environmentally responsible design has grown, architects have begun to churn out lush renderings full of trees and other natural elements. However, these eco-fantasies of tech campuses, apartment high rises, and civic buildings framed by glowing landscapes fail to consider the radical changes to the built environment needed to counter the climate crisis. Constructed from transparencies of generic plant life, our device uses similar cliche techniques to import a “natural” rendering into the user’s everyday life. In turn, the user recognizes that simply pasting trees into the built environment is not enough to counter architecture’s contribution to the Anthropocene.
This project was completed in collaboration with Will Suzuki and Mary Buckly for Arch 200b: Scales of Design.
The Neumarkt, Dresden
The Neumarkt, Dresden is a seven page spread discussing the spatial and cultural history of the Neumarkt in the city of Dresden, Germany. This project was primarily an exercise in map making but also involved illustration and historical analysis.