Alimentary Design

Alimentary is defined as of or relating nourishment or nutrition; furnishing sustenance or maintenance. Food is a fundamental requirement of human life and a universal experience that transcends cultural and temporal boundaries. The global food and beverage industry is the largest in the world, and is expected to exceed $15 trillion by the year 2014. Food is a multiscalar issue, consisting of the full process from farming + harvesting, post-harvesting handling, processing + warehouse, retailers + distributors, consumers, to waste. There has been no full and comprehensive analysis of this entire process and its relationships to architecture and urbanism, although individual components have been previously investigated. Counter to overall globalization trends towards sameness and the degradation of vernacular site-specificity, food and beverage is one industry in which diversity continues to increase. While modernism has changed urban metropolises into copies of each other worldwide, global cuisines have remained individual.

Within this topic of food, this studio will look at a number of specific issues extensively through research. Rather than addressing one site or one program, each person will address a particular area of research that will become a uniquely individual design project under the larger umbrella topic of food. This includes projects that address global issues of food shortage, diversity, waste, and sustainability through typologies such as the super farm, food bank, corn city, food ark, compost center, or waste-to-energy plant. Large scale urban projects can develop out of an investigation of locavorism, ethnic enclaves, food streets, and markets. Typologies that are defined by mobility such as the drive-in, food trucks, and supermarkets can be reassessed considering future models of urbanism and transportation while issues of iconicity and identity can be tackled through the food and beverage company headquarters, food theme park, winery, brewery, and distillery. Food can also be a catalyst to redefine existing typologies such as how the cafeteria or canteen can change how we design a museum, office, or department store by researching modern and historical examples such as how the cafeteria defines the modern IT campus like Google and Facebook. Reconceptualizing the kitchen and dining room through historical and technological changes can create new housing and collective consumption typologies, while innovations in food science like the 3D printer or molecular gastronomy can redefine how food is produced, and how the programs associated with it can evolve.

Irregular Schedule:
Shohei Shigematsu and Christy Cheng Studio will meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with the exception of one Wednesday/Thursday meeting, on September 11 and 12.