Six Knowlton School students are this year’s recipients of Architecture Research and Travel Awards (ARTA) which support independent research during summer 2017. This year’s awardees are:
- Andrew Barringer (MLA), The Killing Fields: The Destruction of WWI Remembered through Landscapes
- Emily Knox (MLA) and Anne Morgan (MLA), Conservation and Conflict in Patagonia
- Amy Taylor (MLA), Securing Food Opportunities through Garden Design in Kenya
- Nicole Potts (BSARCH), Danish Co-Housing
- Christian Moore (BSLA), The Dutch Landscape Machine
Barringer's project will take him through the landscapes of WWI in France and Belgium. This period of history caused permanent and drastic changes to the regions around Ypres, Soissons, Lille, Verdun, the Marne River and the Somme River. Outside of books and printed matter, the landscape remains the primary means through which the war is remembered. Barringer will travel through WWI landscapes – battlefields, memorial sites and cemeteries - to gain an understanding of how the spaces are used to interpret and reflect upon the first modern war, its pain and its scale.
As Barringer stated in his Proposal: "Collectively, I hope to gain an understanding of how sites are prepared for viewing after massively painful events. I am interested in how design accesses the scale of loss and which interpretations sites attempt to convey, from the heroic to victimic, from personal grief to national mourning. Maya Lin recognized this power as she felt the names of the lost on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, later inspiring her proposal for the Vietnam War Memorial. As we are now within the WWI Centennial, I hope my study will help the current generation interpret the contemporary staying power of these landscapes in recalling the losses of the Great War."
Knox's and Morgan's research will have them travel to Patagonia, located in the southern-most region of South America. This region encompasses a vast range of ecosystems, from Valdivian jungle to coastal marshland and grassland plains. Massive conservation efforts in the last 40 years have greatly increased offerings for tourists in their exploration of the region with over 2,000,000 acres of land now protected through the creation of national parks. Creating and expanding national parks in the area provides insurance and protection for those ecosystems previously threatened by development and natural resource extraction. These conservation efforts, as well as current ranching practices have, however, produced changes throughout the region that have greatly impacted gauchos - a population of people whose livelihood has depended on the landscape for hundreds of years.
As Knox and Morgan stated in their proposal: "The intentions of our research are two-fold. First, we hope to gain a more robust understanding of the adaptive conservation efforts occurring across various jurisdictions and ecosystems. These are complex, multi-party efforts that require extended collaboration to find success. Secondly, we wish to understand the conflicts central to these undertakings. Through interviews with a range of stakeholders (government organizations, non-profits and ranchers) and site visits to projects within the region (national parks, agricultural test labs and traditional ranches), we hope to gain an understanding of the ongoing conservation efforts through the lens of the various interests in the future of this region’s landscape. Navigating this type of complex stakeholder dynamic is at the core of landscape architecture and planning."
Taylor will travel to Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, Africa. At an elevation of 5,500 feet, she will visit the home of Daystar University whose Chancellor, Dr. Mary Murimi, has invited her to participate in an unprecedented project to help design the University’s first demonstration vegetable garden. This garden will be the first stage in what will be known as “The Chancellor’s Farm.”
The semi-arid nature of this region presents agricultural challenges, leading to issues of food insecurity. Efforts are being made to provide research and programs to address this issue. To inform the garden design and planting strategy, Taylor will conduct a local site assessment focusing on economic, ecologic and social factors within this city of rich culture. Places of study and sketching will include: Nairobi National Park, Nairobi Arboretum, Karura Forest and the National Museum.
Taylor stated in her proposal: "Food insecurity is an issue that cities are facing all over the world and overlaps with the city grid that landscape architects, architects and city planners work with on a daily basis. The appeal of sharing this project and travels with others is to show how people can unite across countries to share knowledge, embrace culture and help solve large problems facing the world today."
Potts will travel to Scandinavia to research the success of co-housing communities. More than 50,000 people in Denmark live in these clusters of private homes, with shared community space. Living in co-housing has often been compared to an old-fashioned neighborhood where there is plenty of privacy but, at the same time, a sense of belonging and mutual support. Although America experienced similar communities in the post-war 50's, sprawl gradually created greater distances between neighbors. With the current migration of people returning to cities, the challenge of overcoming the "no privacy" stigma for people living within communities with shared spaces now exists.
As Potts stated in her proposal: "The purpose of this research is to thoroughly examine the successes of co-housing at its source in Scandinavia. To speak to all walks of life that live in these communities, and understand what it means to have successful co-housing. I will stay multiple nights in several different co-housing communities in order to gain a wider understanding of their successes and weaknesses. The different co-housing communities include urban, rural, predominantly senior, mixed age, government funded and privately owned co-housing communities. With this information I hope to shed new and exciting light on the possibilities of contemporary co-housing in the United States."
Moore will spend thirty days in the Dutch lowlands to study a series of polders that are representative of different conditions: sea polders, peat polders, lake-bed polders, river polders, and IJsselmeer polders. Through the process of land reclamation from the sea, the Dutch people have created farmlands called polders: these basic units of the Dutch landscape are flat patchworks of agricultural plots, divided by extensive canal networks and historically drained by the famous windmills of the Netherlands. As water levels rise and intensive agriculture is causing continued subsidence of the polder lands (the peaty soils of the polders, when allowed to dry, shrink significantly, causing the entire landscape to sink), Dutch planners, engineers, and landscape architects are experimenting with ways to halt the subsidence of the fields while keeping the ocean at bay.
To document these landscapes, Moore will rely on drawings in his sketchbook and photographs, both of which he will use for comparative studies of the present state of the polders. To understand the larger systems at play, he will budget time to study the boezem drainage system that acts as intermediary between the polders and the sea, as well as the aforementioned dike defenses.
As Moore stated in his proposal: “My purpose in embarking on this trip is to see first-hand how the Dutch are adapting to changing global conditions within their own landscape: the knowledge I will gain will bear relevance to landscape issues many other nations (including ours) are facing in a rapidly changing world.”
The Knowlton School Architecture Research Travel Awards program was established to encourage independent travel and research initiatives of up to 30 days by Knowlton students from all degree programs. The ARTA program is made possible by generous support from the Columbus Foundation. In the fall semester following completion of their projects, ARTA winners present their work at the school.