Architecture Students' Designs Selected for Exhibition on Innovative Emergency Shelter

Work by Gosia Pawlowska and Zhiping Feng
A shelter prototype by Gosia Pawlowska (B.Arch. '16) and Zhiping Feng (B.Arch. '17) constructed from plastic bags, bottles, and other waste materials. rendering / provided
Work by Gosia Pawlowska and Zhiping Feng
Detail of a shelter by Pawlowska and Feng that could be constructed in difficult environmental conditions. rendering / provided
A shelter prototype by Gosia Pawlowska (B.Arch. '16) and Zhiping Feng (B.Arch. '17) constructed from plastic bags, bottles, and other waste materials. rendering / provided Detail of a shelter by Pawlowska and Feng that could be constructed in difficult environmental conditions. rendering / provided
News
September 20, 2016

Work created by five Cornell architecture students has been selected for an international exhibition that "examines what it means to survive amid a changing climate."

Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience, a project of Art Works for Change, opened on September 10 at the Appleton Museum of Art, in Ocala, Florida. Curator Randy Jayne Rosenberg selected works that consider artistic interpretive solutions and prototypes for emergency shelter.

Zhiping Feng (B.Arch. '17), Kevin Jin He (B.Arch. '17), Jingyang Liu (M.Arch. '15), Gosia Pawlowska (B.Arch. '16), and Won Ryu (B.Arch. '17) were students in the spring 2015 option studio, Twisted & Woven: Sensible Architectures, taught by Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Assistant Professor Jenny Sabin and Visiting Critic Eric Ellingsen. The students were tasked with creating a disaster-response shelter or aid system through the approach of parametric design.

Experimenting with plastic bags, bottles, and other waste, Pawlowska and Feng worked together to design a shelter that could be constructed from up-cycled waste and rubble following an earthquake in the event that outside aid is prevented from in arriving quickly. "We learned so much about the value of rigorous experimentation and how architectural design can be applied to not only buildings but also the assembly of networks and innovative solutions in response to difficult environmental conditions," Pawlowska said.

Feng appreciated the guidance and feedback from the instructors. "Both Professor Sabin and Visiting Critic Eric Ellingsen were keen to make us work with material hands-on as we thought about the solution computationally. The invited experts from different fields gave us a more comprehensive view on our strategies and designs."

Speculating on flooding and evacuation disasters in Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta area over the next 100 years, Ryu and He designed a modular air system for storage and recreation that would be "inflated, manipulated, connected, and shared in times of emergency," according to Ryu. "When distributed and assembled, the modular system can be aggregated in a collective manner, allowing rapid distribution and deployment during both safe and emergency situations."

Commissioned large-scale and portable interactive architectural installations, photography, drawings, and videos comprise Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience. Also included in the exhibition is work by Achim Menges, Phil Ross (B.Arch. '89), Mitchell Joachim and Terreform ONE, and others.

Oakland, California-based Art Works for Change creates traveling museum exhibitions focused on social and environmental themes. Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience runs through November 13.

By Patti Witten