Seed Vault and Landscape
New Haven, Connecticut
9,600 sm / 103,334 sf
Fall 2016

The basis of the project is the unit. Each part of the project investigates the architecture and landscape as containers in relation to the unit they contain.

          Part 1
The seed vault is composed of small drawers, measuring 1 inch by 1 inch in cross section, and is organized radially by the type and size of the seed: the unit. The drawers of the container form a thickened wall that, when collectively pushed outward, would reveal a study room in the center. When the drawers are closed, its function reverts to that of a container of seeds.

          Part 2
At the landscape level, the unit of the tree is contained by the site. The tree species native to New Haven are planted in a grid throughout the landscape which is sunken 60 feet below ground. The trees are organized by their attributes, according to their flowering and shading capabilities.
          To bridge the scales of the seed and the landscape, a large seed vault surrounds the Elm tree, the largest and most historically symbolic species in New Haven. Other programs, including the laboratory, classrooms, and display areas, follow the same structural logic as the primary seed vault and are sunken underground. The top surfaces of the seed vault and these programs serve as pathways for visitors.
          While the seed vault as a collection of seeds acts as a timestamp in history, the trees of the permanent collection in the landscape would be a live indicator of time. As they grow to their maximum heights, their crowns will eventually become aligned to the datum of the plaza above.

Yale School of Architecture
First Semester Design Studio
Critic: Joyce Hsiang
Nominated and Published in Retrospecta 40

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