May 24, 2023

Parsons Architecture + Design Students: the next generation of healthier materials advocates *Spring 2023 Edition

Impressive work came out of Parsons Design Studios in Spring 2023. A few studios in particular caught our eye.

The final design reviews at Parsons School of Design demonstrated a tremendous amount of innovation. Students featured in this roundup were in David Lewis’ Design and Embodied Carbon Materials course, BFA Architectural Design studio taught by Alison Mears and Emily Moss and MFA Interior Design studio taught by Jonsara Ruth.

The studios and course tackled a host of contemporary issues including the reduction of embodied carbon in building products and the incorporation of non-toxic plant and mineral based building materials. The architectural design senior studio incorporated architectural responses to social and political issues associated with migration in their projects. The courses reimagined new models of designing, inhabiting and making and as well as the repurposing of existing structures.

Healthier material explorations and product development

Project 1: MCB: Mycelium Ceiling Baffle

Students: Noa Sklar (M. Arch.), Cody Burchfield (M. Arch.), Thomas Chisholm (MFA Interior Design)

The Mycelium Ceiling Baffle provides an aesthetic, acoustic, non-toxic replacement for unattractive drop ceilings and existing PET baffles. The design is applicable in any interior space and can easily plug into standard hanging systems. The MCB is a biogenic, carbon-sequestering interior product with the capacity to make meaningful change in our constructed environment.

Project 2: SeaPanel

Students: Angela Zeit and David Maria d’Olimpio (M. Arch.)

SeaPanel is an interior wall finish made from three ingredients: sugar kelp, paper, and water.

Lightweight and easy to install, SeaPanel can be cut to any size and is intended for vertical application: tackable walls in classrooms, a sound absorption layer behind wood planks, or as a stand-alone aesthetic wall finish. The inclusion of sugar kelp makes SeaPanel a carbon-storing and biodegradable product that also diverts paper waste from landfills.

Studio Projects

Project 1: Anthropocene Crofting

Student: Katy Brett (MFA Interior Design)

Pre-industrial crofting in the Scottish Highlands was a method of gathering local, natural materials and making them into habitations. Anthropocene Crofting uses this approach to critique today’s globalized interiors. Apartment 229, housed within a tower block in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, has been reimagined through a site-specific interior made of locally found materials. A 3D-scanned driftwood shard, plastic cutlery, and bones are configured as domestic objects, shifting their significance and uncovering meaning in the detritus that proliferates our local surroundings.

Project 2: Bucha Resiliency Project

Students: Artem Chouliak and Bruke Alemayew (BFA Architectural Design)

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, millions of Ukrainians have lost their homes in a desperate attempt to escape death and destruction. The need for safe and dignified housing is more urgent than ever. Our design for social housing in Bucha utilizes a framework for new prefabricated modular housing and a system for modular integration into partially destroyed buildings. The program provides immediate housing and community space as a refuge for healing and connection. A living memorial weaves through the whole site and into the fabric of the community, a symbol of resilience and a place to reflect, unify, and fortify.

Featured in Dezeen.

Project 3: Social Housing, Austin TX

Students: Kohki Hiramatsu and An-Tai (Alex) Lu (BFA Architectural Design)

The recent influx of immigrants at the US-Mexico border has brought a multitude of health concerns due to the difficult journey and harsh conditions in detention facilities. One solution to address the health and social challenges faced by immigrants is designing housing developments that prioritize growing, cooking, and sharing food within the community. Austin, Texas, a city renowned for its welcoming and inclusive attitude towards immigrants, has established programs and services to support and protect its immigrants. By providing shared kitchen and garden spaces, immigrants can grow and cook their wholesome foods, share meals with neighbors, and foster social connections within the community.

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