LAGI 2020 Fly Ranch Design Challenge

Photos from the studio's site visit to Fly Ranch in February 2020.

Posted by Sam Fox School March 4, 2021


Two proposals developed by students in a spring 2020 undergraduate architecture options studio taught by associate professor Linda C. Samuels were shortlisted in the top-ranked proposals for the LAGI 2020 Fly Ranch Design Challenge.

The multidisciplinary design challenge was sponsored by Seattle's Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) in partnership with the San Francisco-based arts nonprofit Burning Man Project. It sought development proposals for a 3,800-acre property located northwest of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada that is home to dozens of hot and cold springs, three geysers, acres of wetlands, hundreds of animal species, and more than 100 identified types of plants.

According to LAGI, "Teams were asked to integrate sustainable systems for energy, water, food, shelter, and waste management into works of art in the landscape. The objective is to build the foundational infrastructure for Fly Ranch, support Burning Man Project's 2030 sustainability goals, and engage a global audience to work together towards systemic transformation, and serve as an inspiration for the developing field of regenerative design."

For the studio, students conducted distance research as well as field research during a visit to the site before the pandemic hit, then engaged in an expansive design process to develop innovative, future-forward design proposals. The two Sam Fox School proposals that were shortlisted by the competition—one by Meredith Busch (BS21) and Andrew Tsuei (BS21), and the other by Chenyu Zhang (BS20)—are featured below.


WAGI: The Laws of Thermo Dining by Meredith Busch and Andrew Tsuei incorporates geothermal heat, aquaponic gardening, and wetland water filtration to contribute organic produce, farmed trout, a sauna, and bathhouse.


AXIS-ponics by Chenyu Zhang incorporates large-scale aquaponic systems and geothermal hot water to contribute significant quantities of kale, pepper, and spinach for consumption on site and exchange with the community.