FIELDWORKS Celebrates Design-Build in California's High Desert

FIELDWORKS Celebrates Design-Build in California's High Desert

Design lab Space Saloon recently wrapped up its second experimental design-build festival in Southern California. Dubbed FIELDWORKS, the festival aimed to rethink design-build and hands-on education. Following the success of the first workshop, LANDING, the group returned to Southern California to develop site-specific projects and workshops.

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© Zeno Legner

Set in the San Bernardino mountains between Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, Space Saloon's outdoor campus was chosen as an active setting for collaborative learning. As the team states, FIELDWORKS took its thematic inspiration from the cumulative methods of scientific field research—the approaches, techniques, and processes used to collect raw data outside of a laboratory setting. Project and workshop leaders questioned the constructs and apparatuses through which we perceive a place. Questions were raised on the production of sites of knowledge, and how quantified data is transformed into a qualification of meaning and significance. Projects modulated, enhanced, and manipulated one’s perception of landscape through the crafting of new imaginative spaces.

Courtesy of Neal Lucas Hitch

Two weeklong projects were constructed, led by Office Kovacs + Kyle May, Architect, and MILLIØNS (Zeina Koreitem and John May). Each day, a new workshop took place which engaged students in subjects divergent from their building projects, ranging from coding exercises and sound mapping, to performances and interactive installations. These workshops were led by Roundhouse, the2vvo, i/thee, Listening Instruments, Alex Coetzee, Rebecca Looringh-van Beeck, Leah Wulfman and Maxime Lefebvre. The results of these projects and workshops will be exhibited in Los Angeles in the Fall.

Project 1: DOTS

© Zeno Legner
© Zeno Legner

Sited in Morongo Valley, DOTS is a permanent infrastructure conducive to flexible and temporary inhabitation. A grid - at five bays by five bays large - consists of moment resisting columns each outfitted with various sleeves for cross bracing and program attachment. The top of the columns, capped with mirrors, align to a datum regardless of the topography below. DOTS provides a framework that creates a consistent proportion for different types of interventions. The team designed and built a number of scenarios that allow for flexible temporary in-habitation - an experiment in collective camping. These scenarios involve walls, shading devices, and camping platforms that can be partitioned in various configurations based on program size, orientations, landscape, and geography throughout the grid. DOTS exists as a ‘stable’ configuration yet accommodates a number of ‘unstable’ interventions.

Team Leaders: Office Kovacs (Andrew Kovacs) Kyle May, Architect

Technical Leader: Willis Bigelow

Participants: Lauren Hunter, Amanda Dellevigne, Max Harden, Erin Wright, Cameron Kursel, Ciana Frenze, Anastasiia Budnyk, Ann-pavinee Langenskioeld, Weerada Chalermnont, Phuridej Eakthanasunthorn, Saifa Sathaporn, Michael Pickoff, Natchaluck Radomsittipat

Project 2: Gymnasium 1

© Zeno Legner
© Zeno Legner

“A rather austere diet, life in the open air, a thousand practices of strength, and flexibility, on the whole alpine climbs, for writing, are as good as ten libraries.” --Michel Serres, Variations on the Body

Hemp-crete is a carbon negative building material that approximates many of the thermal properties of traditional concrete construction without the heavy environmental impacts. Gymnasium 1 is an open experiment in the use of hemp-crete for an outdoor communal bathing facility. The team designed and built a permanent monolithic deck, with a pool for hot and cold bathing, sited at the top of the hill in Morongo Valley, with a view towards Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Tiles of varying thickness (ranging from 6” to 3”) respond to the intensity of the desert climate, producing a variable thermal surface throughout the day and night.

Team Leader: MILLIØNS (Zeina Koreitem and John May)

Technical Leaders: Fruzsi Karig, Kate McAleer

Participants: Senna Hanner-Zhang, Abby Zuckerman, Aria Ekasilapa, Pichamon Taksinawong, Varinda Suphantharida, Tinn Kiewkarnkha, Thongtor Nontavatit, Nattha Dhamabutra, Alex Yueyan Li, Stephanie Lloyd, Aria Griffin, Kanchan Richardson, Hyojin Kwon

© Zeno Legner
Courtesy of Neal Lucas Hitch


Curators: Danny Wills, Gian Maria Socci

Organizational Team: Rebecca Looringh-van Beeck, Max Harden, Willis Bigelow, Fruzsi Karig, Kate McAleer

Team Leaders: Office Kovacs (Andrew Kovacs), Kyle May, Architect, MILLIØNS (Zeina Koreitem and John May)

Workshop Leaders: i/thee (Neal Lucas Hitch, Martin Hitch, Kristina Fisher), the 2vvo (Lena Pozdnyakova, Eldar Tagi), Leah Wulfman & Maxime Lefebvre, Rebecca Looringh-van Beeck, Listening Instruments (Alex Braidwood), Alex Coetzee, Roundhouse (Noemie Despland-Lichtert & Brendan Sullivan Shea)

Support: Panorama Pass, Morongo Valley Parker’s Building Supply, Yucca

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About this author
Cite: Eric Baldwin. "FIELDWORKS Celebrates Design-Build in California's High Desert" 11 Jun 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

© Zeno Legner


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