Penn State BArch Program, Fourth Year: Comprehensive Studio (12 weeks)

Fourth-Year Studio Design Excellence Award Recipient

with Laura DeLuca and Andrew Hoffmann

The purpose of the farm-to-table movement is to expose to diners the process of food production, from the field to the plate. This process is extremely complex and largely abstract to most people, so our proposal involves a manipulation of the ground plane in order to reveal a path that connects existing networks on a macro scale, including water ways, hiking trails, and bus routes. The path sits alongside Shingletown Road, exposing a clarified version of the farm that provides visitors with a tangible representation of the farm-to-table process.

Visitors will experience this culmination of farm experiences in stages of “on,” “of,” and “in,” alongside a rising edge condition that provides a backdrop to and services the complicated activities that take place. 

The relationship between the visitors and the live-in farmers and chefs throughout the day is an integral part of understanding the complexity and breadth of the farm-to-table process. The farmer-chefs will begin their day above the barn and circulate down to begin tending to the livestock and the fields that bleed into the path. Visitors may sample some of the produce in the market and continue towards the central plaza, where they will join the farmer-chefs in their work. After a full day of harvesting crops and tending to the livestock, visitors will occupy the restaurant space, where the farmer-chefs will prepare dinner hibachi-style as the culmination of the day’s efforts.

This edge condition that reveals different aspects of the working farm is punctuated by abstract objects that mark location-specific micro program that both serve the needs of the farm at that particular location as well as being opportunities to learn more about a specific piece of the farm-to-table process, like a bus shelter, bird house, beehive, water feature, and bike racks. At night, these objects lose their individuality & light the path, creating a network of beacons.

With the guidance of the live-in farmers and chefs on a small-scale concentration of a farm, visitors will have intimately experienced a clarified process of food production, from the field to the plate.