Elevation Station Preview: Team TACKarchitects/Grey Plume

May 7th, 2012 : : : :

We began our Station with the idea of making representational connections between transportation and physical form, while serving the event’s function of seating 20 people. Craft, tectonic expression, sustainability, and sense of place or LOCI are paramount to our practice. We wanted to infuse these concepts along with our chef partner Clayton’s ideas of culinary art within our design. During our initial brainstorming session with Clayton, executive chef and owner of the Grey Plume, ideas related to memory experiences and emotional connections with food really started to take hold.

Our design direction coming out of these exploratory sessions resulted in the premise that by manipulating organic and bucolic materials in non-typical ways, a spatial and culinary experience could be created to strike a phenomenological connection with the visitor.

Visitors to our Station will have the chance to forage for their food over several courses.  The first course will allow guests to cut their own greens and add pickled vegetables, creating individual lettuce salads.  For the second course we are employing “preserved skewers”, cured sausage with heirloom vegetables, hung from above.  Lastly, the third course will consist of dehydrated meringues that guests can “harvest” themselves, also hung from above.

We are “Wrapping” our culinary experience with meaningful architecture to reinforce the notion of  memory experience and emotional connection. Using simple wooden pallets, ice blocks, hay bales, burlap, and recycled lumber, our Station will challenge the visitor’s typical understanding of these materials while facilitating the act of food presentation for the event.  Each of these materials will play to our senses through light, color, smell, touch…and eventually taste!

Over the past few weeks we began to collect materials for our Station. Our intent is that everything used to construct our Station is recycled, and will be recycled upon the conclusion of the event.  We are fortunate to have our offices located within the Mastercraft building in downtown Omaha. The building’s owner, Bob Grinnell, is allowing us to use an empty work bay to construct a full scale mock-up of our Station, so we can work the design kinks out ahead of the event.  Bob’s wife, Danna, also happens to have a supply of hay bales through her business www.ridonkulousacres.com (shameless plug), where she raises miniature donkeys on their farm. Danna is allowing us to “borrow” the hay for our booth, as long as we return it back to her donkeys afterwards. The TACKarchitects team spent most of last Wednesday transporting hay bales from Bob and Danna’s ranch near Fort Calhoun.

Lessons learned so far: Hay bales suck. 

 Team Members:  

Jeff Dolezal, AIA LEED AP (TACKarchitects)

Rebecca Harding, AIA LEED AP (TACKarchitects)

Chris Houston, AIA LEED AP (TACKarchitects)

Ryan Henrickson, (TACKarchitects)

Clayton Chapman, (Grey Plume)







‘Google Map’ by Erica Rowe and Bryan Mohr

May 7th, 2012 : : : :

‘Google Map’ by Erica Rowe and Byran Mohr is a reminder of the domination of technology in our mobility. Using the familiar icons of Google Maps overlaid with a simplified depiction of the Omaha Riverfront Trail, they created their banner as an illustration of the increasing merging of transportation and technology.

Erica and Bryan began their explorations for this project by considering how long it had been since either used a printed map to find their way. How outmoded is travel that involves buying a map, asking a stranger for directions, or even just trekking on until discovering the destination and many unexpected discoveries along the way. We now rely on little arrows on a screen to direct our way from A to B, with accuracy and dependability, and perhaps even a shifted perception of space, time, and a visual connection to our mobility based on digital representation.

The artists believe Google is, and will continue to be, one of the leading forces in the information transportation revolution–turning our world into a more technologically accessible and interpretive landscape. They point out that it is Google who has driven every inch of the country to bring us ‘street view’ of our very own homes and driveways.

Both Bryan and Erica work at Bozell, an advertising and marketing agency that has been in Omaha for more than 80 years. Bryan is a copywriter, Erica is an art director. Both have Google Maps on their iPhone, and use them daily.


Elevation Station Preview: Team bifurcATE

May 2nd, 2012 : : : :

The Eisenhower Interstate System, a collection of nearly 50,000 miles of infrastructural roadwork, forever changed the surface of the land we call home. The ability to transport goods and people within a networked system is unprecedented, allowing relatively free movement and incredible flexibility. In the words of President Eisenhower, the interstate system creates a “ceaseless flow of information throughout the Republic” uniting communities and markets for the betterment of this country. Interstate 80, the second longest route in the interstate system stretching nearly 2,900 miles from coast to coast, serves as an ideal backdrop to a dinner event discussing the topics of food and transportation.

While it can be argued that this system created multiple beneficial conditions for economy and transportation, the context in which we live is vastly different from the time in which it was built. Small towns bypassed, neighborhoods divided, and increased noise and air pollution are among the list of side effects from carving an arterial route of high-speed traffic through a collection of existing urban fabrics. Increases in the costs of transportation, numbers of vehicles, and resultant air pollution have begged us to re-conceive the ways in which we might make a new future which may not be as dependent on fossil-fueled, individualized transportation systems.

Bifurcation, a device of separation and a tool of transportation system design, will be appropriated to create a means for grafting a connection and conversation regarding these paramount issues. For the design of this elevATE dinner station, Omaha architects Brian and Andrea Kelly are creating a multi-layered condition that will simultaneously facilitate the preparation and serving of a meal and the interaction of its participants. Using interstate construction vernacular, they have designed a prep and serving table containing custom-fabricated food vessels within it that presents a separable surface as well as a separation of space. It is over this surface and in this space where the combination of culinary deconstruction and reconstruction will occur.

When fully assembled at the beginning of the course, the table and food will be read not as a series of individual servings, but rather a continuous “food condition” existing within a bifurcated space. This is where the interaction of the diners happens, encouraging them to pick up a take-away plate while at the same time deconstructing the table surface. Once the course is commenced, the original serving surface breaks down as a series of parts in the hands of the guests who begin to reconstruct the experience through conversations at various gathering points in the space as laid out in an abstracted map of the Omaha metro area. At the same time, Chef Bobby Mekiney, executive chef of M’s Pub and Vivace, begins to reconstruct the table surface and assembles the portions for the next course right before their eyes – a performance that will leave them talking.

The meal itself is a celebration of the multiple overlaps between the culinary and design arts and maintains the deconstructed theme of this elevATE station from start to finish. Chef Bobby will create an experience that heightens certain tastes and textures through food combinations in a 35 step process deconstructing gazpacho while using the best parts of summer’s bounty – from plant to flower to vegetable. “It will be unrecognizable…but will be exactly what one would expect” of this all-vegetable soup, says Bobby. Unfamiliar to the eye, familiar to the tongue, and it goes great with beer!

The above image of the gazpacho is a representational mockup only – the final product will look much different, and even more awesome!  Chef Bobby is doing a test run and documenting the 35 step process of the gazpacho today.  Look for something in the Emerging Terrain blog later this week to learn more about this impressive culinary sequence.

Team bifurcATE:
Brian Kelly, RA, NCARB
Andrea Kelly, RA, NCARB
Bobby Mekiney, Executive Chef, M’s Pub and Vivace

‘Around the Bend (This Exit)’ by Bob Trempe

May 1st, 2012 : : : :

‘Around the Bend (This Exit)’ employs statistical information as an organizational strategy towards a transformative image, a composition that morphs from an iconic image of the Omaha city skyline to over 10,000 icons depicting transportation usage in Omaha. From a distance, eastbound drivers on I-80 will see a hazy depiction of the Omaha skyline, a precursor, billboard, or advertisement for their exit onto I-480 North towards downtown Omaha. In closing the gap between image and viewer, the iconographic image of skyline decomposes into the 10,000 representative icons of transportation, with the percentage of each icon type relational to its employment by the people of Omaha. Upon reaching the base, inquisitive drivers and users of the park system will see individual icons ranging in size from one to six inches that represent:

76.7% of Omaha drives alone as a daily mode of transportation

10.5% of Omaha carpools on a daily basis

7.7% of those visiting and returning to Omaha do so by airplane

2.2% of Omaha walk to destinations on a daily basis

1.8% of Omaha employs public transporation as a primary method of transport

0.7% of the people in Omaha use their bikes as a daily method of transportation

Less than 1% of the people in Omaha use rail as a method of travel

Bob Trempe is a professor of architecture and designer focusing on new methods of information visualization and instructional construction,  investigating how resultant emergent information can serve as instruction for architectural production. Thought of as the study of process itself, Bob’s works are typically articulated through the deployment of repetitious systems, exploiting time-based qualities to notate, visualize, and analyze changes-in-state. Time always plays a critical role in these explorations of natural, man-made, and seemingly intangible phenomena as time is the living, breathing dimension of architecture. Toolsets and experimental methodologies of practice are exploited in his work based on the relationships of tool and task. Outputs via planar fabrication, vector-based narrations, and composite imagery are employed as part of the experimentation of process in pipeline.

Examples of his works can be seen through his office Dis-section Architecture and Media Design ( DAMD at www.dis-section.com ) including a winter skating shelter in Winnipeg, Manitoba and furniture design system for Foundation CLU. Bob Trempe’s investigate works have been shown nationally and internationally at venues such as the ACM/SIGGRAPH Art Galleries in San Diego CA and New Orleans LA as well as exhibits such as DrawingOut2010 in Melbourne, Australia and ACADIA.

Bob Trempe is currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. He is also the designer of the banner called ‘Hourglass’ currently on the grain elevator, and made his first trip to Omaha for the Harvest Dinner hosted at the base of the elevator to celebrate the first installation. He is now addicted to Omaha and visits frequently, always by airplane.




Final Flight of Elevate Tickets

April 29th, 2012 : : : :

food CARt : food in motion, reinventing the street food experience, by Localmotive, Contrivium and Exis

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who has purchased a ticket for Elevate on June 3.  This undertaking has been like none other, an epic logistical challenge of a location on a bridge and involving so many diverse collaborators. It has also been a process full of surprises, one of the greatest being how fast tickets have sold. The release of tickets in flights has served a couple purposes. First, to create more opportunities for people to hear about them and have multiple opportunities to acquire them.  The 10% increase in price between flights allows us to cover our costs of this undertaking, which actually extends far beyond just the afternoon of June 3. 100% of the ticket sales makes the design and construction of these structures possible, in addition to the food they will serve on June 3.  After June 3, as determined by each team, their structures will go on to inhabit other parts of the city. We hope the structures find strategic permanent homes, or discover such a positive impact on neighborhoods and places in between, that they might spur new kinds of innovative businesses, site specific events, and become a part of civic life here in Omaha.

We are going to release a final flight of tickets for sale this week at $150 each, in small batches of 10 each day at noon, right here on our blog. We hope this extended schedule makes it possible for everyone out there really hoping to attend (and make possible) this one-of-a-kind experience.  Only 34 days left until Elevate!