About the Agritect
They say you can take the girl away from the farm, but you can’t take the farm away from the girl. I left the family farm in 2002 to pursue a career in architecture and came full circle in 2008 when I started my master’s thesis on architecture and agriculture: agritecture.
A few definitions (taken from Google definition):
I grew up on a dairy farm in Middlesex County. As a child I was fully immersed in the family farm. I very quickly realized that farmers are more than just farmers, they are contemporary Renaissance Men, understanding business, accounting, management, science, biology, ecology, mechanics, electronics, buildings to name only a few. But farming is not only a science, its a lifestyle choice. Its hard work! But is also the fresh air, the morning dew, the view over the land you work, seeing the first sprouts break through the crust of the field. Farmers are the caretakers of the land and the architects of the rural landscape.
The transition into architecture was not difficult (except for the city life). The architect is not unlike the farmer, they too are a Renaissance men (or woman in this case), skilled in many disciplines and big picture thinking. Using creative problem solving skills, the architect can think about a design in many different ways (including ones you might not think of) in order to find the best solution. Architects are trained to manage many disciplines and many streams of ideas, problems, complex systems, and information. My education trained me in structure, ventilation, lighting, electricity, costing, etc. Not only are they trained in technical systems, but they also integrate culture, beauty, site and user specific needs into their thinking about buildings and design. All this information is then combined into one simple solution that assists the users of the building in terms of budget, energy costs, ease of use, and pleasantness of experience. That is a good architect.
When I began the undertaking of my thesis on agriculture and architecture, I had an advantage; I knew the story from both sides. I understood that a barn, house, or farm design, needed to be absolutely practical, it had to make economic sense, but I also knew how to make it energy efficient, personal, and as moving as the traditional bank barns. After the completion of my thesis I knew that working in the rural and agriculture sector is what I wanted to do. I am the agritect.
I am currently practicing architecture at my own firm VELD architect. ‘veld’ mean field in Dutch, appropriate from my heritage, and my interest in rural design.
This blog is a resource, portfolio, and exploration of the sustainable relationship of agriculture and architecture. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in working with me.