Professor Zenovia Toloudi
Food Museum: a Symphony of “Flavors”
Studio I: Tectonics
Upon being charged with the task of designing something as conceptual and complex as a museum for food, I imagined that the appropriate response would have to have been one of equal complexities and subtleties. This building would not be an obvious answer to the problem, but would be an experiential response arrived at by a multiplicity of systems.
There are many ways in which human beings experience food, and all of these please the senses. Food is a pleasant luxury to which many of us have unbridled access. Food, as everything around us in the 21st Century, is evolving to respond to the human being’s criteria of excellence. Humans are demanding that eating, and the experience of eating, become a journey. This journey requires involvement of all the senses. We seek to taste the sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory elements in balance with one another. Before this, we seek to watch the food presented in an equally balanced, harmonious manner. Then we must smell the food, using our olfactory senses to hint at what might lie ahead in our journey of taste. One of life’s greatest pleasures is to eat with our hands. The direct, analog sensation of feeling the texture of our food and bringing it to our mouths can enrich and enliven the dining experience. What a joy it is to hear our food sizzling and popping, of being sliced and diced with utensils and cutlery! It is music to our ears, and along with all the other senses through which humans perceive this journey through a meal, it enriches the experience. When all of these elements are in harmony, the food seems to parade in front of us, next to us, inside of us-as if it were a symphony being conducted completely masterfully.
So, through the understanding that experiencing food is for most of us a divine journey through the senses, this symphony of flavors, textures, sounds, sights, and smells calls for an equally rich architectural response. It seems only right that a venue in which we would try to understand the importance and context of food in our culture would consist of the rich, complex layers that exist in the connotations that lie in our thoughts about food. Through the multiplication of this system of understanding, the also rich cultural backdrop of Cambridge, Massachusetts, the vernacular architecture of the site, and environmental response for such a building, a built form was conceived.
Status: School Project