Food’s implication on culture and agriculture challenges agriculture’s identity in the age of the city. As architect and author Carolyn Steel explained, “we live in a world shaped by food, and if we realize that, we can use food as a powerful tool — a conceptual tool, design tool, to shape the world differently. It triggers a new way of thinking about the problem, recognizing that food is not a commodity; it is life, it is culture, it’s us. It’s how we evolved.” If the passage of food culture is dependent upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations, the learning environments should reflect this tenability in its systematic and architectural approach.
Through an investigation of agriculture and cuisine and its consequential influence on culture, education, and design, the following project intends to reconceptualize the learning environment in order facilitate place-based practices. Challenging our cognitive dissonant relationship with food, the design proposal establishes a food identity through an imposition of urban agriculture and culinary design onto the school environment. Working in conjunction with the New American University’s mission, the design serves as a didactic medium between food, education, and architecture in designing the way we eat.