Understorey is an ecological education center, taking its title from the scientific term to describe plant life growing on and just above the forest floor. Highlighting samples of Southern Indiana’s geological composition, the design plays with the recognizable elements of a greenhouse—prefabricated materials, plants, and artificial lighting—and recasts them as both a sculptural gesture and educational tool nested beneath the built canopy of Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church, and the natural umbrella of Dan Kiley’s landscape.

Materials - Kalwall translucent FRP panels, aluminum and carbon steel tubing, machined aluminum connections and aluminum display platforms, 3D printed connections

Sponsors

ESL Spectrum

MIT Center for Art Science & Technology (CAST)

MIT School of Architecture + Planning

OSU Knowlton School of Architecture

Autodesk BUILDSPACE

Kalwall High Performance Translucent Building Systems

Parabeam

Viola Ago and Hans Tursack share an interest in architecture as a visual and material medium. Their work exploits strategies and tools from neighboring disciplines to create complex installations that blur expected boundaries between designed forms, environmental context, and human activities.

Ago is currently the Christos Yessios Visiting Professor at the Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture and a lecturer at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Ago earned her master of architecture degree from SCI-Arc in Los Angeles, and she worked as a lead designer in the Advanced Technology Team at Morphosis Architects.

Tursack is the 2018-2019 Pietro Belluschi Research Fellow at the MIT School of Architecture + Planning. He was previously a lecturer at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture. He holds a bachelor of fine art from the Cooper Union School of Art and a master of architecture degree from the Princeton University School of Architecture, where he was awarded the Underwood Thesis Prize.

As instructors studying Columbus, we’ve developed a deep appreciation of the way that the city’s strategic aggregations of discrete architectural gestures produce complex formal narratives in time. While Columbus hosts an unparalleled collection of distinct Modern, Postmodern, and contemporary work, the magic of the city lies in the cumulative experience of its architecture; a network of buildings, infrastructural fragments, and charged voids between each landmark.

While the iconic spire elevates the congregation towards the heavens, North Christian Church’s abstract hexagonal structure is set firmly into the ground, and rooted in Dan Kiley’s masterful landscape scheme. The curvilinear drive weaves through native hardwood trees and a small meadow, while a magnolia grove surrounds the church sanctuary and allées of maple trees line the edges of the property creating a balanced environment, masterfully designed and replete with natural splendor.