FIELD-STATION is an architectural experiment that explores the spatial practices of environmental sensing, climate action, and forest care. As a hypothesis, this project asks: how can practices of digital forestry be reoriented away from extraction toward a more open-ended and convivial relationship to the land? Situated in the Sam Houston Forest in the Pineywoods ecoregion of Texas, FIELD-STATION operates as an ecological outpost in a precarious landscape—monitoring pollution at active extraction sites, checking air quality, observing habitat health, relaying resource use, and gathering evidence of ecological disturbance. Serving as a low-tech laboratory, camp site, mobile classroom, and seedling nursery (among many other functions), the field station offers an open-ended spatial system. Its materials, tectonics, and operability allow for citizen-scientists, forest defenders, climate activists, and thru-hikers to adapt to a wide variety of weather shifts, atmospheres, temperatures, and lighting conditions. Somewhere between a tent and a building, the field station creates a narrative rich environment: an adjustable infrastructure that is non-hierarchical, negotiable, and contingent (as easy to construct as it is to eventually dismantle). Immersed in a lush understory of ferns and fungi, this prototype imagines new protocols for stewardship and care within a landscape, thinking of the “living forest” not only as an ecosystem but also as a sensuous laboratory: full of sensors collecting data for future testimonials and stories.
FIELD-STATION is a public art piece on view in the Anabeth and John Weil Hall of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, July 2022 - June 2023. Special thanks to Rice University School of Architecture and the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design for research and fabrication support.
"Forest Scans No. 01-04" are texture maps of the Sam Houston Forest generated through photogrammetry.
Project Leads: Daniel Jacobs, Brittany Utting
Design Team: Anna Brancaccio, Jianing Cui