The School of Architecture, established by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1932, has graduated the first generation of experimental structures, or ‘shelters’, built at the school’s new campus at Arcosanti, USA. The graduating students have re-imagined what a dwelling structure might look like through a broadened range of materials, uses, and degrees of permanence.

Jessica Martin presented the ‘Cinder’ monolithic shelter made out of rammed earth. In contrast to the lightweight executions of her classmates, she formed a series of colorful, earthen layers with soils found throughout the region. The upper levels are embedded with a native seed mix, intended to either germinate or be picked away and serve as food for birds, acknowledging the inevitable decay of the building.

The ‘Biopod 01’ shelter by Solomon Edelman explores ‘biomorphic’ design based upon, and physically resembling, living systems. With soft curves, sitting and sleeping spaces are integrated within the thin-shell concrete system. Oval-shaped openings frame views to the distant landscape, and permit cross-ventilation.

Michele Yeeles’ ‘Shiro’ shelter explores materials that can minimize the adverse environmental impact of construction through the use of  mycelium, the root network of mushrooms, and grew the material in molds to create thick insulation panels. This material was then positioned within the wall framing, replacing traditional insulation. The Arch-i-part shelter by Azrien Isaac explores a kit-of-parts approach that allows for the reconfiguration of a structure as one builds it. The parts resemble crystals or minerals and are of varying lengths from 18 inches up to four feet, and triangular in cross-section. They pack together to form an enclosure and are interconnected through concealed, friction-fit fasteners. Made from rigid foam and coated in an epoxy coating developed for truck bed lining, they are lightweight and easy to assemble into various configurations. all images courtesy of Matt Winquist Photography

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