Poseidon’s Temple: Vessels, Membranes, and Urban Archipelagos

This studio will investigate a Mid-American city as it transitions from post-industrial decline, towards a new, water-based urbanism. Can its architecture and remnant infrastructure be recast as an integrated experience of water, space, and sensuality that regenerates a calcified, and isolated site…where water science, cultural history, and terra-forming go hand-in-hand to unfold and re-stitch the building as a catalytic participant in the remaking of the city? We will begin with design investigations of a vessel, an exercise in volume, skin, lining, and aperture that is transformed into a flexible membrane to engage site and program. We will end with a building and landscape proposal for a new school of freshwater sciences, explored as a \”performative container,\” mediating between a loose-fit urban landscape and a water-rich topography, between building as object and city as fragmented civic surface. The project will initiate a new water district which responds to the native geomorphology while leveraging the interplay between an abundance of water, a regional culture of material craft, and the projective potential of a retooled economy. This studio is situated in Milwaukee — shaped by a legacy of manufacturing, infrastructure, and natural history. In 2009, the United Nations designated Milwaukee as a Global Compact City, charged with the responsibility to study freshwater issues. Founded on the heritage of the brewing and tanning industries, Milwaukee is currently home to over 120 water technology companies and will host the nation\’s first graduate school of freshwater sciences. The region is formed by the earth\’s largest freshwater system, the Great Lakes Watershed. The landform\’s glacial origin yields a terrain seductive and elastic, revered for its nuance yet only nascent in its potential as a touchstone for architectural form-making. We will conduct travel to Milwaukee for site research and documentation, including analysis of the city by kayak, tours of water industries and research labs, and material fabrication facilities (airfare and hotel are funded).