Convent in San Jaoquin Valley
- Yale School of Architecture
- Critic: Michael Szivos
A speculative project for a monastery of nuns, whose inhabitation permits corporeal readings of a former wetland. Sited in California’s San Joaquin Valley—a historical river basin that is now one of the most agriculturally productive landscape on earth—the nuns stage hysteric displays of metabolic self sabotage.
They tower over the I-5, at a junction where the Amazon fulfillment center approaches the San Luis Reservoir, bordering large-scale agriculture, quartered-off ducks clubs, and pristine wildlife refuges. Emulating Lina Bo Bardi’s Teatro Oficina, the convent’s architecture circumscribes the limits of human habitation. Circulation is cut, restricting movement to a spiral piling the nuns upward. The space accommodates the waste their life mandates—until their passing—as they attempt to demonstrate the metabolic distress of their locale. Their monastery hyperbolizes self-sufficiency and its limits in a commodity culture. Their only respite is to eat and keep what comes with that.