Slowfood Urbanism

ARCH 573 | Spring 2013
Associate Professor John Stallmeyer

This studio is an exploration of the technologies of food production, delivery and procurement from the producer to consumer and the connection of these technologies to everyday life, architecture and the urban environment. We reside in a part of the United States that produces a vast quantity of food that is consumed throughout the world and yet most of us remain blissfully ignorant of the connections between producer and consumer; where the food we eat actually comes from. In this studio we will explore these connections and intervene in the built environment to make these connections more visible and offer an alternative network for production and consumption. We will investigate both the nodes and hubs of such a network as well as the connecting elements. We will work at the regional, urban and building scales to envision this new network of production, delivery and purchasing.

The principle vehicle for our building scale explorations will be a market hall located in downtown Champaign. This market hall is meant to become the hub for a new way of producing and consuming that is sometimes referred to as slowfood. At this architectural scale we will be concerned with the role of structure, the idea of modularity in constructing a larger whole, and the technical challenges that such an approach presents. At the urban scale we will be concerned with the role of an urban market as a socio-spatial intervention and its ability to enhance the lived experience of the city.

At the regional scale we will explore the technologies that form the connecting elements of a new food network as well as regional food hub locations.

All projects will be individual with the exception of analysis of the regional and urban scales.

We will work in both sketches (using digital environments) and extensively with physical models as design tools and not just final presentation items. Students will be encouraged to explore the potential of digital tools combined with analog models in an iterative process.