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University of South Florida School of Architecture + Community Design College of The Arts

Fig: 1. Study Model


ritualistic palimpsest:

a trace of ingredients, cutlture and traditions.

Documentation by:

Mayre Perez Velez A masters research project presented to the Graduate School of Architecture and Community Design at the University of South Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture. Project Chair: Robert MacLeod, M.Arch Director, School of Architecture University of South Florida | Tampa, FL Committee Members: Josue Robles, M.Arch Professor of Architecture University of South Florida | Tampa, FL Nancy Sanders, M. Arch Professor or Architecture University of South Florida | Tampa, FL Date of Approval: May 1, 2013


dedication I would like to dedicate this book to Rosa Amelia Cruz Maizonet, my grandmother. I wish you had been here to share this accomplishment with me. I will always carry a piece of you in my heart. May you rest in peace.


acknowledgements I would like to thank all of my colleges, professors, and those wonderful friends I had the pleasure of making during these four years of study at the University of South Florida. The experiences shared have challenged me physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially, and they have shaped me into a greater person. It has truly been an amazing journey. I would specially like to thank, Josue Robles, your help in this process was outstanding, our discussions were enlightening, you were a great mentor and friend. Nancy Sanders, I had the pleasure of being your student on my first year of studio and then again the second year, it only made sense to have you on board for this Master’s Project. A great part of my conceptual foundation was thanks to you and I am truly grateful for that. And Robert MacLeod thank you for the stimulating conversations and guidance this past year. I would also like to thank Alex Bothos, Steve Cooke, Mark Weston, Dan Powers, and Vikas Metha for giving me a unique education and guiding me to become a better designer and intellectual. I would like to thank my classmates Katie Cabana, Tasnim Quqa, Kendall Alhberg, Roy Locke, Michael Marti and Diana Duran, through the stress, the tears, and the laughter, all of you were always there for me, I am forever grateful. Finally, I would like to thank my aunt and cousin, I will finally re-enter a world outside of studio and I cannot wait to share new experiences with you both. Thank you for the support and encouragement. And thank you mom, my friend, my sister, my rock, my everything, your strength holds me together, and pushes me to be the best version of me I can be. Thank you for loving me so much and always believing in me. I love you.


table of contents


Dedication Acknowledgements

iv v

List of figures Abstract

viii xv

01. Introduction The Space of Food Sensorial Connection

01 02 06

02. Position A need for change

11 12

03. Precedence Casa Familiar: Teddy Cruz The Strawhouse: Sarah Wigglesworth Faviken Magasinet: Chef Magnus Wilson Studio House: Tom Kundig Chicken Point Cabin: Tom Kundig The Thruth Table: Olsen Kundig Cap de Creus Restoration: EMF Architects

17 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

04. Explorations The Tools The Experience

33 34 44

05. The Ethos Island of Pride Ponce Journey Site

47 48 50 52 54

06. The Palimpsest Concept A Concept B Concept C Cultivation Place Gathering Community Evolutionary Concept Masterplan Community Kitchen The Long Table

59 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 76 80



Works Cited



list of figures Fig: 1. Fig: 2. Fig: 3. Fig: 4. Fig: 5. Fig: 6.

Fig: 7.

Fig: 8. Fig: 9. Fig: 10. Fig: 11.

Fig: 12.

Fig: 13.

Fig: 14.

Fig: 15. Fig: 16.

Fig: 17.


Study Model Concept Study Cafe Puerto Rico. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 17, 2013 from Eclipse Restaurant. [Online Image]. Retrieved April 10, 2013 from Typical Puerto Rican breakfast. [Online Image]. Retrieved April 10, 2013 from Elongated dining room. [Online Image]. Retrived April 12, 2013 from Dining room at the Gallery Inn, Old San Juan. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 12, 2013 from hotels/the-gallery-inn/photos/restaurants-bars--v920386-15/ Touching old brick and limestone. Broken glass window. Sizzling skillet. [Online Image]. Retrieved April 27, 2013 from http:// Casa Delfín, San Juan, PR. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 10, 2013 from openhouse-barcelona-shop-gallery-architecture-casa-delpin-nataniel-fc3baster-san-jua-puerto-rico-raimund-koch-photography-3. jpg Commercial Kitchen. [Online Image]. Retrieved January 22, 2013 from AAAAAAAAAGg/oXhNRbTt5LE/s1600/Commercial+Kitchen.jpg Home Kitchen. [Online Image]. Retrieved January 22, 2013 from AAAAAAAAEkg/8t-__BSQjDQ/s1600/Interior_Small_kitchen_1.jpg LeCorbusier’s Villa Saboye. [Online Image]. Retrieved December 10, 2012 from jpg Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Bear Run, PA Dining Room at Faviken. [Online Image]. Retrieved December 10, 2012 from Concept collage using Donald Judd’s 15 Untitled Works in Concrete (1980-84). [Online Image]. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from

ii xii 00 02 03 04


06 07 08 10




14 16


change/projects/casa_familiar Dynamic plan for Living Rooms at the Border, layered over Barry Le Va’s drawing Three Activities (1968). [Online Image]. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from Figs: 19-21. Site Sketches. [Online Image]. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from Typical Housing Structure in Mexico. [Online Image]. Retrieved Fig: 22. October 17, 2012 from teddy_cruz_lessons_from_tijuana_19369.asp Casa Familiar’s photo-collage showing proposed housing, garFig: 23. dens, and church. [Online Image]. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from Dining Room of the Straw House, which doubles as a conference Fig: 24. room for the office area. [Online Image]. Retrieved October 8, 2012 from Living Room of the Straw House. [Online Image]. Retrieved OctoFig: 25. ber 8, 2012 from Figs: 26-29. Interior shots of the house. [Online Image]. Retrieved October 8, 2012 from Kitchen. [Online Image]. Retrieved October 8, 2012 from http:// Fig: 30. Bookshelf staircase. [Online Image]. Retrieved October 8, Fig: 31. 2012 from Study of the dining table used to inform the plan layout. Fig: 32. (Horwitz & Singley, 2004) The broad, bare-beamed style of Fäviken’s dining room evokes Fig: 33. the great halls of Sweden’s viking past. [Online Image]. Retrieved December 10, 2012 from Homemade spirit. [Online Image]. Retrieved December 10, 2012 Fig: 34. from Fig: 18.










21 22



list of figures [cont.] Table set during breakfast feast at Fäviken. [Online Image]. Retrieved December 10, 2012 from magazine/2011/09/ss-faviken-rising#slide=2 Fig: 36. The meat from retired dairy cows is covered in caul fat and aged for months. [Online Image]. Retrieved December 10, 2012 from Figs: 37-41. Local fresh ingredients used in the meal preparation. [Online Image]. Retrieved December 10, 2012 from http://www.bonappetit. com/magazine/2011/09/ss-faviken-rising#slide=1 Fig: 42. Table set during dinner feast at Fäviken. [Online Image]. Retrieved December 10, 2012 from Fig: 43. Dining table. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 44. Studies of a fireplace. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 45. Look at the dining table and living room as the morning rises. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 46. Fireplace. (Ngo, 2006) Figs: 47-49. Details of the kitchen counter. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 50. Unique custom made kitchen sink counter. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 51. Look at the kitchen as the morning light floods in. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 52. View from the Lake into the house while the big window-wall is open. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 53. Sketches illustrating the design of the fireplace. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 54. Long dining table simply constructed from one piece of wood and metal steel coil. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 55. Long table and counter. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 56. Fireplace custom designed from a steel pipe serving as the hearth of the home. (Ngo, 2006) Fig: 57. Table Talk at [storefront]. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 12, 2013 from Table-Talk-at-storefront-Olson-Kundig-Architects Fig: 58. The day’s menu. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 12, 2013 from Figs: 59-61. The social interaction of making the meal and sharing a discussion on various topics.[Online Image]. Retrieved February 12, 2013 from Fig: 62. Table Talk set and ready for a recording. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 12, 2013 from 35.






24 25 25 25 25 25 25 26 27 27 27 27 28

29 29


Fig: 63.

Fig: 64.

Fig: 65.

Fig: 66.

Fig: 67.

Fig: 68.

Fig: 69.

Fig: 70. Fig: 71. Fig: 72. Fig: 73. Fig: 74. Fig: 75. Fig: 76. Fig: 77. Fig: 78. Fig: 79. Fig: 80.

kundigs-storefront The truth table suspended from the ceiling. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 12, 2013 from Concrete path leading to a cor-ten steel monument. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 10, 2012 from index.php/2011/03/tudela-club-med-restoration-in-cap-de-creusby-emf-landscape-architecture/ Repurposing of an existing foundation as a monumental landing. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 10, 2012 from http://www. Before and after shots of the site. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 10, 2012 from tudela-club-med-restoration-in-cap-de-creus-by-emf-landscapearchitecture/ Cor-ten steel panoramic lookout boxes. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 10, 2012 from php/2011/03/tudela-club-med-restoration-in-cap-de-creus-by-emflandscape-architecture/ View of the cor-ten Steel boxes at the edge of the peninsula. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 10, 2012 from http://www. Before and after shots of the site. [Online Image]. Retrieved February 10, 2012 from tudela-club-med-restoration-in-cap-de-creus-by-emf-landscapearchitecture/ Exploratory Construct Graphic analysis Drawing the spatial components of a stove. Layering information and texture. Final deconstructive drawing of the spatial components of a stove. Drawing the spatial components of a table. Layering information and texture. Final deconstructive drawing of the spatial components of a table. Construct Model Construct Model Construct Model - MP1 Final








32 34 37 37 38 41 41 42 44 44 45


list of figures [cont.] Strip Plaza, Ponce Typical façade found in the colonial city of San Juan, PR. Common street-park-living condition in San Juan, PR. Municipal building at the city center, Ponce. Collaged panorama of the city of Ponce. Rocky mountains at the southern coast of Puerto Rico. Street wide sign of P-O-N-C-E serves as a marker of arrival in the town. Fig: 88. Highway exist, the smokestack of the factory in the background. Fig: 89. Industrial rum distillery adjacent to the destination. Fig: 90. Final destination, an industrial site rich in culture and history. Fig: 91. 1900’s base of cupola. [Online Image]. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from photos.143651p/ Figs: 92-94. Unused postcards from 1907 of the Central Mercedita. [Online Image]. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from photos/fredandrebecca/sets/72157618940421076/ Two workers operating a sugarcane press. [Online Image]. ReFig: 95. trieved November 30, 2012 from Figs: 96-98. Pipes and pulley systems used to operate the central. [Online Image]. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from pictures/item/ Some original tools. [Online Image]. Retrieved November 30, 2012 Fig: 99. from Figs: 100- Workers operating a sugar cane press. [Online Image]. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from - 101. photos.143658p/ Worker molding steel tool. [Online Image]. Retrieved NovemFig: 102. ber 30, 2012 from photos.143658p/ Current remains of an original smoke stack. Fig: 103. Sugar cane processing building. Fig: 104. Old building shed. Fig: 105. Fig: 106. Remaining railroad tracks. Old valves and industrial shed. Fig: 107. Main entrance to the existing Mercedita Central. Fig: 108. The Palimpsest Fig: 109. Concept model A Fig: 110. Fig: 81. Fig: 82. Fig: 83. Fig: 84. Fig: 85. Fig: 86. Fig: 87.


46 48 49 50 51 52 52 52 52 53 54




55 55


56 56 56 56 57 57 58 60

Fig: 111. Fig: 112. Fig: 113. Fig: 114. Fig: 115. Fig: 116. Fig: 117. Fig: 118. Fig: 119. Fig: 120. Fig: 121. Fig: 122. Fig: 123. Fig: 124. Fig: 125. Fig: 126. Fig: 127. Fig: 128. Fig: 129. Fig: 130. Fig: 131. Fig: 132. Fig: 133. Fig: 134-6. Fig: 137. Fig: 138.

Concept model A Concept model A Concept model A Concept model B Concept model B Concept model B Concept model B Concept model C Concept model C Concept model C Concept model C Programatic Diagram Programatic Diagram Evolutionary Model Evolutionary Model Evolutionary Model Masterplan Final Model - MP2 Final Model - MP2 Final Model - MP2 Final Model - MP2 Section through the educational kitchen. Section though the modular community kitchens The Long Table – an operational sequence The Long Table – The beginning of a meal The Long Table – Open Interaction

60 60 61 62 62 62 63 64 64 64 65 67 69 70 70 71 73 74 74 74 75 76 78 80 82 84


Fig: 2. Concept Study


abstract “Visionaries [before us] teach us to be optimistic and ambitious and not to accepect the mundane shams that are often presented as acts of architecture to the world� -Neil Spilier

As architecture strives to harmonize the pragmatics and the poetics of space in a solidified structure founded on place, culture, tradition and tectonics the artistic nature of place making becomes a unique identity. This identity of place, space, and culture that informs the architectural realm has also enlightened the culinary world. The preparation and consumption of food are deeply embedded in the nature of culture, which can serve as an accessible marker of heritage and a vehicle for cultural exchange. It is through the foundation of these cultural markers that our sense of identity allows us to act, build, and eat in a certain way, experience certain spaces, and eat certain things. However, the constant globalized evolution of the making has caused a detachment in the nature of space and production. The small island of Puerto Rico, which once used to be one of the richest in culture and tradition in the Caribbean, has become nothing more than a ghost of its past; reaching to an uncertain future where its authentic nature is being replaced by a forged combination of superficial styles and irrelevant concepts. An island founded by the cultivation of tropical fruits and crops, had reduced itself to a place where the everyday product is imported and the natural is rarely found. Through the understanding of the nature of food and the nature of space one can begin to speculate upon the language of making that influences a place which has lost its perception of itself. Exploring the roots of how a culture prepares a meal and more importantly where and how a meal is shared, this study traces the ingredients and traditions that form a culture. In an effort to reunite human experiences with tradition, a dialogue between space, place and the natural environment must be present. The intent is to rediscover a historic place, and create within it a space that educates and promotes the making and sharing of food allowing for the evolution of the society to take place while restoring and preserving history, culture and traditions.


Fig: 3. CafĂŠ Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico


01. introduction What is the connection between food and architecture? How do they influence one another? How does food and architecture impact culture? As a designer, how does one understand the space of food and its relation to culture?

“Architecture is not just form making. Architecture can influence lives; contribute to the local economy; and add to the cultural life of the local people. It is exciting for an architect to be part of the process: to listen to the local community, add something meaningful that was not there before, and in the process enrich people lives.� - Jo Noero



the space of food

If someone were to ask, what is your favorite meal? Generally, the thought would take you to some special place in your childhood or adolescence when a mom or a grandma, or some close family member prepared something so rich and powerful it carefully impacted your view on the making and sharing of food. Personally, that took place every Saturday morning from the time I was 6 years old until I turned 9 years old or so. Imagine an only child with a single mom in a Caribbean island community where food, friendship and family tie everyone together. A mom making fresh breakfast every Saturday for her child and seven other neighborhood kids is not a usual after all, the experience of children collaborating in the making of the food, the setting of the table, the interaction that follows, the clean-up; the experience allowed us to share a small kitchen and dining room in a way a big family would. Food then became an event, it was normal to wait for Saturday with the excitement of the food that followed. Food has impact on the making of a culture and while it varies greatly from country to country, ultimately it always promotes human interactions. There is nothing wrong with a person cooking and eating Fig: 4. Eclipse Restaurant in Aguadilla Puerto, Rico

alone, but having people to share a meal with is simply a richer experience. The basis that food is a cultural phenomenon has been around from the beginning of time, the meal is an event that enrolls itself into a cul-


tural and social context where the food we choose to

the making of food. The basis is framed by

eat or serve to our guests communicates who we are

the manifestation of social events that pro-

and which are our cultural values.

mote cultural exchange within a commu-

There is a careful craft and care expressed by

nity, and outside of it. Asking the question:

the maker of the food which has a great effect on the

how does one design a space for making

end product, and the communal consumption. The im-

food, a space for sharing food, a space to

portant marker that shapes our cultures lies deep in

learn about food? And how can architec-

the way production and consumption are approached.

ture inform and re-imagine the experiential

The connection between these, alongside the social

relationship and socio-cultural exchange

communal aspect and the educational approach are

through the space of food?

what define the essence of a culture.

The project builds itself from the

Culturally and socially the making and produc-

history, culture and rituals existent in the

tion of food carry a rich ritualistic essence embedded in

Island of Puerto Rico, with the study and

the space it creates. This research engages the social

exploration of the space and essence of

and cultural relationship between food and architec-

the tools by which these experiences are

ture, in a study that explores the spaces for making

possible: the stove, and the table. By un-

and sharing food, as well as those that teach about

derstanding the nature of culture and ritual

Fig: 5. Typical Puerto Rican breakfast, a sweet mallorca stuffed with fresh eggs, ham, and cheese.



necessary for the good manifestation of social interaction through food, one can engage in an architecture that addresses the issues currently affecting our way of production and consumption in relation to both food and architecture. Architecture as a cultural phenomenon is more than a representation of space; it carries with it economic, philosophical, aesthetic, social, experiential, historical, environmental, and physiological roles. As a building is designed, it is set to house a specific purpose which comes from an understanding of architecture as an exploration of all imaginable functions, social and individual. Architecture can impose social interactions, and common experience between the individual and the space but the ultimate judgment will always be unique to each individual. The design of every space requires a balance between that social interaction and the individual perception, as architecture is of the people and for the people. Even though many spaces are designed for individual moments of solitude, the majority of the built environment only makes sense when social interaction takes place. In the words of Paul Goldberger, “it takes many people to make a work of architecture, and it takes many people to use.�1 The meaning of every building is derived as much from Fig: 6. Elongated dining room at RN74 restaurant in San Francisco.

its purpose and physical form as from the social acts that take place within it. Architecture is a language capable of teaching its occupants the way one moves and interact with


one another, how one uses and programs space, and

consumption of food are highlighted as a

how one relates back to the surrounding environment.

careful representation of the essence of

By understanding this principle one can begin to ad-

the place.

dress and design a place where the production and

Fig: 7. Dining room at The Gallery Inn, Old San Juan

1. (Why Architecture Matters, 2009, p. 15)




sensorial relationships Food and architecture are primal necessities sharing a parallel world, one cannot fully exist without the other, and no one can quite exist without either of them; meal and shelter are life’s inevitabilities. The similarities that tie food and architecture to our culture lie deeply rooted in the senses. Food like architecture is an experience defined by one’s senses in relation to the matter. Sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste are essential to both these disciplines as any alteration of them can greatly affect an individual’s perception. In the essay, Architecture and Food Composition, Peter Kubelka discusses the nature of architecture, as cavemen evolved from the hollow of a cave, and how one’s senses influence the awareness of the space and the food. “Man experiences the universe as a hollow with his eyes. The ear reaches as far as the air will carry the vibrations. The nose reaches further than the ear can hear, as far as a paper factory or a bad perfume can stink. But much more important is the vault of what can be grasped, in both senses: what we can physically grasp on the one hand and what can be grasped in the transferred sense. We also experience the world as hollows when we swallow via our mouth.” 2 Kubelka establishes architecture as the hollowFig: 8. Touching old brick and limestone

ing of space, and one’s mouth as the hollow by which food is enjoyed. He also stresses the great


importance on the joint use of sense and how the

ing has a distinct sound, from the humble

transfer of senses can impact one’s appreciation

hums of its operating system to the sound

of place.

of wind and water rushing through it. What

Paul Goldberger expresses that “the making

a person hears allows them to determine if

of architecture is intimately connected to the knowl-

the space is pleasant, many times silence

edge that buildings instill within us emotional reac-

can affect a person’s assessment of place


tions.” Without the use of ones senses building would

more than any noise would.

only be a mere massing of materials with no essence.

Similarly, smells can trigger mem-

Senses are what allow a person to react to place and

ories that evoke a sense of comfort, and

determine whether it makes an impact on their lives,

well-being. The smell of food influences a

or it simply shields them from the weather. In a simple

person’s appetite, some restaurant have

second the human eye can capture a moment in time

been known to chemically alter the smell

and that snapshot taken when looking at a building or

of certain ingredients, in order to create a

a plate of food allows us to make a decision, based on

more appetizing experience. Public and

the transferred emotion experienced. In today’s soci-

private spaces are many times manipu-

ety looks are a driving force to any design principle.

lated to smell a certain way in order to at-

What a person sees determines how he or she will fell

tract people. Whether it is the common old

about it. For many years people have associated cer-

book smell of a library, or the burnt wood

tain colors and proportions together, mainly since any

smell of a fireplace, smells provide people

combination of these can inflict distinct emotions on

with a sense of place evoked through hu-

people. One has learned that first impressions are vi-

man nostalgia.

tal, as this culture relies on the visual appeal of things,

When a person interacts with a build-

always asking how “good” does this look? An unappe-

ing one must touch the walls, feeling the

tizing dinner plate can ruin the entire meal; likewise in

warmth of the wood juxtaposed to a cold

architecture the wrong shade of red can greatly affect

marble tile. Touch allows one to feel the

the visual experience of a space.

warmth, the cold, the softness and hard-

The sizzling of a skillet, the crushing of a salad,

ness of the space, setting a unique inter-

the dripping of a soup bowl, noise is the inevitable se-

action with it. In food, every ingredient has

ries of sounds that affects ones awareness. Every build-

a distinctive reaction to touch, some foods



are meant to be felt by the hand through the eating process while others, due to their texture and consistency are meant to be purely felt by the mouth only. In the case of food and architecture taste becomes the most subjective of the senses. Most commonly taste exclusively applies to food as this has direct contact with the mouth. Every ingredient carries a unique flavor and texture, that affect the receptor in the mouth, and while some can be universally delicious like chocolate, others, like jellyfish can be very repugnant to the majority of the world. Despite architecture never entering the mouth good taste is still reached by the sum of the other four senses and their appreciation. Rarely is someone going to lick a building or taste a piece of wood or concrete, but the transferred senses can determine the taste of a building. One is able to taste architecture through visual, hearing, smell, and tactile explorations of such space. Taste is something that one generally acquires, through a simple testing basis, as the taste buds in everyone have varying degrees of desire. Architecture and food are inextricably connected by the sensorial experiences they inspire. While each discipline has a distinct impact on one another, each one is carefully carved from the culture that informs them. The connection and play between food and architecture on a Caribbean island varies greatly Fig: 9. Broken glass window

form that of North America, but the principles by with they play of one another remains constant to the culture. 2. (Kubelka, 2007, p. 16) 3. (Goldberger, 2009, p. x)


Fig: 10. Sizzling skillet



Fig: 11. Casa DelfĂ­n, San Juan, PR.


02. position Why is the craft of the making important? How does mass production affect us? How does production affect consumption? What effect does the production of food have on our society?

“What is needed is an architecture of change – an architecture that moves the field beyond the design of buildings and toward the design of new processes of engagement with communities.” – Bryan Bell



craft VS mass production

production and consumption

Food and shelter are two of the four basic necessities of life, but their importance in our world does not rely on our need for them. Food is more than nourishment, food evokes emotions, it is a basis of social interactions, and through centuries it has been a foundation of culture. Food production and consumption have changed over time from the fulfillment of necessity, to a satisfaction of society’s sense of pleasure. Similarly, architecture evolved from the need of shelter to a desire of pleasurable spaces. It is important to point out that when a society is focused on the fulfillment of needs, the passion and desire of the making often gets lost. As disciplines, the culinary world and architecture often share a parallel path, driven by the unique human interaction each one requires. The problem one might find is that the current fast-paced society we now inhabit is more preoccupied with fulfilling the overall needs of the population rather than their wants and desire. As victims of this evolution, food production and architectural design have become mostly a series of mass produced enterprises, where quantity outranks quality. Our everyday lives are surrounded by the monotony, and while it is important to have bad food and bad buildings to significantly appreciate the good ones, society needs a lesson on taste, and en-

Fig: 12. Commercial Kitchen

couragement to higher expectations. Paul Goldberger refers to everyday architecture, “as a kind background hum, to be noticed, only when it is exceptionally big,


exceptionally ugly, or exceptionally beautiful,”4 howev-

civilization one must understand that the

er, the desire to create exceptional architecture in any

desire to want more than the bare neces-

form is at a decline, while the ordinary “hum” overpow-

sity is what has promoted the growth and

ers the design world.

evolution that lead us to present day. Take

One might question why the fulfillment of

Le Corbusier for example, whose passion

wants and desires over need, and the answer while

and curiosity lead to the establishment of

simple carries complex relationships. This study does

the five points of architecture, and whose

not seek to state need as irrelevant or pointless rather

influence in modern architecture has great

it discusses the necessity to go beyond use and pur-

effects today. Louis Kahn said, “desire,

pose. Food as nourishment implies that a simple loaf

not need, leads to great art,” “need is just

of bread is enough to satisfy hunger, and while this is

so many bananas.”5 Le Corbusier had an

entirely correct in principle, food does more for a soci-

innate desire to accomplish more than the

ety than that. Over centuries, civilizations have explored

necessary, as he designed Villa Sayove,

local and indigenous ingredients and through experi-

he explored the possibilities of a home

mentation cultures have developed unique recipes

that went beyond a shelter, and in that pro-

and unique experiences that have defined their sense

cessed he manage to influenced not only

and meaning of food. It is that exploration what began

his present, but the future of architecture.

the satisfaction of wants over needs, what stimulated

Desire is a powerful driver; it

the consumption of a good bowl of soup on a rainy

is a spark within us capable of inspiring

day and a cool crunchy salad on a hot summer. As a

some of the greatest collections of work around the world. However, the exponential growth of society over the past eight decades caused a change in the general public’s perception of desire. Without much warning our society focused on the quantity of things, which in turn led to the era of the mass production, causing an unforeseen revolution in which quality and care stopped being the main focus

Fig: 13. Home Kitchen



and became accolades of the wealthy. This revolution deeply affected the production of food and architecture, focusing on the cookie-cutter buildings and the traditional big-mac hamburger. While both of these satisfy the needs for shelter and nourishment, they lack a personal connection to the user, mainly because they have no relevant connection to the maker. For any discipline to have an effect on culture and society it needs to have a direct relation between the maker and the Fig: 14. LeCorbusier’s Villa Saboye

user, and both must carry a sense of desire that goes beyond the fulfillment of needs. Even though people are fully aware of the need for a better way of food and a better way of living, they most often rely on the basis that they alone cannot change the world and often accept the mediocrity given to then as architecture of food. The problem with that basis is that if as individuals everyone shares the same feeling then so change will ever take place. The chef, the architect, or the everyday professional cannot alone fix the world’s problems but each one in their own discipline must carry a desire to achieve more than the necessary. It is important to point out that while a chef can make and even teach people how to make healthy food alternatives, it cannot force society to eat it or make it themselves. Architects can design anything, but ultimately they must answer to a client’s needs; it is not until the client realizes the need for a better design that true creativity can take place and provide change. When Edgar Kaufmann

Fig: 15. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Bear Run, PA


commissioned a vacation house from Frank Lloyd

Wright in Bear Run, Pennsylvania, his idea of the home

great Frank Lloyd Wright or Le Corbusier,

was something completely different to what Sr. Wright

one must learn from their ambitions, and

designed; even the placement of the house at the top

gather personal desires to drive us to a

of the waterfall, rather than looking at the waterfall was

better society. Surely, one person alone

of controversy. Nevertheless, Frank Lloyd Wright’s pas-

cannot change the world, but that does

sion and desire for a better sense of home led him to

not mean one must give up. It is not until

teach Sr. Kaufmann why his new home, Fallingwater,

people realize the need for courage, love,

had to interact with the waterfall rather and merely

care, passion, and desire of a better qual-

looking at it. Had any other architect designed the

ity world that this society stands a change

Kaufmann residence, most likely they would have com-

for change.

plied with the Kaufmann’s specifications and designed

of time people have lost the true essence

a beautiful vacation home overlooking a waterfall. Frank

of the making, that care and passion that

Lloyd Wright, not only changed the Kaufmann’s aware-

goes into the process and the detail. Un-

ness of home but he created an architectural master-

less we change our individual way of think-

piece that while fulfilling the Kaufmann’s necessities,

ing, caring and making, we will continue

went beyond the need of shelter to become art, and

to struggle with a world of tasteless and

inspire generations beyond his time. According to Paul

careless quantity. Paul Goldberger states

Goldberger, “it is the art that thrills as function never

that, “architecture matters: because it is all

can; this is where passion arises and what makes ar-

around us, and what is all around us has

chitecture a transcendent experience.”6 Sr. Wright was

to have an effect on us.”7 Both architec-

an artist inspired by the beautiful scenery of Bear Run,

ture and food are basic necessities sur-

Pennsylvania, and driven by this own personal desires.

rounding our everyday lives and affecting

The problem in today’s society lies in people’s accep-

many aspects of our society. Each one

tance of our world as it is, and the lack of care and

matters not because they are needed, but

belief in one’s self. While not everyone can be the

because they impact and influence us.

Over the course

4. (Goldberger, 2009, p. 52) 5. (Goldberger, 2009, p. 47) 6. (Goldberger, 2009, p. 42) 7. (Goldberger, 2009, p. xi)



Fig: 16. Dining Room at Faviken.


03. precedence Casa Familiar | Teddy Cruz The Strawhouse | Sarah Wigglesworth Faviken Magasinet | Chef Magnus Wilson Studio House | Tom Kundig Chicken Point Cabin | Tom Kundig The Thruth Table | Olsen Kundig Cap de Creus Restoration | EMF Architects

“An understanding of the form and space of cookery provides a site to rethink and reorder the material and metaphysical, empty and full, high and low, or dirty and clean into mutually inclusive investigative categories� -Paulette Singley and Jamie Horwitz, Eating Architecture



teddy cruz

casa familiar: living rooms at the border and senior housing

Living Rooms at the Border and Senior Housing with child care is a project lead by architect Teddy Cruz in association with Casa Familiar, a communitybased nongovernmental organization. The development is a low income housing project in San Ysidro, California next to the US-Mexico border between San Diego and Tijuana. Most of San Ysidro’s population is Mexican or of Mexican descent and the median income is sixty percent lower than it is in the rest of San Diego County. With this development, the team aims “to provide a new type of affordable housing, and stimulate political, economic and social transformation.”8 In this project, Teddy Cruz addresses the unique needs of the area and aims to satisfy them in a culturally exclusive approach, he studied and understood the fabric of the neighborhood and created a project that institutionalizes it. “The project proposes densification strategies typical of Mexican urban settings. For example, spaces that can be alternately closed off for private use and opened to the community, it aims to weave internal circulation paths with existing city transportation lines such as trolleys. By bringing children and elders together, the scheme also suggests an integrated role for seniors in the broad social context. The development is designed to be built in

Fig: 17. Concept collage using Donald Judd’s 15 Untitled Works in Concrete (1980-84)

layers as waves of funding become available, starting with pathways, communal green space, and electricitybearing service walls that can be shared by neighboring residents”9 An important aspect of this project is the social 8-10. (Alliance for Community Development Planners (ACDAN), 2011)


exchange it will promote. By building a traditional Mexican plaza in the center of the development, it generates a place for seniors and their families to be involved with the community. “The senior center’s food counter, built into its front façade, will allow seniors to sell food to locals to earn extra income.”10 In Mexican culture like many other South American cultures, children are often cared for by grandparents. The child center will cater to these children and promote involvement between them and their elders. Teddy Cruz’s approach to this place and this

Fig: 18. Dynamic plan for Living Rooms at the Border, layered over Barry Le Va’s drawing Three Activities (1968).

project is intriguing and thoughtful; he went beyond the fulfillment of need for affordable housing and designed a place that encouraged family and social interaction while promoting political and economic principals.

Fig: 22. Typical Housing Structure in Mexico. Figs: 19-21. Site Sketches

Fig: 23. Casa Familiar’s photo-collage showing proposed housing, gardens, and church



sarah wigglesworth

the straw house With the freedom to experiment and develop new ideas, architect Sarah Wigglesworth set out to convey unique philosophies about architecture in the design of her house and studio office in Islington, North London, England. The intention of the project was to provide a model of sustainable living in an urban setting. Simultaneously the project introduces innovative spatial, formal and material solutions to housing design. One of the mayor concepts for the building was the organization of the common areas, which were designed around the study of the table setting and the process and space of a meal. Studying the concept of gathering around a table for a meal and the emotions which it evokes, along with the idea of mess and disorder at the end of it, the deconstruction of the table is reflected on the organization of the house and the unusual essence it evokes. The dining table, is set at the core of the house, and serves as a meal setting for the house, while doubling up as the core of the office and being used as a conference table. “The living areas are designed for flexible living patterns, while the bedroom wing is like a warm cocoon wrapped by a protective wall of straw. A five-story tower lined with books rises through the roof and has a reading room at the top; the tower promotes natural ventilation. The roof of the house is planted with wild flowers and is irrigated with rainwater.� 11 Fig: 24. Dining Room of the Straw House, which doubles as a conference room for the office area.

The house attaches itself to the place, as its ecological relation to nature promotes agricultural con-

11. (Stergiou, 2012)


sideration and environmental conscience. Carrying a quite unusually perfect balance this house promotes culture, place, social gathering, education, and individuality.

Fig: 25. Living Room of the Straw House

Fig: 26-29. Interior shots of the house.

Fig: 30. Kitchen

Fig: 31. Bookshelf staircase

Fig: 32. Study of the dining table used to inform the plan layout.



chef magnus nilsson

faviken magasinet

High up in the mountains of Sweden in a remote hunting estate called Faviken lies a small intimate restaurant serving only twelve guest as a time. Born and raised from the farmland, Faviken Magasinet, has become a world renowned restaurant. The essence of Faviken lies deeper than the making of food; “eating at Faviken is an experience that cannot be reproduced anywhere else.”12

Chef Magus Wilson, has a pas-

sion for the practice and methods of cooking that are unique to his culture. In Faviken, tradition and community involvement are two of the key elements. The food prepared is locally grown and obtained through the surrounding farmers. The Chef and his team utilize the seasons and the various harvests to their advantage by varying the menus based upon the availability of produce. By using a variety of simple and complex methods of drying, salting, jellying, pickling, and bottling certain ingredients, Faviken sustains itself through the four seasons, harvesting the land in the warmer months and hunting in the cool winters. Faviken is the true essence of culture, and tradition, connecting a community and educating some locals and foreigners in the process. Chef Nilsson states, “if you cook using local produce, your Fig: 33. The broad, bare-beamed style of Fäviken’s dining room evokes the great halls of Sweden’s viking past.

cooking strictly belongs and is tied to the nature of the place.”13 The way in which Faviken approaches and respects nature creates a sensible example of what food and architecture need to do. Faviken transcends from the typical restaurant to becoming a destination. At Faviken the concept of 12-13. (FDL, 2012)


dinning falls quite short of its definition as to dine at Faviken requires an overnight stay where breakfast becomes part of the experience. The ritualistic ambience of Faviken allows for the guests to feel and understand the area, the people and the town, in one simple place through the uniquely simple food served.

Fig: 34. Homemade spirit

Fig: 35. Breakfast table setting

Fig: 36. The meat from retired dairy cows is covered in caul fat and aged for months

Figs: 37 - 41. Local fresh ingredients used in the meal preparation.

Fig: 42. Table set during dinner feast at F채viken



tom kundig

studio house: hearth and kitchen

Tom Kundig’s studio house is an exploratory combination of an artist’ studio and home. The work reconnoiters the memories of a past and the potential of the present. Kundig plays with light and materials in a unified move where the details are the essential connection of the place, creating his own work of art. The work is focused around an old preexisting wall that sits at a different axis from the rest of the house emphasizing the transition between the old and the new. One of the crucial components of the house is the openness and play of lighting conditions that surround the hearth of the home. “The hearth of the house is a large rectangular volume with a gently vaulted roof, containing the kitchen, living areas, and dining area, all of which can be rearranged and converted into a workspace or photography studio. The large west-facing glass wall flooding the space with natural light can also be covered up with curtains for studio photo shoots.”14 Many of the pieces in the house were costumed made and designed by Kundig himself with the collaboration of other contractors and master craftsmen. The kitchen counter was one of these pieces. The counter is highly operable and multi-functional, there is a uniqueness to the detail of construction and use. As the heavy concrete doors open they have the ability to transform an open space creating a culinary moment where the counter is more than a place for food

Fig: 43. Dining table

preparation. The combination of rawness and refinement seen in the kitchen island is a Chinese puzzle of crafted details, there are at least half a dozen parts and


14. (Ngo, 2006, p. 9) 15. (Ngo, 2006, p. 50) 16. (Ngo, 2006, p. 9)

as many craftsmen involved in its construction, resulting in a complex but not visually complicated piece.15 The fireplace was also custom made using the same principles of construction and detail, proving a truly unique hearth for the home. “The studio house is a watershed project for Tom, where he established an architectural language of materials, construction methods, and details – all of which he refined and drew from for subsequent projects.”16

Fig: 44. Studies of a fireplace

Fig: 46. Fireplace

Fig: 45. Look at the dining table and living room as the morning rises.

Figs: 47-49. Details of the kitchen counter.

Fig: 50. Unique custom made kitchen sink counter.

Fig: 51. Look at the kitchen as the morning light floods in.



tom kundig

chicken point cabin

This “little house, big window” as Tom refers to it, is a lakeside shelter that interacts with the surrounding landscape, by literally opening a very large 30 feet by 20 feet window wall to the adjacent forest and lake. Constructed of low maintenance materials like concrete block, steel, plywood, and concrete floors, the house is left unfinished to naturally age and patina, allowing it to blend with nature. While the main focus of the house is the big operable window-wall and the “gizmo” that operates it, Tom provided great detail to almost every element of the home. “The fireplace is constructed from a fourfoot-diameter steel pipe left over from the Alaskan Oil pipeline project. Acting as the proverbial hearth at the center of the house, it is also the structural post for the steel frame. The opening for the fire place was notched at the angle, like the way a large Douglas fir would be harvested, and the leftover piece of steel becomes the fireplace hood.”17 The fireplace becomes a symbolic and literal heath tying the structure and essence of the house together in place where open interactions can take place in an interior space while sharing an exterior relationship with the landscape. Another important element in the house is kitchen area. “The kitchen island and dining table is set on axis with the front door, the stairs, and the bridge above. The table top is a single rough-edge slab of

Fig: 52. View from the Lake into the house while the big window-wall is open.

wood, supported by a recycled steel spring coil.”18 The placement and axis emphasized the essence of a kitchen and the culture of making and sharing food. 17. (Ngo, 2006, p. 98) 18. (Ngo, 2006, p. 100)


Tom provided a family a simple and elegant connection to the space of making and sharing as a family.

Fig: 53. Sketches illustrating the design of the fireplace.

piece of wood and metal steel coil.

Fig: 55. Long table and counter

Fig: 56. Fireplace custom designed from a steel pipe serving as the hearth of the home.



olson | kundig

table talk

Some of the most intimate conversations occur at the dining table, but how would the conversations and interactions change when visually and audio recorded. Olson Kundig Architects teamed up with the Master of Communication in Digital Media program at the University of Washington to design a voice activated interactive table where the topic of conversation must revolve around some of the most intimate topics, life and death. In the modern digital era, this table can record and explore the dynamics of a conversation at the dining table and the social impact a conversation can have as it is transmitted worldwide. This project creates a place where food is a vehicle for learning and exploring topics that are not usually publically explored. Food is a generator for interaction, but that interaction is greatly affected as one realizes there is a recording device, while the project is extremely unique and exiting there is a genetic flaw, people react different when they know they are recorded. Nevertheless, the project sets a great standard in how to approach foos and the conversation that can take place around the making and sharing of this. In a way this method reinvents what it is to have food as an event.

Fig: 57. Table Talk at [storefront].

19. (Let’s Have dinner and talk about death.)


“Before the internet, film, the phonograph, newspaper, clay tablets – the table stood as the original nexus of culture. eating together while thinking together holds a long history of shaping civilization. In collaboration with the MCDM, Michael Hebb has launched a complete rethink of the age old table – the table of truth. What would the table look like if it artfully incorporated audio visual capture? What if the table could once again collect and broadcast human story?”19

Fig: 58. The day’s menu.

Figs: 59 - 61. The social interaction of making the meal and sharing a discussion on various topics.

Fig: 62. Table Talk set and ready for a recording.

Fig: 63. The truth table suspended from the ceiling.



EMF Landspace Architects

cap de creus restoration

As notorious example of the modernization settlement, the 1961 Club Med holiday village stood in the Mediterranean coast until summer 2003, when the National Parks association classed its land with the highest figure of land protection, due to its outstanding geological values. The site that once housed 430 building and received around 900 visitors during 3 months of the year was deconstructed and remade into a dynamic ecological network of paths and viewpoints that enhance its rediscovery. From 2008 to 2010 a team of experts demolished and recycled all existing structures, and introduced a set of site specific interventions in cor-ten steel, local stone, and special concrete that highlight the nature of the landscape. “The studio was able to create not only an open air geological museum, but a real monument to the natural and ecological quality of the site.”20 The attitude expressed toward the human perception is able to tell a story of the site and the place. “The work distills and enhances the consubstantial values of the site, the diversity of geological formations, the harshness and nakedness of the rock outcrops, the specialization of native vegetation, the wind and the sea magnificence.” 21 The restoration of Cap de Creus is a great example of site specific design and of the importance of

Fig: 64. Concrete path leading to a cor-ten steel monument

preservation and restoration. The attitude towards the essence of a place and the care expressed in the de-

20. (Piras, 2012) 21. (Landezine. Landscape Architecture Works, 2011)


tails of construction and the making, provides the user a carefully thought sequence of events that teaches and informs them about the importance of vigilant design approaches.

Fig: 65. Repurposing of an existing foundation as a monumental landing.

Fig: 66. Before and after shots of the site.

Fig: 67. Cor-ten steel panoramic lookout boxes.

Fig: 68. View of the cor-ten Steel boxes at the edge of the peninsula.

Fig: 69. Before and after shots of the site.




Fig: 70. Exploratory Construct.

04. explorations What is the space of making? What is the space of sharing? What is the connection between the consumption and the production?

In everything that nature makes, nature records how it was made. In the rock is a record of the rock. In man is a record of how he was made... ...The inspiration to learn comes from the way we live. Through our conscious being we sense the role of nature that made us. Our institutions of learning stem from the inspirations to learn, which is a sense of how we were made. - Louis I Kahn



the tools Different cultures around the world have influenced the foundation of the culinary experiences taking place in today’s society. From the stove to the dining table, the evolution of tools and appliances in the culinary world have affected the way food is prepared and enjoyed, this in turn impacted the space one inhabits as the making and sharing takes place. While the space of food has always formed a significant part of the domestic realm, its evolution has allowed for a more public setting involvement. Food has the ability to create a setting for individual activity and a public experience simultaneously. Some studies have shown the relation between food and architecture through the similarities these share, and while the common ground is crucial, this study focuses on the interaction between the spaces and the actions that allow food to become a social event and the essence by which this event becomes a culinary experience. The prior case studies demonstrate examples where not only are the spaces of food important but also the way these are crafted. As previously established food is a necessity, to fulfill ones basic need for nourishment, one must consumed food on a daily basis and while the need remains constant the Fig: 71. Graphic analysis

action by which this is fulfilled varies greatly. This action relies on food being gathered, whether it is purchased or locally grown, processed, by the maker thought the use of kitchen appliances and tools, and enjoyed, on an individual or collective setting. This organization of


food production and consumption creates the essen-


tial culinary experience, that which occurs on a daily basis.

Across the different cultures the experience

varies as the ingredients, the tools, the maker, and the consumer are distinctively diverse. In an effort to understand the essential culinary experience this is an analysis and exploration of the common means in the space of food. The study

palimpsest: [n.] a parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text while keeping the trace of its previous state.

focuses on the personal and analytical investigation of culinary appliances and tools, as the stove and the dining table, through an architectural deconstruction. By extracting architectural guidelines from the preparation and consumption of food, one can understand the basic necessities these fulfill and their holistic meaning to the society. Every culture carries unique indicators of the maker and the consumer, these markers when explored and applied to different disciplines can provide intriguing design alternatives. Cooking in architectural terms is making, it is the production phase of the design process, while eating relates more to the enjoyment, and spatial rela-

ritual: [n.] an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite. [n.] observance of set forms in public worship. culture: [n.] the total of the inherited ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge, which constitute the shared bases of social action. [n.] development or improvement of the mind by education or training.

tion of the human body to a space, as it similarly oc-

the making, the essential need to construct something

tradition: [n.] the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or

out of a series of elements. “Cooking is the mother of

by practice.

curs when one enjoys a good meal. “Preparing food means constructing food, assembling, composing.”22 Peter Kubelka emphasizes on the creative aspect of

philosophy, of chemistry, of physics. Cooking is poetry, is transformation.”23 The essence that one can take four or five extremely different ingredients and con-



the tool of production stove: [n.] a portable or fixed apparatus that furnishes heat for warmth, cooking, etc., commonly using coal, oil, gas, wood, or electricity as a source of power. extupa stofa stoven ofen oven fornais fornus furnace burner range cooker kiln broiler grill rotisserie oil burner hot-air chamber tandoor firepit fireplace heater hearth

struct a beautiful and delicious meal is something quite intriguing. The process and utensils used to transform these are of equal importance to how the transformation takes place. The stove as a set of components in itself promotes the transformation, the heat, the fire, the utensil; every element has a specific purpose that focuses on its ability to transform. This series of drawings are used as an exploration of the components of a stove, the modularity it generates from, the systematic composition of the machine, the essence of transformation it promotes. The drawings work in a transformative and deconstructive approach. The first step dealt with the understanding of the system and the essential modularity of the stove, the drawing was a done on a simple sheet of trace to allow a sketchy emotion. As the drawing moved to the computer, it was treated with a new set of ingredients. Textures and secondary information, started to allow for life and color to explore the space a stove created. Finally the drawing transferred back to paper, in this case a strong textures paper. As the drawing was transferred some of the information was lost, leaving behind only a trace of its roots, which allowing for the understanding of the transformative matter of the stove. By reconstructing a new version of the stove, the drawing demonstrated an understanding of process, and the importance of steps, and proper ingredients. The drawing more and a deconstructive exploration of the space of a stove becomes a generator into the es-


Fig: 72. Drawing the spatial components of a stove.

Fig: 73. Layering information and texture




Fig: 74. Final deconstructive drawing of the spatial components of a stove.



the tool of consumption table: [n.] a flat horizontal slab or board, usually supported by one or more legs, on which objects may be placed. [n.] food as served in a particular household or restaurant. [n.] such a piece of furniture specially designed for any of various purposes. tabal tabula tabele tafle table ronde round table contouer counter countertop board slab plate plank schamil shambles mensa mesa - Spanish table-d’hote - French smorgasbord - Swedish stammtisch - German

sence of process itself. Using the same principles of deconstructivereconstructive exploration, the next series of drawings approach the spatial understanding of the table. As the table becomes a place of consumption rather than production it tends to generate a more chaotic interaction. While the table carries a similar modularity to the stove, it is through the use that both these elements different greatly. The stove tends to be a more cautious, ordered space, while the table despite having serious etiquette rules, tends to be more free and open. The drawings allowed for an understanding of the spatial quality of the table from its quiet setting to its chaotic state. It is important to understand that cooking and eating are vital steps in the transformation process; each one has a unique moment of interaction with the creator and user. These studies reinstate the importance of the process, and the care and passion that must accompany process. “Design is not something that is tacked on after analysis, or after solving spaceplanning puzzle; nor is it purely aesthetic. The unsung element is the set of intangibles or cognitive processes that arise from a passionate and deeply personal involvement� In order to produce, good food or good architecture, one must be passionately involved; some of the best cooks are family member, making meal for a loved one. Without care, and passion every product becomes generic and insignificant, they merely fulfill a need, and lack satisfaction.

22. (Kubelka, 2007, p. 14) 23. (Kubelka, 2007, p. 15) 24. (Pressman, 2012, p. 16)


Fig: 75. Drawing the spatial components of a table.

Fig: 76. Layering information and texture.




Fig: 77. Final deconstructive drawing of the spatial components of a table.



the experience hearth: [n.] the floor of a fireplace, esp one that extends outwards into the room [n.] this part of a fireplace as a symbol of the home

In a literal sense, hearth refers to the actual habitable space around a fire place, conceptually however hearth is that essence of home that grounds us and provides us with a sense of place and belonging. After conducting the spatial studies of the stove and Fig: 78. Construct Model

the table, I discovered how both of these elements are essential to create a hearth. This construct is a study where the linear elements represent the interaction taking place thought the making and sharing of experiences around the stove and the table represented by a layered piece of dark plexiglass, with scores and markings that enforce the trace of the experiences taking place. This element is grounded to a heavy plaster mass that symbolizes site, and the essence of a culture. Every culture carries a unique identity to the meaning of hearth which influences how the making and sharing interactions take place.

Fig: 79. Construct Model


Fig: 80. Construct Model - MP1 Final



Fig: 81. Strip Plaza, Ponce


05. the ethos What is the cultural background? What is the essence of the place? Why this site? How does the site influence the design principal?

“Landscapes become the medium through which to formulate and articulate solutions for the integration of infrastructure with viable programming that can address the pressing issues facing many cities around the world.� - Gerdo Aquino

the ethos


puerto rico

island of pride Puerto Rico is an island born from a mix of three strong races; the aboriginal Tainos, the colonizing Spaniards, and the enslaved West Africans. As the smallest of the five islands that form the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico carries one of the strongest ethic and cultural foundations because of its unique racial mixing over the centuries. The island that once was a colony of Spain became U.S. territory in 1898, a change that promoted the pride of being Puerto Rican and not Spanish.25 While the island has never been independent as a country, its cultural value and pride have allowed it to prosper and make a name for itself. However, the constant globalized evolution has caused a detachment in the nature of the Puerto Rican culture. While the pride of being Puerto Rican remains the essence and richness of the culture and its traditions has tremendously declined. The authentic nature of the architecture and the food has slowing been replaced by a forged combination of superficial styles, irrelevant concepts, and foreign ingredient. An island founded by the cultivation of tropical fruits and crops, had reduced itself to a place where the everyday product is imported and the natural is rarely found. The current everyday life in Puerto Rico revolves around mass produced spaces and foods. Fig: 82. Typical faรงade found in the colonial city of San Juan.

There is a distinct absence as to what is Puerto Rican architecture, and recently there has been an intense change when it comes to the food, the one thing that holds our culture together, as the making of it has lost

25. (Encyclopedia of Puerto Rico, 2013)


a lot of its essence. The current production of natural

ate a language and a space that latches it-

produce in the island tends to be exported, while most

self into the previous understanding of the

of the actually consumed produce is imported for the

nature of a space to make and a space

US and abroad. This uniquely bizarre scenario when

to share. The goal is to re-educate people

one can find natural fruit from Puerto Rico in a Euro-

into the nature of the culture. To create

pean market but has a hard time finding it in the ac-

a space that allows for the cultivation of

tual island, has a lot to do with the lack of appreciation

natural products, the use of these prod-

and education of the matter. In a society where change

ucts and the making and sharing of expe-

tends to be the norm, too much change can greatly af-

riences through the making and sharing of

fect a culture. And sadly, this is the case of Puerto Rico.

truly local Puerto Rican food.

The primary emphasis of this project is to cre-

Fig: 83. Common street-park-living condition in San Juan, PR.

the ethos


the right place

ponce Being of a tropical island nature, Puerto Rico receives over 3 million visitors a year,26 and while some are cruise passenger and same-day visitors, a good portion are tourists looking for some exciting cultural interactions. Additionally, because of the nature of the culture and the income level, there is a lot of interior tourism in the island. The evolution that affected the culture, took away a good portion of the places and activities that once used to enrich the island. However, some places like the restaurant La Vaca Brava, which means “The Angry Cow� have taken food and tourism to a different level. The owner of the restaurant which sits high in the mountains of Barranquitas, a town in the center of the island, has created a restaurant in his farm. The food served has the feel of being cooked at home, by a grandmother, and while the food is very rich, the main attraction if the actual farm. People from all over the island and international tourists, drive to this place and make a full day experience out of going out for a meal. This is in part the essence of being Puerto Rican, going to a place, that is someone’s home and sharing something as simple as space and a meal. The best approach to educate and re-engage the culture of Puerto Rico is through its food because it is inherently Fig: 84. Municipal building at the city center, Ponce.

the soul of the island. When selecting a location, population and accessibility where big priorities; however the main factor was finding a location that answers the why. Why is a place for food needed? Why is a place for food im-

26. (Index Mundi, 2010)


portant? Why here? The result led to the city of Ponce,

Central Sugar Mill, a now abandoned 19th

the second most populated city in Puerto Rico, often

century processing plant encompassing

referred to as the capital of the south. Ponce is a town

roughly 15 acres of land. The site is the

built around the sugar revolution of the 1800’s, a lot of

first step of the palimpsest, a currently

the sweat and hardship that built Puerto Rico comes

rough series of structures, with decades

from this area. The area not only carries the spirit of

of traces, with a history as long and the

strength and power, it embodies production and evolu-

town, with the potential to reform a culture


that has slowly lost its way. At the edge of the town sits, the Mercedita

Fig: 85. Collaged panorama of the city of Ponce.

the ethos


a journey


Fig: 87. Street wide sign of P-O-N-C-E serves as a marker of arrival in the town

Fig: 88. Highway exist, the smokestack of the factory in the background.

Fig: 89. Industrial rum distillery adjacent to the destination.


Ponce is a common destination and a journey. Traveling form the Northwestern Metropolitan area of San Juan, it takes around 3 hours to reach Ponce. A long journey but an exciting one, as the transition from metropolitan area to quiet country land, often provides outstanding scenic views. While the journey may seem long arriving at Ponce is quite clear, as an oversized series of letters spell out P-O-N-C-E across the highway. Locating the old Mercedita Central becomes an easy task as two 300FT tall smoke stacks give away the location over 2 miles away. Finally as the destination of mere feet away a sense if its industrial aspect is understood, as one drives through a large rum distillery and processing plant that once used to be part the Central. The destination is clear, and outstandingly beautiful, the size and nature somewhat overwhelming, but provide great satisfaction. The majesty of the place

a destination

is perceived in an instant.

Fig: 90. Final destination, an industrial site rich in culture and history

the ethos


the site

central mercedita: sugarcane plantation and refinery

the remains


Fig: 91. 1900s base of cupola.

Figs: 92-94. Unused postcards from 1907 of the Central Mercedita.


Fig: 95. Two workers operating a sugarcane press.

Figs: 96-98. Pipes and pulley systems used to operate the central.

Fig: 99. Some original tools

Figs: 100-101. Workers operating a sugar cane press

Fig: 102. Worker molding steel tool.

the ethos


the site

central mercedita: sugarcane plantation and refinery

the remains


Fig: 104. Sugar cane processing building.

Fig: 103. Current remains of an original smoke stack.

Fig: 106. Remaining railroad tracks.


Fig: 105. Old building shed.

Fig: 107. Old valves and industrial shed.

Fig: 108. Main entrance to the existing Mercedita Central.

the ethos


Fig: 109. The Palimpsest


06. the palimpsest “Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.� -Voltaire

the palimsest


concept a

Fig: 110. Concept model A

Fig: 111. Concept model A

Fig: 112. Concept model A


Fig: 113. Concept model A


concept b

Fig: 114. Concept model B

Fig: 115. Concept model B

Fig: 116. Concept model B


Fig: 117. Concept model B


concept c

Fig: 118. Concept model C

Fig: 119. Concept model C

Fig: 120. Concept model C


Fig: 121. Concept model C


preserving space

cultivating place

With the intent of designing spaces that exclusively cater to the local agriculture and the production of natural ingredients, this segment of the project is designed around two existing structures from the original sugar central. By preserving the structure, a series of specific modules are created allowing for the proper customization of the spaces. One of the main ideas for this project is the notion of fresh cooking, with this in mind a great part of the site is set to be used for the cultivation of local produce, as many fruits, roots and herbs, have a high growing rate in the area. Possible Program:

Ingredient Gardens – A series of gardens or small plantation occupy the northeastern part of the site. In these gardens common root plants like, cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other local roots are be cultivated. Many fruit trees like mangoes, oranges, lemons, and limes, grow tall enough to provide shade, and serve to outline many of the gardens and plantation. Preservation Stations – Because of the need for freshness and the natural perishable nature of the produce and ingredients grown, these preservation stations allow for the conservation and storage of certain items to be used at different stage. Some items could be pickled, dried, preserved, or bottled, with the intention of using them at different stages of the cooking process. Marketplace – The Marketplace serves a great source for the center and other local farmers to sell fresh produce the local population and its visitors. Greenhouse – Some ingredients that require more care and controlled temperature are grown inside in a greenhouse built around an existing structure of the sugar central. The greenhouse will also serve as a display on nature’s interaction with the old steel structure, giving the user a soothing experience.


Fig: 122. Programmatic Diagram

the palimsest


educating a culture

gathering community

The core of this project in the community center, a place designed around the process of food production, which serves to inform and educate locals and tourist on the nature of Puerto Rican cuisine and the culture that it embodies. This center embodies the essence of history and evolution, the nature of a culture and the social impacts of production. At the hearth of it two 260ft vent stacks stand strong as a symbol of the past and its effect on the present and future. Possible Program:

Classrooms – A series of classrooms provide classes on the history of food and the impacts on culture, along with technique on fresh cooking. Event Space – While the majority of the project caters to set of small clusters of people, a vast event space allows for monthly events to take place, where a bigger crowd can expand upon the knowledge of fresh food production. Community Kitchen – The community kitchen is the hearth of the project, as it allows for the daily education of fresh food production. The idea behind it is framed by the integration of families and individuals gathering ingredients, preparing a meal and sharing it together, learning from each other as well as from the instructor. This space prompts cultural connection between local, interior tourist, and exterior tourist. The exchanged in technique, organization and dynamic between individual represents the natural power place and food have on social interaction. Community Dining Room – The dining room is directly related to the community kitchen, as once the food has been made, the group sits here to enjoy it.


Children’s Kitchen – Similar to the community kitchen the Children’s kitchen serves as a learning guide for society, teaching the future generations the importance of healthy fresh cooking and in fun dynamic ways providing children with a foundation of the social impact food and space have in society.

Fig: 123. Programmatic Diagram

the palimsest


concept c evolve

Fig: 124. Evolutionary Model

Fig: 125. Evolutionary Model


Fig: 126. Evolutionary Model


a masterplan

The following series of spaces are evolutionary concepts emphasizing some of the scenarios taking place in the palimpsest project. Spaces like the community kitchen deal with a series of operable modular framework where a space for learning can occur at alternating scales. Additionally, a major space to promote interaction is the table room. Located at the back of the palimpsest, the table room is a glass room protruding from the building into the sugarcane fields. The 100ft long table has 7 wall compartments that segment the table into 6 modules sitting groups of four individuals and two end groups sitting to individuals. The goal is to gradually alter the dining interaction and the cultural exchange by allowing the compartment walls to gradually move and open as the meal progresses, altering the interaction from a limited group to a broad social setting.


the palimsest Fig: 127. Conceptual Masterplan


Fig: 128. Final Model - MP2

Fig: 129. Final Model - MP2


Fig: 130. Final Model - MP2

Fig: 131. Final Model - MP2


Fig: 132. Section through the educational kitchen.


the palimsest


Fig: 133. Section though the modular community kitchens


the palimsest


Figs: 134-136. The Long Table – an operational sequence


the palimsest


Fig: 137. The Long Table – The beginning of a meal


the palimsest


Fig: 138. The Long Table – Open Interaction


the palimsest



from necessity to pleasure “Architecture begins to matter when it goes beyond protecting us from the elements, when it begins to say something about the world – when it begins to take on the qualities of art when it reaches beyond the practical” -Paul Goldberger

As architects, we focus on the specialization of a set of design skills that challenge the nature of the spaces we live in. It is our responsibility as designers of the built world to create functional, practical, and safe spaces that meet our client’s needs and fulfill a social and cultural obligation. The current evolution of society and the needs of the population require of us to go beyond the practically of buildings. This project challenges the conventional approach to built environment; it re-envisions the notion of program and function into a universal sense of education through social interaction. By tackling large area in a culturally rich environment this project has the ability to greatly affect and influence the change and education needed to understand the history of the place and the capabilities of its future. As the true meaning of palimpsest, the project is enriched by the values of the past, and makes room for a better future. For architecture to make an impact it has to understand the roots of the place and the problem, and satisfy a need in a way where care, passion and pleasure are the guiding lights.


works cited Alliance for Community Development Planners (ACDAN). (2011). Casa Familiar: Living Rooms at the Border and Senior Housing with Child Care. Retrieved December 8, 2012, from ACDAN: Designing for Change: files/Casafamiliar.pdf Encyclopedia of Puerto Rico. (2013). History and Archeology. Retrieved May 20, 2013, from Encyclopedia of Puerto Rico: ing/article.cfm?ref=06100604&page=1 Ettinger-Brickmann, B., & Toyka, R. (2007). Foreword. In P. H. Hodgson, & R. Toyka, The Architect, the Cook, and Good Taste (M. Robinson, Trans., pp. 6-7). Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser Verlag AG. FDL. (2012, November 28). Back to Nature: Magnus Nilsson’s Faviken. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from Fine Dining Lovers: http://www.finedininglovers. com/stories/magnus-nilsson-video-interview/ Goldberger, P. (2009). Why Architecture Matters. Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania: Louis Stern Memorial Fund. Horwitz, J., & Singley, P. (Eds.). (2004). Eating Architecture. Massachusetts: MIT Press. Kubelka, P. (2007). Architecture and Food Composition. In P. H. Hodgson, & R. Toyka, The Architect, The Cook and Good Taste (pp. 14-21). Basel, Switzer land: Birkhäuser Verlag AG. Landezine. Landscape Architecture Works. (2011, March 23). Tudela (Club Med) Restoration in Cap de Creus by EMF Landscape Architecture. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from tudela-club-med-restoration-in-cap-de-creus-by-emf-landscape-architecture/


Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death. (n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2012, from Death over Dinner: Ngo, D. (Ed.). (2006). Tom Kundig: Houses. New York, NewYork: Princeton Architectural Press. Piras, A. (2012, October 11). Domus Web. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from Pressman, A. (2012). Designing Architecture. New York, New York: Routledge. Stergiou, L. (Ed.). (2012, April). Against All Odds Project: Ethics/Asthetics. Retrieved November 12, 2012, from Sarah Wigglesworth Architect: http://


Ritualistic palimpsest