“Sugarfree” is made of a biodegradable thermoplastic cast in digitally fabricated molds. Designed and fabricated by Igor Siddiqui, the project will be on display at thinkEAST.
Edible Architecture by Catherine Gavin
PHOTO COURTESY OF IGOR SIDDIQUI.
ustin’s Fusebox calls itself an “idea engine,” and over the past 11 years the organization has brought hundreds of artists together for its 12-day spring festival. This year, Fusebox is taking on place-making and collaboration amongst artists, architects, developers, and city planners to re-imagine a 24-acre former industrial site in East Austin. The project, thinkEAST Living Charrette to Shape a New Creative Community, received a sizeable grant from ArtPlace America to realize a “pop-up” festival April 1–12. The event will bring people to the site and raise awareness about the largescale development planned for the area. The idea is to model a “vibrant, creative, mixed-use community of the future.” Ron Berry, Fusebox artistic director, describes the project as an extension of their Free Range Art initiative.
“We believe that exciting things arise when you encounter ideas and perspectives outside of your immediate sphere,” he says. “Working with architects and planners is exciting, and in many ways, it is a natural/organic fit for us.” Participating architects and collaborators include Division of Wonder, Igor Siddiqui, Jen Wong, Richard DeVarga, TBG Partners, and Thoughtbarn. Each of the projects focuses on design innovation and community building, with Siddiqui’s collaboration with Wong being the most adventurous: The pair is working with local chefs to create an exhibition of edible building materials for the event. “Construction materials and edible ingredients are ordinarily viewed as distinct substances. Rather than focusing on their differences, we are looking for commonalities between them,” say Siddiqui and Wong. “At the forefront of
material innovation are efforts by designers to not only use new materials, but also design them from scratch. Such innovations are frequently an outcome of the convergence of high and low technologies, and these designers aspire to produce materials that are as highly customizable as they are sustainable. Natural polymers, organic masonry, microbial cellulose, mineral-based 3-D prints, gums, and rubbers not only represent potential alternatives to more conventional materials, but also consist of ingredients that are nontoxic and effectively edible.” A small-scale take on the broad topic of resiliency, the project exemplifies how thinking out of the box can change even the most basic elements of architecture.
Texas Architect 7