Transitional Landscapes: Temporary Places with Permanent Impacts
‘Transitional landscape’ often refers to a median space between two main spaces, but what if we evaluated the concept of ‘transitional’ differently? What if transitional landscape referred to a timeline? Whether it is due to social, economic, or natural issues, many individuals often find themselves in transitional living situations - voluntarily or otherwise - such as camps, shelters, prisons, and temporary housing, to name a few. Most individuals who seek these temporary and transitional living circumstances have experienced trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder; however, the landscape and shared spaces of these places are far from serene, beautiful, and considerate of the physical and psychological needs of these individuals. The question that this research seeks to answer is how can landscape help improve the lives of those already suffering from trauma and unfortunate circumstances, through specific research on needs of individuals suffering PTSD, and designing a landscape in response to those needs in a local context.
Tactical Mycelium: An Exploration of Wastewater Treatment Byproducts as Ephemeral Building Material
There is a growing movement of designers rethinking supposed waste products in urban industries. Within the current urban wastewater treatment process, one specific byproduct presents a unique opportunity for research into sustainable reuse: mycelium. These fine fibers of fungi serve as vast communication networks between plants and emerge on the soil’s surface as mushrooms. While ecologists and scientists research mycelium’s medicinal potential, designers are investigating its capacity as a new building material in a post-carbon future.
Tactical Mycelium explores this capacity in a 6-month Perkins+Will research grant framed by the pop-up approach and ephemeral nature of tactical urbanism initiatives, investigating the growth and optimized building potential of this fungus. The installation itself tests a singular catenary arch as the most effective way to grow the material into a self-supporting structure, use as little formwork as possible, and provide shelter and space for human occupation. Ultimately, the research aims to augment the tactical urbanist’s material palette and support future projects that reimagine our relationship with mycelium.