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Weaving Edges

Expanding beyond the boundaries of the site, “Weaving Edges” is a mechanism that capitalizes on micro ecological corridors to weave together formerly fragmented ecosystems. It encourages diverse ecological itineraries with different characters and qualities, thus supporting biodiversity and the healthy water quality fragmentation threatens.

Our site is a compilation of disconnected ‘green’ islands in tension with abrasive land uses, the most noxious of which are the residential development pressures on a forested area. From an aerial perspective, the impression of the 73-acre site owned by Schaghticoke First Nation (SFN) is pure green, dominated by its forest, farms, and wetlands. An aerial view of green land is often associated with a healthy and thriving environment. However, in conducting our research, we discovered fragmented forests, agricultural districts and ecosystems. The cause of the fragmentation is a web of secondary roads connecting towns to the Taconic State Parkway. Fragmentation leads to the loss of biodiversity; encourages the growth of invasive plants, pests, and pathogens; and negatively impacts water quality. Specifically, we researched the phenomenon of fragmentation and its impact on edge effects. Rather than a gradual blending of ecosystems found in undisturbed habitats, fragmentation creates stark boundaries between forest and agricultural ecosystems, destroying habitats that thrive in the areas meant to harmoniously blend ecosystems.

Weaving Edges is the reimagined process of environmental reclamation and renewal to address the fragmented forest and agricultural areas. Weaving begins with new modes of integrated sustainable strategies to regenerate the land, bends traditional forms to reestablish the physical and spiritual connection formed based on ancient Iroquois philosophy of the Living Creature Principle, which states that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future.

The two buildings proposed on site, the Main house and Gateway House adhere to the Living Creature Principle, as they seamlessly co-exist with the natural systems, remain self-sufficient within the resource limits and functions like trees that generate a net surplus positive in form, functions and energy. The Gateway House is the welcome center and the source of renewable energy. Draping along the perimeter of the Gateway House are tubes containing algae forming an exterior skin that shades the boardwalk, produces oxygen, and provides light. Mainhouse is a multi-purpose structure. It serves as a cultural and archival center, it contains administrative offices, lodgings, and operates an embassy for the Schaghticoke community, all in the form of a reimagined Iroquois longhouse. Enveloping the sinuous roofline formed by glulam trusses, the solar strips louvers system forms an external skin that adapted itself to the environment while also filtering light and view and harvesting energy from the sun.