Diane Davis-Sikora

Diane Davis SikoraDiane Davis-Sikora is an Associate Professor in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State University. She is a licensed architect whose research focuses on temporary membrane structures, and methods of narrative and documentary storytelling in architecture. Her short documentary on pneumatic architecture, ‘Structures of Air’, was an official selection at the 2012 VI Istanbul International Architecture and Urban Films Festival and the 2013 Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR).

Talk Title: How Does Your Garden Grow? – Pneu Explorations in Farming Textiles

Abstract: The use of textiles in architecture has gained currency in recent years. Once on the periphery of architectural design, ‘soft structures’ have secured a more centralized role with emerging research in the area of textile crafts and tectonics. Explorations in high-performance fabrics, woven systems, and fabrication technologies have enabled new opportunities for “fabric-formed environments” including more productive (ecological) uses for interior surfaces. This research project examines new models of indoor farming through an exploration of dimensional weaving techniques. Methods and outcomes in the crafting aerend testing of custom woven textile tray designs will be examined as prototypes for an alternative indoor soilless growing wall system. The proposed agricultural farm will incorporate aeroponic gardening within a modular (inflatable) fabric structure, the benefits of which include a recyclable, low-consumption irrigation system and a year-round, pesticide free, growing environment. Designed as an interim adaptive reuse strategy, these vertical farming textiles are proposed to convert large-volume, vacant spaces into productive farming environments. Analysis and discussion will include the feasibility of soft textiles as indoor farming walls and the viability of the proposed textile prototypes for short and long-term indoor applications. NASA research has led much of the technological advancement in air-supported structures in the US, and their work on farming for space travel has launched research into the coupling of inflatable architecture with enclosed farming systems. Based on these principles, this study aims to develop alternate textile designs engineered for seed germination and small crop cultivation, including micro-greens and sprouts. Components will be developed on a foundation of traditional textile structures integrated with new materials, and advanced membrane construction methods.

Diane’s talk is part of the LACMA plenary session New Directions: New Ways of Thinking chaired by Matilda McQuaid.