This academic design-build project on the Mustang Island responds to our clients' desire for an Educational Seating Area on a sloping site, in the (constructed) Wetlands Education Center, run in partnership by the University of Texas and NOAA. Throughout the conceptual design and building of ths group project, our interdisciplinary team focused on the idea of creating an experience rather than an object.
Our studio began with an examination of environmental resiliency through Complex Adaptive Systems, Texas Coast ecology, and the role of barrier islands as "soft defense." At the same time, we read theory from thinkers and makers, from Bachelard and Heidegger, to Palasmaa and Zumthor.
Through these lenses, we tested design decisions throughout project development against a set of conceptual and design objectives, keeping us focused on creating a space that would encourage students (elementary to high school) visiting the site to have an embedded experience of the wetland, rathern that being disconnected spectators.
Two vertical walls emerge from the dune edge above a tidal pond. An oyster gabion and concrete bench provide shaded seating for chaperones and teachers. The two walls turn toward the wetland through a "pinch point," beyond which are a series of concrete seats for individual students to sketch or observe. In crossing this threshold, visitors are invited to experience the wetland's ecology, wildlife, and environment from an embedded perspective.
+ Excellence in Design, University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture (UTSOA), 2013
+ Student Merit Award, AIA Austin, 2013
Spring 2013 Studio with Coleman Coker.
In collaboration with Tim Campbell, Todd Ferry, Garland Fielder, Matt Krowlick, Jon Mautz, Lauren Mullane, Katherine Russett, Jessica Zarowitz.