AIA CES Credits
AV Office
Abstract Publication
Academic Affairs
Academic Calendar, Columbia University
Academic Calendar, GSAPP
Admissions Office
Advanced Standing Waiver Form
Alumni Board
Alumni Office
Anti-Racism Curriculum Development Award
Architecture Studio Lottery
Avery Library
Avery Review
Avery Shorts


STEM Designation
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Skill Trails
Student Affairs
Student Awards
Student Conduct
Student Council (All Programs)
Student Financial Services
Student Health Services at Columbia
Student Organization Handbook
Student Organizations
Student Services Center
Student Services Online (SSOL)
Student Work Online
Studio Culture Policy
Studio Procedures
Summer Workshops
Support GSAPP
This website uses cookies as well as similar tools and technologies to understand visitors' experiences. By continuing to use this website, you consent to Columbia University's usage of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with the Columbia University Website Cookie Notice Group 6

[Eat Me Build Me] Brick

Earth-based materials (namely, mud or dirt architecture) have been used for over millennia and are still sheltering approximately a third of the world population. These materials are currently experiencing a new Renaissance with upscaled construction technologies and digital fabrication introduced by scientific literature that is highly focused on the mineralogical and particle characterization of optimal mixtures. On the same token, similarly sourced clay-based materials have been traditionally used as edible substances in almost every global region: from the Middle East to India, and from Western Europe to the Caribbeans and South Africa. Traditional recipes such as bonbon tè (Haitian mud cookies) and the Calabash Chalk have been used as part of human diet for religious beliefs, traditional local medicine, or as part of a regular menu. Studies in the field of edible clay have shown that pregnant women crave dirt, clay, or charcoal if their bodies are deficient in key minerals, a custom that has been interpreted by Western investigators as a pathology named Geophagia.

As an experiment, the [EAT ME BUILD ME] project is a first-of-its-kind attempt to expose the similarities and converge the almost parallel historical and geographic routes of building with and eating earth.

It speculates a larger scope of building supply chain mechanisms, where earth-based materials (namely, mud, or dirt) are perceived not as an ineffectual matter, but as a multidimensional resource that can be used for both a shelter and a meal, thus offering a futuristic perspective to the growing field of knowledge that investigate healthier substances in building materials. To further stretch the boundaries of building materials field we speculate and ask questions such as: Can we develop edible building components that are customized to our mineral and nutrient deficiencies? Can readily available soil be used as both buildable and edible substances?

This experimental installation tests ideas and beliefs regarding the nature/culture divide that governs so much of our existing paradigms of environment. While it literally maps raw soils for their buildable and edible potencies, the experimental setup also produces a map of these various ideologies and their tensions, towards the current reformulation of our being in the world.