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HOPTOPIA

COLUMBIA GSAPP   |   CRITIC: CAITLIN TAYLOR   |   SPRING 2018

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Beer and hop production has been an important economic support to the New York state for the last century. Due to political license motivations, farm breweries are in the rise. Yet hop production is far behind in meeting the local hop demand. To create an ecologically and socially sustainable landscape, this project explores catalyst sites to encourage hop cultivation and beer production as a social establishment in communities.

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HETEROGENEITY ACROSS THE HUDSON VALLEY

The vast ecological and economic conditions across the Hudson Valley shape the differential growth of breweries and hop farms. Urban versus rural conditions create contrasting scales and concentrations of industries, such as the distribution network in Newburgh. 

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LEARN FROM THE PAST | PROJECT INTO THE FUTURE

New York state used to have the largest hop production in the US until downey mildew wiped out the entire industry in the 1990s. While recent policy encourages the growth of breweries, agricultural communities are still struggling to meet the demand for hops. It is essential to ensure biodiversity within the hop industry to secure stable production.

GLOBAL DIVERSITY

With a significant economic impact, the beer industry in the New York state is an important yet fragile sector. . The Hudson Valley lies within the optimal hop growing zone, it serves as a potential site for large-scale hop cultivation. The expansion of hop production in the region will add diversity to the current limited catalogue.

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LOCALITY OF WATER | CATALYTIC NETWORK

Water determines beer flavor, the specific composition of water in different regions can potentially develop unique beer recipes that are highly localized. 3 sites in the most diverse water compositions are selected. To establish a specific and diverse hop cultivation industry across the Hudson Valley, catalytic sites are designed to take advantage of their latent properties and thriving industries. For instance, the Newburgh city’s sophisticated distribution network serves the New York City by supplying local state hops.

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FROM SKI TO HOP  |  SEASONAL TRANSFORMATION

The rural model involves the transformation of ski chairlifts into hop trellis in summer. Hop cultivation taking over the ski resort takes advantage of the education opportunity in leisure resorts. The similarity in labor and infrastructure benefits the seasonal ski and hop industries by making use under-utilized resources. 

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3 sites 3 strategies

Newburgh | Troy | Greene

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COALESCING FORCES

The Newburgh site takes the form of a co-operative that provides equipment rental as well as workshop spaces for starting farmers and brewers to design innovative alternative tools. Shared machinery, labor and storage reduces barriers to entry for beginning farmers and makes land a more liquid asset by eliminating the artificial geographic constraint set by slow-moving implements.

A PLACE FOR THE COMMUNITY

Despite the hop and brewing co-op spaces, the site serves the community by integrating social programs into related industrial processes. Looking closely to the different conditions each process requires, communal programs are designed to make use of the specific atmospheres (e.g. temperature and humidity). For instance, hop drying silos are transformed into hot yoga spaces during off-seasons. Social programs becomes part of the industrial infrastructure and increases public understanding of the industries. 

Greene

Troy

Newburgh

CURATING WILDERNESS

Resort development and infrastructure has been devastating ecological consequences in history. With ski tracks remaining idle in the summer, is there a more sustainable development model for the ski resorts? A new type of hybrid resort seeks to initiate a collaboration between skiing and hop cultivation. Taking the existing tourist hub as a ski resort, the project extends the infrastructural values within the existing ski facilities to expand the agricultural hop industry.