The Monochrome No-image

Harvard Graduate School of Design, Option Studio with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Spring 2019


The earth is no longer the background of human action. Now, more than ever, we can only speak of space in relation to the mobile, spontaneous and less than predictable landscape that is participating fully in our lives. As case in point, a 10,000-year-old barrier island formation names Captiva, Florida was the focus of this research studio, helping to bring together otherwise disparate phenomena that settle upon it but have thus far been considered independent: the reprise of hurricanes, the mobility of sand, the impressions of concrete foundations and the salty, algal permanence of seawater. Because the varying patterns of human settlement across Captiva Island do little to trace the dynamics of its physical morphology, this studio engaged with varying phenomena in order to land the challenges of climate disintegration that rupture everyday lives.

No one property can 'tackle' the issues any longer; the risks no longer adhere to insurance claims, planning boundaries or the imaginary of the sunshine state. Responding to these challenges is the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, an organization committed to fostering the legacy of Rauschenberg's life, work, and philosophy; embodying the same fearlessness, and multidisciplinary approaches that Rauschenberg exemplified in both his art and philanthropic endeavors. Students worked directly with the foundation and Rauschenberg's studio and home on Captiva, refining what it means to design between intensifying global forces and community-wide awareness.


Guest lectures and workshops from:

Peter Del Tredici, Urban Ecologist, Arnold Arboretum, MIT

Joanna Lombard, Abbess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy, Miami

Anna L. Tsing, Anthropologist, UC Santa Cruz

Etienne Turpin, Research Director, UserGroup, Berlin

Claire Weisz, Principal WXY Architects, NYC

Jenny Evans, Plant Ecologist and Nursery Director, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation

Chad Husby, Research Director, Tropical Plants, Fairchild Botanical Garden

Chad Washburn, Vice President of Conservation, Naples Botanical Garden

Regional Consultants:

Amy Clement, Professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami

Andrea Dutton, Assistant Professor, Geology, University of Florida

Matt Hauer, Assistant Professor of Demography, Florida State University

Antonio Nanni, P.E., Professor & Chair, Civil, Arch. & Environ, Engineering, University of Miami

Tiffany Troxler, Professor, Environmental Research Center, Florida International University

Thomas Ruppert, Attorney, Coastal Planning Specialist, Florida Sea Grant College, University of Florida


Student work by Melissa Green


Student work by Jenjira Holmes and Phia Sennett


Student work by Nicolas Delgado


Student work by Naoko Asano Pennell

0502_long section
Drawing Layout

Student work by Hannah Ruth Lyons-Galante


Student work by Naoko Asano Pennell, Anna Curtis-Heald, Jenjira Holmes, and Phia Sennett

Pipe Zoom-01-01
Rake Zoom-01
Root tip-01