Pellegrino (MArch 16), Oman present Habitation in Extreme Environments at Anchorage Museum

Erin Pellegrino (MArch ’16) traveled to the Anchorage Museum this past April to present student exhibition “Habitation in Extreme Environments”—bred by option-studio course Housing in Extreme Environments—alongside studio instructor Rok Oman. Their lecture was part of the museum’s Polar Lab series.

The Fall 2014 Housing in Extreme Environments studio probed how extreme climatic conditions, especially extreme cold, introduce particular concerns and parameters for architects.

“Presenting our work in Alaska provided a setting to address and discuss the impact of a study like this, and adds a dimension to the process that is enlightening,” Pellegrino said. “The work of the studio addressed such a wide range of concerns, and to see that reach a broader audience and foster a discussion was really valuable.”

Led by studio instructors Oman and colleague Spela Videcnik, cofounders of Slovenia-based firm OFIS Architects, students researched traditional European alpine settlements in order to develop new approaches to contemporary architecture within a North American context. They were also tasked with conceptualizing housing designs for a series of sites in Juneau, Alaska.

In the Anchorage Museum talk, Pellegrino and Oman presented the 12 student projects that germinated from studio to exhibition, including a mountain shelter that Pellegrino designed with two other studio participants, Frederick Kim and Katie MacDonald (both MArch ’16). That shelter is currently under construction in Slovenia’s Julian Alps and set to be completed late this summer.

MacDonald and Pellegrino traveled to Slovenia for research this past January after winning the GSD’s Paul M. Heffernan International Travel Award.

“It’s a very enriching experience to see a project leave the studio and become a reality,” Pellegrino said. “It poses new challenges, and pushes for innovation in a way that can be hard to address in an academic setting.”

In addition to the exhibition, the Housing in Extreme Environments studio produced a studio report cataloging projects and insights from the semester.


Photo credit: Justin Knight