Going to Week 10

Before answering Toby’s questions, I would like to have a brief update for my field trip.

During the field trip I found the Bouley Botanical which is a private event space restaurant with vertical farms in shop, which mainly grow cress and herbs.

I made it to Industry City, a regenerated factories series with 13 factories siting by the water front in Brooklyn. At least 3 of them are back in use at the moment with office spaces, artist workshop/studio and small food productions/ food shops. It also open for public event such as flea market during weekend.

IMG_8052 DSCF0961

Lowline, the lab was open 6 weeks ago, they are still doing some research and developing the project such as the drainage, ventilation and the solar lighting.

The site and surrounding

My site is surrounded by panels as it is now under development and they are already doing the renovation to turn the remain sugar factory into condo. Therefore, unfortunately I couldn’t get to either get into the factory or getting too close to it. I walked on the Williamsburg Bridge and tried to have a look on the site in distance.


DSCF1044   DSCF0983

Will update more details about the field trip exploration later on. With some unclear idea in my mind, I made a rough drawing to present what it. I am trying to make a contrast of what in the past and what to look in the future. The factory was working as factory in the past, but it can be foresight as the vertical urban farm in the interior (on the right) to link to the existing North Brooklyn Farm sitting on site next to the factory.Lowline farm

Toby’s Questions:

1) NAME: Does the project have a name?  Not yet

2) QUESTION: What is at stake in the project? (Something political/ social/ economic..?) What is being questioned and why? What is the research question?

The project is more focus on social environment. Brooklyn was once the industry district that close to Manhattan and the land price was cheap in 18’s. Nowadays many of the original factories were abandoned or no longer in use. The city now is trying to adopt the factories again with providing new uses such as hotel, apartment, offices and artist workshop. The reuse of factories are the key to develop Brooklyn with its own character instead of building new buildings. On the other side, in these current years, New York government is pushing sustainability in town. Some great designs of turning abandon architecture into green sustainable social spaces are getting proposed or built, eg, Highline and Lowline. Also Brooklyn’s boroughs are promoting farming as a win-win situation on  1st getting the city more green and sustainability by to plant and serve local edible plant, and 2nd residences can benefit with cheaper price of food. Hence the research question should be how the old factory adopt the nowadays use to benefit neighborhood?

3) PROPOSITION: How is the question answered: what is the proposition?

It goes into 3 parts, the study of regenerated factories in Brooklyn, the study of farming in Brooklyn and the third, the feasibility of the combination of factory and farm. In the beginning of semester I was looking on the relationship between light and shadow. The old factories obtained plenty of opening on facade to maximize the sunlight to operate the factory itself. On the other hand, lighting and shade are also one of the main elements on planting/farming. The project will look on to the factory typology, the regenerated factory precedents and the lighting in factory as the factory category. For farming, it will be look into the local farming typology, the issue that existing farming facing and how does it benefit to the locals.

4) LANGUAGES: Drawing languages/sound model making or film technique: how do these languages support the project?

Drawings and model making were the original methods to start the project. Drawing is mainly a way to export the idea from my mind and as a kind of recording. I did some hand drawings to express what was in my mind and drawings from render, 3d models are more in development process. Model making is an experiment set up to test the feasibility of my idea. And through the experiment, I keen to adjust the design and correct errors to achieve the final result.

5) REFERENCES: Are there art/architecture/literary/historic/unit trip stuff or other references used?

Yes, there are plenty of them.

The lightbox and layering device:

Branded Art by Michael Murphy
Harikrishnan Panicker and Deepti Nair
Richard Serra
Tokujin Yoshioka (especially the texture material in lightbox)


Industry City
Domino Sugar Refinery
Bouley Botanical (restaurant)

Article from National Geography, New York Times

6) SITE: What is the approach or relationship to site? Is there a site? How well is it understood? How does this knowledge inform the project? Is there a reinterpretation of site in some way?

The site is the former Domino Sugar Refinery which located there since 18’s century. It was shut down in 2004 and now under redevelopment. The site is divided into 5 phrases in currently redevelopment designed by SHoP Architects in New York. There will be affordable housing, commercial offices and a public water front social walkway. In this stage, the former factory staff accommodation and part of the factory were demolished. The remain (oldest) part of the factory will be turning into condo and the demolished factory part is now running as North Brooklyn Farm.

7) MATERIAL: Materiality (or immateriality): what is the approach to physicality in the project? What is the approach to time? Is the project spatial? What is the ‘space’ of the project?

Bricks (as the remain factory material)
Steel? the original material of the container in site when the factory produced sugar, also the site is surrounded by fence, wire mesh and scaffolding at this moment. As the idea of vertical urban farm, the design will probably goes into hierarchy spaces.

8) CLIENT: Who is the proposal for? Is there an audience in mind? How is this made evident?

The project is definitely benefiting the locals. The potential client will probably the farmers from the neighborhood,  maybe the Brooklyn Grange, the profit farming organisation in Brooklyn? Still have to work that out.

9) PROVOCATION: How real is the project? Is it a paper project in the sense of a provocation or a ‘real’ project with practical constraints such as planning, construction strategies etc.?

Not thinking that deep in this stage when the brief is not yet being developed

10) PRESENTATION: How is each piece of work to be presented? How does the physical paper/any physical models work with the on-screen parts (if any)?

Presentation is the presentation on cross crit or the presentation for portfolio? On cross crit I intend to have my Janet Cardiff walk drawing layering, the lightbox photos, resin set (no sure if I can make it, the new resin kit will arrive later today and I hope the final products will dry latest on Monday so I can take photos with it). And also the site map, site photos and information. Precedents related to my proposal, lowline lighting technology?

11) SPACE: What is it like to be inside your project? Is there logic to the spatial arrangement you are proposing? Can you tell a story about the relationship of one space to the next?

I think I can tell it more detail later as the brief has not come out at the moment. However the process from the beginning of semester to current stage, site selection, are linked to each other. I think it is a museum that collect live plants/ edible plants that can be grow in New York. The idea is to promote sustainability life and to raise an interested to locals. The thing is we are now keen on buying from supermarket or processed food, we are getting away from nature. Soon our further generation may not able to tell whether plants are coming from ground as root or growing on trees. This is a museum that collect live plant, but also telling people what NY can plants, and these can sustain the local/neighborhood. As the position as museum, I am thinking to have a little bit educational element in it. Also thinking the theme of the vertical farm is more like a hiking experience as there are not much country side spaces around.







One thought on “Going to Week 10

  1. It is perhaps a little early to reach the stage of the drawing you have presented, this is becoming a proposal and you have a lot of great ideas to think through first to lead you to the stage of what a future proposal will look like. I understand that this is an attempt to show a contrast between the factory’s past and possible future but beware of it coming across as the project. As you do not know the future yet a contrast between the past and present might be a more useful direction to take the drawing in.

    The combination of factory and farm has a lot of potential and serves as an interesting comment on the development of the area. A factory speaks of mass production, homoginisation, and a relationship of paid worker to employer where the employees – the people creating the factory’s product may not necessarily be its consumers. Do you wish to disrupt this model? What would be the relationship of the people working the farm to the whole? Are they similar to tenant farmers http://www.britannica.com/topic/tenant-farming, are they autonomous owners of their own ‘patch of land’, or some other model? The factory’s past life as a sugar producer is also very suggestive – sugar being a product that comes associated with many debates about health and whether the responsibility for diet and wellbeing falls to the manufacturer, consumer or is regulated in the manner of a controlled substance. Start thinking about the tensions between industrial and local production. Here is a list of documentaries about the food industry that might be interesting to gain an insight into the world that your project potentially works against. http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2009/12/top-10-food-docs.html?p=2

    Don’t forget to bring the conversation back to your light and shade studies. Your material engagement is also with the various tests that you have done relating to casting of shadows and reflecting of light. It is these investigations that have led to where you are so do not forget to talk about your project in those terms, perhaps introducing the project from that angle as your interior farm – in the way that you have been speaking about it – will be made possible because of the manipulation of light within the factory building (as demonstrated in your Lowline precedent).

    It would have been useful to see a storyboard for your presentation as we requested. Plan carefully how you will structure your presentation. We would recommend that you do not do this chronologically, instead you could begin with your light and shade investigation and how this is informing your engagement with the site. Enjoy the conversation on Tuesday!

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