Enabling emergence: Realizing a design-build environment in Brooklyn

Gregory Marinic, Illya Azaroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A resurgence in material and formal exploration has led architects back to time-tested methods, tooling, material processes, and prototyping. Exploiting this trajectory as a point of departure, this project engaged students of architecture in a semester-long collaborative studio investigating urban emergence in the conceptualization of a design-build interior environment. Dubbed 'Emergent Environment', the effort sought to architectonically synthesize the notions of 'meme', a Greek term defined as an idea, behavior, or usage that spreads from person-to-person within a culture and 'agora': the universal term evoking a gathering/ marketplace. Our exploratory studio mined the neighborhood context of post-industrial Bushwick, Brooklyn for its relevance as a laboratory of urban, social, cultural, and demographic data. 'Emergent Environment' was initiated as a scholarly, collaborative, and research- intensive that blurred the boundaries between the design process and the act of building itself. The project provided an environment for engaging emergent design research by identifying anthropomorphic relationships, morphologies, and change within a prescribed Brooklyn neighborhood undergoing significant gentrification. By sampling the context for site-specific data at various scales, bottomup solutions and sustainable potentialities were revealed. These opportunities were considered through the study of various material conditions and connective operations, then rapidly tested through digital fabrication. A series of focused exercises were employed as investigative generators that dialed into emergence toward the realization of a zero-budget interior gallery installation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-398
Number of pages12
JournalDesign Principles and Practices
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Architecture
  • Brooklyn
  • Design Research
  • Digital-Fabrication
  • Emergence
  • Gallery Installation
  • Installation
  • Interior Architecture
  • Process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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