"shelter competition entry"

Developed in collaboration with Mingyu Dong at the School of Constructed Environments, Parsons The New School for Design

We believe that a diverse society is part of what we call a Hierarchy of Social Construction, inspired in part by Abraham Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. The Hierarchy consists of three primary Conceptual Stages paralleled by three Spatialized Stages:

Each Conceptual Stage represents the needs, desires, and common practices of the individuals therein. Much as Maslow states that an individual must fulfill base physiological needs before concerning itself with love, esteem, and so on, there are compounding (and exponentially expanding) requirements for the progression from Conceptual to Spatialized Stages (ex: Community to Neighborhood), and from one Stage to the next (ex: Community to Society).

When multiple individuals have met their own needs and begin to share their desires and motivations with others, this forms a Community. A Community forms a conceptual network as ideas and values are exchanged between individuals; this is the first step towards Society: a network of Communities with shared motivations that develops an increasingly complex web of conceptual, motivational, and informational infrastructures. Both Community and Society exist prior to the addition of place, which spatializes extant infrastructures and appends those of goods and services, data exchange, transportation, and so on. Importantly, Society relies as much upon shared values as it does upon those at odds; Communities/Neighborhoods are perpetually in flux, subject to both conceptual and spatial transformation. Thus, Communities will often push or pull against others, creating the vital tension of ideas (if not outright conflict) that results in a diverse and vibrant Society.

Diversity in the built environment is achieved by the motivations of Individuals (or Communities) resulting in myriad Architectural Acts. With the completion of each Act, Society is further rooted to place. Architectural Acts appear when motivational determinants intersect with critical junctions of supporting infrastructures. Because any Individual or Community will require a different set of motivational determinants, which may intersect with an infinitely various infrastructural network, the outcome of an Architectural Act is what we define as a Node, or a channel through which the cultural, economic, or philosophical values of the Individual or Community are expressed.