This portfolio was my entry in the 2014 KPF Traveling Fellowship through Harvard University GSD's invited participation and own internal competition. I didn't make it past the University's 5-person shortlist, so was never entered in the final decision.
The competition required 15 one-sided pages. The portfolio itself is back to back spray-mounted bristol. All pages are one-sided, but by binding them in the middle and interpreting "page" as "layout" I get twice as many images while staying within the rules. After assembly, the pages are cut on the table saw to achieve a rough texture. The box is made from Walnut with a laser etched title. The box opens via two 95 degree stay-hinges at the top. and is held together when closed by a series of 1/2" diameter earth-magnets embedded in the wood and covered by non-ferrous titanium rod that is flush with the wood and is finished mirror smooth (12,000 level micro-mesh).
The entry, which involves along with the portfolio a proposal for travel and study, was entitled "Chasing Utopia(s) - In Pursuit of an Architectural Dragon" - nothing like a heroine reference to catch someone's attention, right? The proposal was as follows:
This proposal takes as its subject eight architectural experiments, all of which represent the societal ameliorations and formal expressions tied to the Western utopian tradition. Spanning four centuries and spread out over three continents, these experiments hold a unique place in the architectural imagination. Utopia, meaning simultaneously “no-place” and “happy place,” was famously transformed into a literary genre by Sir Thomas More in his 1516 novel of the same name.
The term cannot, however, be understood without some sort of architectural or spatial expression. It is fundamentally tied to design, for it requires depiction even as an ethereal ideal. Its shape, while in service to a broader set of social, economic, political or religious motives, becomes the foundational condition of its meaning.
The architectures of Utopia are historically and geographically diverse. In their current state of obsolescence and decay (whether physical, programmatic, or something else), history’s utopias arguably serve as something akin to anachronistic mirrors reflecting the societies that sought them out. The conditions of their existence reveal simultaneously the ideological terrain of their native situation and the projection of their fractured, imagined futures. The organizational and architectural strategies they deploy are discrete, preserved manifestations of an inherently unattainable concept—artifacts testifying to the unrequited pursuit of architecture’s promise.
I propose to study five utopian models: first, a group of religious communities established in the US between roughly 1750 and 1850 (Harmony, Zoar, Pleasant Hill, and New Harmony; second, the modernist ecotopia imagined at Arcosanti; third, the dreams of the propagation of the Catholic faith represented by the Jesuit mission of San Ignacio Mini, Argentina; fourth, the Enlightenment ambition of the productive society found at the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans; and finally, the bellicose Renaissance city embodied by Palmanova.