The Waste Initiative is an applied research platform that aims to explore the possibilities—both real and speculative—of the role of waste in relationship to architecture and the city. At once ubiquitous and forgotten, waste is a growing and pressing area of inquiry that extends across scales and disciplinary expertise. At Columbia GSAPP, the work of the Waste Initiative operates through research in Advanced Design Studios, summer workshops and public design projects. The initiative uses design to facilitate larger conversations around these topics through engagement with city organizations and thought leaders in the field.
Recent projects include New Public Hydrant (in collaboration with Chris Woebken) commissioned by BMW Mini for the Water Futures research program rethinks alternatives to single use plastic bottles and reimagines the fire hydrant as a small-scale water infrastructure. A contribution to the Oslo Architecture Triennale (in collaboration with Jesse LeCavalier, Dan Taeyoung and Chris Woebken) around the theme of Degrowth is a research project that looks at historical, contemporary and speculative communities and social experiments around the world to understand them through new value metrics such as resource management, approaches to waste materials, communality, and platforms for collective sharing.
In the summer of 2018, Tei Carpenter and Jesse LeCavalier led a summer workshop in Scandinavia with GSAPP architecture and urban planning students titled Infrastructure Imaginaries that focused on studying innovative waste and energy infrastructures, industrial ecologies and the ways in which infrastructure is imagined as a collective enterprise.
Carpenter, Tei and Christopher Woebken. “The New Public Water.” Urban Omnibus, The Architectural League of New York, Jan. 9, 2019.