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Yale School of Architecture

Steven Harris & Gavin Hogben

Spring 2018

H.I. Feldman Prize Nominee

This project is interested in two narratives: one; of a sustainable infrastructure that balances specificity and prototypical with flexibility and opportunity for a variety of formal solutions, and the other; of a localist economy in which living and working belong to the same space and the unit of a family might look traditional, non hierarchical, or even temporary. 


The Desert Cooperative is a self sustaining, steel, PV solar paneled roof that sites itself in the farm fields of the Inland Empire to conceive of and support a cooperative community. These sites, as drawn, are especially effective in areas in which machine farming has difficulty accessing, and allow for fields of smaller scale, greater variety, and public accessibility. The potential effects for any initial site is for other Desert Cooperatives, or whole communities, to establish themselves nearby to share resources of materials, labor, and enclosures. 


In this design, only the roof structure is fixed. The enclosures below are chosen by the inhabitants of each cooperative and, although given several standard modules to begin with, the variations are endless. The plans represent three potential compositions; each with different family forms in mind and with resources that the others might draw upon. Considering the domestic life proposed by living and working in the desert, the enclosures are divided into two main categories; fully enclosed modules and partially enclosed modules. The fully enclosed modules are meant for the most private activities, sleeping and bathing, along with labor related activities, storage and machinery. The partially enclosed modules are those for community activities, eating and leisure, and are meant to be selected and composed around each other. 


The Desert Cooperative proposes a world in which a house can sustain multiple forms of family, the site at which it locates itself, the supporting infrastructure, and a life beyond its initial narrative. 

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