Our project, Understorey, is an ecological education center staged as a site of social and material exchange, and takes its title from a term used by ecologists to describe plant life growing on, and just above the forest floor. In this liminal zone nested beneath the architectural canopy of Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church, and the natural umbrella of Dan Kiley’s landscape design, our installation will serve as a site of encounter with layered stacks of mineral, biological, technological, and cultural assemblages. The structure co-opts greenhouse tectonics, prefabricated agricultural materials, and artificial lighting, and recasts them as both a sculptural gesture and educational tool on the stage framed by Kiley’s plan of grids and allées.

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.