The site in question will be taking place just south of Ames, Iowa at Black’s Heritage Farm. Our specific “chamber” is part of a seed drying operation that is now defunct due to changes in production of seed corn and consumption. At the height of the production Black farm was the country’s largest producer of seed. The farm is now used in a variety of ways the most common being a tourist destination and entertainment purposes. Use value has been switched to display value. To enter the chamber you must open a rusted metal door and step up onto the conveyor belt. (Chamber Entrance*) An interesting aspect of the chamber is the perforated metal grating used to pull air through the chamber to dry the seed. The perforated metal is at a 45 degree angle so the seed falls into the conveyor belt that then pulls the seed through the rest of the system. (Section*) At the north side of the drying chamber is the heater that pulls air through the system, into the chambers. The heated air creates a continuous pull of air, drying the seed. Due to the system being heated when it was in operation an operator had check the temperature of the chamber and seed every hour, even during the night.
A provocative question was raised, “Is this considered architecture?” This is due to the fact that the spaces were not designed specifically for human occupation. It is completely designed to pragmatically fulfill its utilitarian need, to dry seed. Is it a tool for human labor, or can it be thought as an “architecture”?
*Section drawn by Peter P. Goche, studio critic
*Chamber Entrance photograph by Justin Wang
Iowa State University Bachelor of Architecture, Professional Program. Option Studio, Spring 2013. Critic: Peter Goche. The recording of work being executed by Justin Wang and John Kerner. The site of inquiry takes place at Black's Heritage Farm, south of Ames, Iowa. The semester work will be focused on the re-appropriation of a space originally constructed for the drying of corn. Spatial hypothesis will be tested at grade, in full scale.