dr/hive: urban food networks

Boston is hungry. Its neighborhoods inadequately furnished with grocery stores and markets. Agriculture invades the city, assuming the guise of urban industry, it plants itself in the city center, adjacent to historic distribution networks. Seen from the River, it is a new shipyard, floating above the highway, producing food for the city which it seeks to both nourish and destroy.

The Urban Agricultural College is an organic machine, feeding and being fed by the city. It absorbs bees into its skin, harvesting their natural products to fund the growing of food in order to nourish an impoverished urban landscape, merging capitalist means and socialist ends. It is performative, enticing passerby to journey into its skin, indoctrinating them with knowledge of aeroponics and melittology via the theatrics of distribution in the form of drones and a hydraulic lift, trapping them in trendy late-capitalist venues and boutiques, like a mead bar and cosmetics shop. Travelling along the urban street that links to two park systems, passerby are affronted with the bustling of students attending to hanging plants, the buzzing of bees, the overhead darting to and fro of drones transporting crates of vegetables and fruit to the outer neighborhoods.

Classrooms cantilever over interior laboratories and extrude from the skin. Students are
constantly reminded of the landscape they are in service to; the flow of knowledge from city, to classroom, to laboratory travels along this visual path.

Structure evokes shipyards. Trusses support the cantilevers. The screen is a skin which must be penetrated, which absorbs, which breaks open to the city at intervals, unifying the hovering edifice, enclosing passerby in interstitial spaces that is neither interior nor exterior, but that negotiates the liminality between industry and nature.

The wall becomes inhabited by bees and drones, furthering the architecture’s performative
functions. These walls frame interstitial spaces; baptized Apiary and Dronecote, these porches become new privileged points of view over the bituminous highway, confusing the hum of traffic and bees, redirecting attention to the spectacle of Nature. Observed from the highway by morning commuters, the architecture functions as an alarm clock for the city; it awakens as the bees buzz out to collect pollen for the aeroponics system, the drones explode from their slumber, filling the morning sky in a cloud of scintillating metal.

Via professors, it takes in knowledge. Students distribute it.
Via bees, it takes in pollen. Vegetables consume it.
Via vegetables, it takes in nutrients. Drones and trucks distribute them.
The public watches.

The public learns. The public eats.

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