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Design Industry Dinner


On October 20th, we transformed our Brooklyn Navy Yard shop for a special evening featuring architect and renegade chef Benjamin Walmer. Working with Silver Lining Interiors, we invited friends and collaborators from New York City’s design community – architects, interior designers, artists, and innovators – to our facility to enjoy a multi-course feast. Part-culinary experience, part-community building, the event celebrated our commitment to collaboration, innovation, and the vibrant community the Brooklyn Navy Yard is fostering.


A continuation of his Highlands Dinner Club, chef Benjamin Walmer sourced local ingredients from our Yard neighbor, Brooklyn Grange, and set up back of house on-site at the Navy Yard. The entire dinner was a collaborative effort, featuring nine different sponsors who contributed with different food or drink offerings. Integrating SITU’s design and fabrication work into the meal the first course of assorted charcuterie, cheese, and pickles was served on composite salvers SITU made especially for the event.


Wowing the crowd with whole grilled octopus, cider braised pork shoulder, and a steamship round that showcased fall vegetables, the meal was fortified by wine provide by Saveur Selects, and brews from Brooklyn Brewery, who is in the process of moving their operation to the yard.


One of the highlights of the night was the unplugging of the chocolate sculpture we designed in coordination with Mast chocolate. Suspended in a thermoformed cavity, melted chocolate flowed onto a mountainous platform below, coating fresh fruit in a vanilla chocolate drizzle.

situ-fabrication-238                situ-fabrication-240

Thank you to all of our collaborators: Copper Fox Distillery, Fleischer Craft Butchery, Profeta Farms, Metropolitan Seafood, Ironbound Farm, Vos Selections, Brooklyn Brewery, Mast Chocolate, Brooklyn Grange, Mezcal Santa Pedrera, and Mezcal Buenbicho.

Coverage of the event will appear in edible Brooklyn and Food + Wine Magazine.

Installation at Stommeln Synagogue



Walid Raad and SITU collaborated to design and build an installation for Stommeln Synagogue, a historic institution in Pulheim, Germany that hosts exhibits by acclaimed artists each year.

Building on a 30-year tradition of artists commissioned to re-imagine the synagogue’s interior, Raad and SITU developed a project that probes the historical, social, and political forces that generate new types of space, while inviting the viewer to question and explore the nature of this transformation. As essay about the project written by

The exhibit titled, Those that are near. Those that are far., was on view from June 8th through September 25th.

The following text accompanied the  installation:

With this work, we imagine the Stommeln synagogue as a departure and arrival point; an entry and an exit; a beginning and an end; a site for goings and comings; from above to below or below to above; from here to there or there to here; from far to near and near to far.

Cartels, refugees, dissidents, smugglers, prisoners, occupiers and occupied alike generate innovative spatial strategies. They do not enter and exit through the front door, the window or even the back porch. They unsettle social and legal boundaries, link inside and outside, private and public – crisscrossing vertical and horizontal strata – operating in equal parts logic and will.

These material tunnels are complemented by immaterial ones, a tunneling of vision, sound, light, and heat. No need to physically traverse space to reach the other side. Just send a wavelength through bodies, walls, floors, and ceilings and see what lurks on the other side.

Brought up to the light or descending into darkness? No. Hide in plain sight. Brought down by light.


View from mezzanine


Detail of the interior


Exterior of the synagogue


A catalog of the exhibition is forthcoming.

Some select press on the installation can be found here:


Frankfurter Allgemeine


Unven Growth: The Other New York

The Other New York, 2014. Design by SITU Studio, Video produced and directed by Brooklyn Digital Foundry.


SITU’s work for the Uneven Growth exhibition – which opens to the public this Saturday November 22nd at The Museum of Modern Art – focuses on the informal component of New York City’s housing market and seeks to place it squarely within conversations about affordability. The condition of unevenness in New York is distinct from some of the other cities featured in the show in that it is often concealed from view – at least with respect to housing.

Our contribution to Uneven Growth addresses the hidden density of New York’s informal housing not by trying to shift residents elsewhere, but rather, by proposing a way for communities to thrive within the neighborhoods they already inhabit. By focusing on tactical interventions, additions and renovations of existing housing stock, we envision a landscape of accretive architectural proliferation that populates rooftops, backyards, industrial buildings and other available spaces.

Taking this vision even further, we also propose a new mixed-use, mixed income infill building typology that provides a direct link from the public street up to the new roof-scape and behind to courtyard spaces. Facilitated through a novel financing model that aims to energize nearby urban hubs while also supporting local transportation and other infrastructural investments, a new form of incremental growth is catalyzed to produce a more equitable New York.

Uneven Growth: Community Growth Corporation (CGC)

The Community Growth Corporation, Jesse M. Keenan, MAS Summit 2014

As part of its research for the Uneven Growth project, SITU worked with Jesse Keenan of the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE.) to propose an ownership and development model focused on capturing the value of unused air rights in the service of funding affordable housing.  In addition to working closely with Jesse, the Furman Center’s guidance and work on Transferable Development Rights was an essential component of this research.  This post focuses on SITU’s strategy for unlocking development rights as one approach to addressing the affordability crisis in New York on a localized level.  The CGC proposes a scenario where underutilized urban spaces could be opened up to a new type of incremental growth facilitated through neighborhood based organizations called Community Growth Corporations. In the below video, Jesse Keenan explains the principles and mechanics of the CGC at this year’s annual Municipal Art Society Summit.


CGC1. Redistribution of FAR in the outer boroughs.

The Community Growth Corporation (CGC) is a hypothetical development model meant to align social and financial capital in a way that allows for the preservation of affordable housing and the creation of community-driven neighborhood projects. The mechanism for capitalization is a public auction of excess floor area ratio (FAR) within a community that would otherwise go unused, or where the cost to build to the FAR outweighs the benefit of added interior space. Excess FAR is then exchanged for a share of the CGC. Altering the existing regulations so that FAR is no longer restricted to contiguous properties, but instead can be aggregated – forming new kinds of development– both low-rise affordable housing or higher rise mixed-income developments in adjacent neighborhoods that are suited for denser development (Image 2).


20141114_CGC44. Intra-borough Receiving and Donating Zones.

“Receiving Zones” are identified as areas that are capable of accepting increased density due to the availability of space as well as existing access to transportation infrastructure. “Donating Zones” are identified as areas that are currently over-populated and are severely rent-burdened, meaning that on average households spend more than 50% of their income on housing. The transfer of FAR between the two zones can only occur if they are adjacent.


20141114_CGC33. FAR Bank and redistribution of FAR

By exchanging excess FAR for shares in the CGC, landowners of properties with affordable housing receive modest investments returns that must be used to renovate or further develop the property. These returns are attached to the property itself rather than its owner in order to ensure that investment in affordable housing is continual, especially in neighborhoods that are already over populated and rent-burdened. All residents are able to gain shares in the CGC, regardless of whether or not they are landowners, through “sweat equity” – participating in street and public space improvements, engaging in senior care activities, coordinating transit pools, etc. Returns for these CGC shareholders come in the form of unit renovations or as rent credits, ensuring the advancement and quality of affordable housing.


20141114_CGC64. Participation in the CGC.

A CGC web interface would allow shareholders and community members to manage how their returns are both distributed, personally and within the larger community. A portion of yearly returns would be allocated to community developments ranging from schools to bike lanes and the interface would allow community members to participate in the decision-making process.

The CGC is predicated upon the commodification and a redistribution of the public asset of the right to build to ensure another right – a right to housing.

‘Making Design Lab’ Documentary

Our documentary Making Design Lab will premier this Friday October 17th at the Architecture and Design Film Festival.

Making Design Lab is a short documentary that follows our team as we design, fabricate, and install the new 10,000 sq ft permanent exhibition space at the New York Hall of Science. Design Lab is a series of five activity areas designed to host an array of STEM and project-based learning activities. Conceived of as sites to foster and promote problem ideation, tinkering, testing, and displaying results – the architecture of Design Lab is intended to be integral to the types of critical discovery and making that is so crucial to the design process.

Our short will be presented as part of the ‘Maker’ program at the film festival, screening just before the feature length film Make, directed and shot by Mu-Ming Tsai. We are excited to present our short and to engage in discussion with other festival participants. Please find more information about the program and the Architecture and Design Film Festival here.

Making Design Lab will be showing at Tribeca Cinemas on Friday October 17th at 6:15 pm and Sunday October 19th at 3:15 pm.

Design Lab: Wrapping up Design Development

We’ve been wrapping up the design development phase of Design Lab, a project we are working on for the New York Hall of Science. Over the coming weeks we’ll be developing 1:1 scale prototypes of various components of the structures and, in the spirit of the Design Lab project, we’re looking forward to getting our hands dirty!


Here’s the latest version of what we’ve been calling this one the “Sandbox.” It will be a space where visitors can experiment in a variety of media at a large scale. Pictured here, make a structure out of rubber bands and dowels!



The “Fort” structure will be a combination of thin shell concrete modules and wooden planar elements that will simultaneously serve as storage for the myriad materials that will be used for maker projects as well as vessels for the display of objects/experiments made by visitors.

We’ll be posting images of mock-ups soon!

Lebbeus Woods 1940 – 2012

Lebbeus Woods cast a long shadow.

The first time we encountered Lebbeus was when our first year professor, Raimund Abraham, invited him to our final review.  Before the review Raimund had us build a long rectangular table on top of which sat all of our ultra-cal concrete models. Pinned up on the wall behind, were all of our drawings. We all sat around the table between the drawings and the models – 35 students, Raimund and Lebbeus.  That day was not a day of juries, nor of critiques. All of the hard work of the semester was done. Raimund and Lebbeus brought us all together that day to celebrate the spirit of architecture and to pass on to us the joy and poetics of space.  We are forever indebted to them for this.

Lebbeus passed away the eve of hurricane Sandy. His absence will be felt but we are grateful for everything he has left us in work and in spirit.  At a moment like this, when we are forced to begin to think about rebuilding after an event that has so radically changed our landscape and infrastructure, Lebbeus’ work provides continued inspiration and guidance.


“Spaces of Utopia/Dystopia” Seminar


Last weekend Situ presented some recent work on the Forensic Architecture project as part of the exhibition Troubling Spaces at the Zabludowicz Collection in London. The exhibition was curated by Helga Just Chistoffersen and Natasha Marie Llorens.

Photo: Tim Bowditch

Our talk focused on the ever increasing use of “Non-Lethal” weapons for operations in urban environments and situations of civil unrest. Two case studies were presented in which we explored the use of civilian video and photography in relation to the evolving and often murky legal contexts this type of warfare engenders. One of the case studies (above) is part of a report we are working on with Francesco Sebregondi of the Center for Research Architecture on the use of Air Burst White Phosphorus munitions in highly populated environments.

Photo: Tim Bowditch

On Friday, artist Avi Mugrabi screened his film Z32 and on Saturday he presented some of the work he is doing with the organization Breaking the Silence.

Photo: Tim Bowditch

Tom Keenan, Director of the Human Rights Project at Bard College, led a discussion on Sunday on the subject of battle and media-spaces of the Internet during the conflicts in Kosovo and Iraq.

Maker Milan


In developing the Maker Space and now Design Lab projects for the NY Hall of Science, we’ve tuned into the worldwide Maker Movement.

On a recent trip to Milan, it was no surprised to find a couple Maker celebrations during the annual design fair.  The first discovery was Hacked – “100 hours of rebellious creativity” within la Rinascente, in central Milan. The weeklong program included lectures, workshops and performances which took place in the middle of a high-end retail store.  At the time of our visit there was a competition between man and machine to make a model of the Duomo.

A second Maker finding was at Cascina Cuccagna, an 18th century farmstead in southern Milan which has been recently restored for public use.  During design week the site hosted a Maker Lab workshop and a Public Design Festival planning seminar.

At the core of Cascina Cuccagna is Un Posto A Milano, a restaurant and bar which is a site for food culture experimentation while also preserving agricultural heritage.  During design week guests were invited to dine at a number of tables which played with dining table conventions.  Dinning sets included a laptop tabletop, screened enclosure with holes for hands and face, and conjoined rocking chairs.


We are pleased to announce the launch of two new websites which further articulate the two sides of our practice.

SITU FABRICATION will now feature our fabrication services.
SITU STUDIO will now solely feature our design and research work.

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