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AAgrotecture 4: Gastronomic Garden
To finish off this series of student projects from Nannette Jackowski and Ricardo de Ostos's vertical studio at the AA is Taebeom Kim's Gastronomic Garden.

Gastronomic Garden


There's a lot of things happening here. First, there are the allotment gardens hovering over — perhaps are even propped up by — compost tanks used for recycling garden scraps as well organic waste of local residents.

One particularly large bulbous structure, somewhat reminiscent of sludge digesters at some sewer treatment plants, is designated as a place for contemplation, though it would most likely become a site of illicit activities and even grave criminality in the real world.

Gastronomic Garden


Somewhere on the site is a parking garage. This, together with the compost tanks, would generate energy via a process that unfortunately isn't elaborated in the project statement nor in the images we have on hand. We suspect the “oven tower” plays a role. Something to do with (carbon monoxide) convection perhaps?

Connecting its “semi-independent levels” of leisure and production are walkways and bridges for vehicles and pedestrians.

Gastronomic Garden


Of the four projects, this is the least site-specific and therefore hardest to determine how well it fits into the city or if its contextual engagement is, per the studio brief, primarily urban. Is it in London or could we even be in the countryside? One has to give it a generous benefit of a doubt to accept that it wasn't arbitrarily plopped into place.

In any case, to our own delight, this vagueness allowed us to easily recast the project as a proposal to adaptively reuse some of the complexly braided highway intersections in the U.S., many of which twist and turn in the middle of the city. By some implausible circumstances, perhaps now made at least imaginable with the financial crisis and, despite the current respite, the still looming post-oil era, patterns of habitation and mobility have rendered them obsolete. Empty of cars, they can now be colonized by eager gardeners who have been on waiting lists for allotments for years. In the middle of each cloverleaf would be waste recycling towers and “meditation” domes. Instead of ribbons of concrete, you have ribbons of vegetables.

Or: let the cars stay. But envelop the elevated roads in sound-dampening tube, as seen in the image above or at OMA's McCormick Tribune Campus Center at IIT. Inside, motorists will be bathed in extraterrestrial neon, deprived of photogenic skylines and waterfront vistas. Outside, you have horticultural Möbius strips and knotted access ramps coiling around this smog-filled airborne tunnel, tight like a noose, then extending out to colonize adjacent negative spaces.


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