Mergold’s Projects in National Limelight
From homes designed in grain silos to a sukkah in a New York City subway station, projects by Visiting Assistant Professor Aleksandr Mergold (B.Arch. '00) and Jason Austin (B.Arch. '00) continue to attract national media attention. Hometta, a Houston-based company, recently agreed to partner with their firm, Austin + Mergold LLC of Philadelphia, to offer designs for prefabricated, 2000-square-foot starter homes built from farm grain dryers. Plans for the grain-bin housing will be sold on Hometta.com, which offers affordable designs for custom homes.
Another of their projects stirred controversy in the New York Times in September when their proposal for a sukkah, a temporary shelter in which Jews gather to celebrate the harvest festival of Sukkot, was submitted to a design competition in New York City. One of the judges in the competition, Sukkah City, questioned whether installing a religious shelter in a subway station turned "a public space into a religious one." In their proposal, the architects noted the space where commuters emerge from the confines of the subway onto the city streets offered the opportunity to "experience the boundless space of heaven above."