home > projects > 2011 Malpais Habitation Project


Malpais Habitation Project

Armijo Canyon, Malpais, NM - 2011

Land Arts students conduct a site survey of Armijo Canyon, investigating the landscape in relation to human and non-human habitation. Students then design and build models in the field, articulating conceptual and physical details of the environment, while considering what it means to inhabit place.

Land Arts of the American West
Students investigate the canyon wall, while gaining a perspective of the surrounding topography

Journal Entry

Eugene Upston
September 18, 2011

...Having the observation, analysis and synthesis day put me in a detailed state of mind where I could hyper observe the ecosystem and patterns within it. For example the blue jays alerting each other of my presence once I enter their domain, or the grasshopper catching a draft to escape. This type of immersion made me think about the question: Can the patterns of people point to the attributes of those individuals?

Synthesizing this information into the form of habitation, I was able to come up with a pod like structure that served as a device to amplify underground sounds. My hopes for the design were to give the listener a solidarity place to reflect upon the sounds down under as well as interact with the space to create their own sound to compare to those outside.

Land Arts of the American West
Students explore ansestral puebloan architecture

Land Arts of the American West
Students work on habitation designs and models at the base camp

Land Arts of the American West
Student presenting design of earth sheltered sonic habitation space.