Juried Debate


Sonja Duempelmann — You mentioned at the beginning that this was a rather strange idea. Well it is a very strong idea, and that’s why it’s very good, but it is also a very provocative idea. You took a process and designed everything in the building and the site around that process. That’s a challenge and it’s well done here. But I wonder, at the moment the building and the site are very resolved, can you imagine a way to introduce even more tension into the project?

Alexis Gregory — Yes. In the site, the raceways are offset, or shifted in a beautiful way. Why didn’t this gesture make its way into the building plan? The building plan looks like one raceway on top of another, and separated by the roadway…

Justin Donnelly — The building plan actually duplicates the way in which the raceways are organized. The program bar at the top is one full raceway, and the program bar at the bottom is two raceways separated just as they are in the site. It is a cropped snapshot of the raceway diagram.

Steve Ziger — This is a very strong scheme. And I actually respect your intuition in making the factory building one self-contained thing. I would resist having it shift or having it respond more to the sheds where the crabs are raised. This site is so large and there is so much going on here that it is important to have a central kind of strong statement of the container, the box, the factory, that these things happen within.

Susan Rogers — Are there some moments in there where the experience of the landscape changes? The pattern that you have established, does it ever change?

Justin Donnelly — There are several localized, unique site conditions. The clusters of raceways have been split where they become very dense to afford the pedestrian unique vistas between the raceways and into the wetland/berm/forest. This would enhance the experience of the site.

Steve Ziger — I like the layered quality to the site, the topography, the machine of the sheds and the landscape that begins to connect the habitat. That is starting to happen in the main building, in the [undulating] roof, but it may be more explicit in the ground plane as well. As you mentioned, you have all these different elevations going from the loading down 10 feet. Maybe you can use that topography to make a little more sense out of that level.

Michael Ambrose — Justin began by describing how our society is basically destroying itself and the Chesapeake Bay along with it. I think the part of the power and potency of this project happens right here in the site section where we see a child peering into one of these raceways and looking at the blue crabs. Or the section that shows a mother and a child walking along the edge of a constructed wetland. There are very few places in the built environment that invite people up close against this edge of natural grasses digesting natural wastes. To give people the opportunity to see this is really quite powerful.

Michael Ambrose — This site connects the visitor to the forest, the wetland, and the meadow. The building connects the visitor to a series of mechanized and human crab production processes. And the views along what I like to call the glass “nose” wall would be fantastic. Positioning us between nature and the blue crab, well that’s a nice place to be, and I want to thank Justin for taking us there.
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