School has been back in session for a month but it feels like we’ve been here for a whole semester already. Working with partners, this semester we are in the housing studio, a long-running institution within the school best known among students for its demanding pace.
I ended up getting my first choice in the studio lottery, LOT-EK. It was difficult to order the top of my lottery list because there were so many critics that interested me, but in the end I went with LOT-EK because of their focus on the intersection of food production and housing.
A new strategy for them, the production and consumption of food is a complicated but important study of many topics- economics, environmentalism, industrialization, politics, biotechnology and culture. I've been interesting in these topics for years so I immediately placed them at the top of my list.
The studio is made of 6 pairs of students, each pair assigned a food group to work with: meat, grain, dairy, fat, vegetable and fruit. My partner, Mason, and I ended up with fat. We are happy about this.
An odd group, since fat is found in many foods but is not any one specific food, we are concentrating on beneficial fat, the kind living things need in order to maintain proper biological functions, like omega-3 fatty acids.
The studio site is a currently undeveloped 37.5 acre tract of land in Hunter’s Point, Queens. Mayor Bloomberg has had his eye on developing this site for quite some time (it was slated to be the Olympic Village in New York’s failed 2012 Olympic bid) so the city has literally hundreds of pages of information on what they want to achieve with the site regarding densities of housing, parking, commercial and green spaces. Our assignment as a class is to provide the city with a specific design for their plan.
It is still early in the semester but our current proposals explore omega-3 fatty acid-rich food production using the unique advantages and characteristics of the site. We are trying to harness the tidal shift on site to power an aquaponic system that will grow fish and plants rich in omega-3s.