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(DE)COMPOSING TERRITORY: Enclosure as a negotiation between bioplastics + environments

(DE)COMPOSING TERRITORY investigates the possibilities of bioplastics (plastics derived from plant-based substances and engineered to degrade into organic components) as an architectural substance and as a source for new relationships between material and process, from making to unmaking.

(DE)COMPOSING TERRITORY: Enclosure as a negotiation between bioplastics + environments

(DE)COMPOSING TERRITORY investigates the possibilities of bioplastics (plastics derived from plant-based substances and engineered to degrade into organic components) as an architectural substance and as a source for new relationships between material and process, from making to unmaking. Probing the links between material properties and their attendant values, the project centers on these questions: can the architectural values of permanence, formal stability, and material resistance to environmental effects be substituted with impermanence, instability and collaboration with environmental change? And what new forms of architectural practice might this require?

Following an initial cooking tests and iterative prototypes, HALF-ACRE/HALF-LIFE was a live field experiment and public installation sited on the grounds of an educational farm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Over fifty hand-crafted bioplastic panels enclosed approximately half an acre; like a porous fence, this temporary structure implied a pentagonal figure with an uncertain temporality. Environmental circumstances, such as rain and heat, affect the speed at which the sugar-based plastic will break down, dissolving the territorial boundary. This process of making and unmaking stages a collaboration between landscape, environment, and designers.

Project Leads

Meredith Miller

Project Team: Peter Halquist, Nathan Oppenheim, Lizzie Krasner, James Graham, Laurin Aman, Delia Guarneros, Nick Safley, Matthew Story, Shan Sutherland, Kevin Raley

Special Thanks to: John Petz (Domino's Farms), Charlie Frank (Zingerman's Candy Manufactory) Ann Arbor

Research Through Making Photos