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When Architecture and Food Science Meet

Rutenberg’s students were to use “food as an analogy for architecture” and analyze food through these social, cultural, and formal lenses. The assignments included designing two building: the first was an area open to the public that invited them to experience what was happening on the farm and greenhouses. The second was an addition to the first and required an educational component including dining, laboratory, and exhibition space.

Students were challenged to take what they gained from analyzing food culture and make it spatial. As second year students, Rutenberg explains that they are “still learning fundamental architectural concepts and “grappling with how to represent their ideas visually.” Like food science, “design is an ever-evolving process” and Rutenberg explains food science to his students in the introduction of the first assignment as “As a discipline it does not distinguish between taste as a purely sensory phenomenon and as a pleasurable experience. Instead, it is both a chemical, biological, and evolutionary pragmatic response and also one entangled with historical, cultural meaning based on wants, rather than needs, over time.”

The first assignment in this project required the students to choose a food product and deconstruct the receipe. Students chose from a variety of different products such as french fries, kombucha, and nachos.

(image 1 by Alice Irizarry; image 2 by Logan Guidera)

During the second part of the project, students begin to present their ideas in more of a spatial concept. At this point, they have already been able to tour Dr. John Munafo’s food science labs and research greenhouses and start to incorporate the sensory experience of eating with the architecture of future research and experiment facilities.


(image 1 by Kari Beth Propes; image 2 by Joanna Martin)

By the third part of the project the students were incorporating all that they had analyzed and were finding ways to reflect cultural aspects into their work.



We would like to thank Dr. Micah Rutenberg and the students of Architecture 272 Spring 2019 course! We look forward to the future collobration and learning opportunities.

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