Architectural Design +
Research Collaborative

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ENVIRONMENT, FORM & FEEDBACK: Constructed Riparian Ecologies , 3rd Year Core Design Studio, Fall 2013
Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture

Studio Coordinator: Dana Cupkova / Section Instructors: Kelle Brooks, Madeline Gannon, Frank Melendez, Matt Plecity

Ecology posits that entities that have thermodynamic relationships to other entities are bound together in complex systems of energy and information transfer: ecosystems. This studio focuses on introduction of systemic design thinking that links the development of form to performative processes such as: energy processing, climate responsive effects, water management and filtration in support of constructing new natural systems. Moving away from the design of discrete city forms, we approach the development of architectural interventions through the negotiation of a series of parameters that move across the different scales and give a shape to the contemporary city edge. The studio invests in the definition of architectural, infrastructural and landscape strategies that inform new potentials for actively restructuring the public environment with provision for water access, while addressing particular environmental remediation methods. Working on the edge of two distinct environments, between ground and water, we investigate strategies for systemic adaptation of new public landscapes in the intermediary condition at the edge of Allegheny River, in the area of Strip District. Through a focus on biodiversity and understanding of subtle performative variations in architectural and urban systems we negotiate the tensions between the site, infrastructure, local ecologies and potential tectonic morphologies that would emerge and accommodate the specific environmental and programmatic agenda.