Plywood furniture system, 2018.
Transition Design - Rural Infrastructure, 2018
A block development design for a site in downtown Las Vegas. This project incorporates an adaptive reuse for the old Victory Hotel, a hotel from the early nineteen-hundreds, around the time of the founding of the city. This project also incorporates programming to anchor the north end of the art trail in downtown, and uses the proposed form-based code to generate block building, space, form and disposition. 2014
In this upper level interdisciplinary design studio, students envisioned a new site for an existing non profit, Tri-Cycle Farms. The students created ideas for an expanded urban farm program including a farm-to-table restaurant, a community co-working space, a community/community/interpretive center and a small housing program for visiting workers, or as a bed and breakfast. An additional, and prominent part of the program was that the entire site would project to perform to the Living Buildings Challenge.
In the LBC, projects must be net positive in water and energy. In other words, energy and water harvesting and reuse must take place on site in this project. Energy and water therefore became important physical programs on the site.
Biophilia, building a strong connection to nature for people on site, urban agriculture, local, non-toxic materials with low-embodied energy having just supply chains and sustainable transportation are all important aspects of (these) Living Building Challenge designs.
This project, with more details to come, provides a vision for the south downtown area between Las Vegas Boulevard and the downtown Arts District. We explore how to create workforce housing, mixed use development, public spaces and transportation connectivity in this area of future development between downtown and the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (cover page rendering by Sarah Jensen) 2014
A design done by a team of faculty at UNLV (Ken McCown, principal investigator on funding). In this project, we clean up a trail in a low-income neighborhood, providing identity and safety, and remove vandalized signs. 2013
In Sukkah X Detroit, our team explored means of working with plywood veneer with structures meant to be primarily wood, with some transparency, and openings on the top of the structure.
We had two entries, Etrog and Lulav (the egg/fruit and the frond). Both used a combination of Tyvek wrap and plywood veneer. The Tyvek helped with stability, and formed a bright white interior surface without glare or hot spots. Serrations along the folds allowed pinholes of light to go through.
In Etrog, we proposed a dyed structure lit from the inside with LED to extend the life of the structure into the night in downtown Detroit. Lulav had a frond roof held up by columns stitched into the Tyvek surface, letting light wash down the pleated folds on the sides.
In addition to Ken McCown, project team design members included Randal Dickinson, Max Frank, Justin Tucker, Elizabeth Willis, Matthew Wilson with special appearances by Kobee Wade.
This page shows analysis, designs and planting plants for the Thiriot Elementary School Garden for Create a Change Now. 2012
A sustainability atlas for the City of Scottsdale done by Ken McCown while he was at Arizona State University's College of Design. This report is a primer on how the city is supported by its regional infrastructure and what the critical issues are to its long-term sustainability. 2008
Moving a typical suburban condo in the Phoenix metropolitan area to a new era - how can a home be local-powered, have productive landscapes, and minimize water, transportation and energy use? This was an entry to the 'Suburbia Transformed' competition in 2009.
A vision plan for next generation infrastructure using the proposed Interstate 11 Corridor between Phoenix and Las Vegas as a case study. 2013
An honorable mention for a re-use of the airport in Quito, Ecuador. This project uses the flag as an underpinning of the design. The yellow-or land, is used as park and agricultural space. The blue, the water, is in the old runway area. The water unites the design along the length of the site. At the ends are tipped planes of water that unite the sky and ground. In the middle are three lakes that support agriculture, urban use and native habitat. The markets are 'red', symbolizing the blood of the people. The market spaces also respond to astrological signs during the months of the battle for freedom.
A community center and conference center occupies the new terminal building which is now anchored at the ends by new hotels. These hotels are a landmark defining the new northern district of the city in addition to framing a view from the main gathering space along the central lake.
This gathering space is immediately a park, converting the exising golf course and keeping the plantings and topography largely intact.
Gabriel Diaz-Montemayor, Kevin Hinders, Andy Wilcox,
Milagros Zingoni, Tyler Stradling, Samantha Sears, Ken McCown, design team. 2007
A design competition entry for the redevelopment of Moore Square in Raleigh, North Carolina. 2007
A reinterpretation of the paradise garden form to remediate pollutants in a watershed in Quebec for a garden festival. 2007
Our design for a 'flood observatory' in Tenosique - a mention in the 2010 Arquine competition.
Works from the thesis design project preparation course in the fall semester of 2014 at the UNLV Downtown Design Center.
Student works in design build and construction, a small portfolio. 2004
This project given to third/fourth year architecture students challenged them to think about design in an open-ended, emergent way. Landscape processes, site constraints, resource limits and time become critical design determinants. This project is meant to infuse ecological literacy, and set a foundation for thinking about sustainability and transition design. 2013
This project, built off of the Scottsdale Sustainable Systems Inventory, demonstrates how waste can be an opportunity to use transition design to increase community health and decrease energy use.
Students worked with an existing compost facility on a Native American reservation, Arizona State agricultural researchers, the Waste Management Corporation and Ken McCown to create a plan for minimizing landfill waste. The reused portions of the waste would generate compost to be used to grow local crops. Local crops would be placed into local schools and potentially change eating habits.
Craig Crowley, Keegan Quick, Christopher Jim and Norberto Vizcaino were the design team members - fourth year architecture and landscape architecture students at Arizona State University in the College of Design. 2007
This project given to fourth year architecture students and graduate landscape students challenged them to think about design in an open-ended, emergent way. Landscape processes, site constraints, resource limits and time become critical design determinants. This project is meant to infuse ecological literacy, and set a foundation for thinking about sustainability and transition design. 2011
This project given to fourth year architecture and landscape architecture students challenged them to think about design in an open-ended, emergent way. Landscape processes, site constraints, resource limits and time become critical design determinants. This project is meant to infuse ecological literacy, and set a foundation for thinking about sustainability and transition design. 2008
Phil Zawarus partnered with an architecture and interior design studio to work on a school housing project in rural Haiti. He was the only landscape architecture student on the project. He wanted to test digital tools to see if animations of landscape/sustainability processes could help non-landscape based professionals and laypersons see ecological processes. Would showing water, climate and solar related data dynamically change the design responses of designers, and reprioritize allocations of resources by clients?
Phil prepared dynamic visualizations through the analysis phase of a design/build project in Fond-des-blancs, and also used them in site planning and design. His work changed the direction of the architects and designers on the project. Building orientation shifted due to solar gain and water harvesting, and site design changed.
The essential part of this project that drove all decisions was water. How could we harvest water, clean it, and maximize its use? People needed to be as cool as possible to minimize their need for drinking water. Occupants needed to use water multiple times, and have that water cleaned. Phil’s inventory, analysis, plan and design shows how water leads to manifold design decisions.
Ken McCown, design thesis project advisor, 2011
This page communicates a semester of study 'outside' of the city. To give a grounding in ecological literacy and sustainable design, students are challenged to do a 'landscape observatory.' They must create a design that reveals an ecological process, and model a twenty-four hour experience that includes sleeping, eating and bathing.
By looking at painting, students become attuned to light and the beauty of moments. This opens up for them the idea that design can become background. It also heightens their perceptions, and shows them the power of position and moment that often eludes designers as a critical aspect of design.
Students then take several field trips to their sites to discover the places, and do scientific research to understand geomorphology, soils, climate and flora and fauna. After this foundation sets, student pick a process they feel defines their landscape. Then then model the process and the phenologies to see how elements work in time as well as space.
Precedents studies show students how design may be used to reveal processes. The combination of painting, scientific research, site visits, precedents studies, analysis and design modeled in scenarios of process and perception gives students a comprehensive study in ecological literacy and design. 2007
Pollution ecologies is an ongoing research project to document and describe flows of pollutants, describe their processes, capacities to remediate and map locations.
Pollutants are ecosystems in the anthropocene; numerous case studies make it easy to argue them as determinants of species selection and genetic mutation throughout trophic levels. The pollution ecologies research links to water, as it is the universal solvent that moves through all life.
In each pollutant, we not physical properties, reasons for use, point of entropy, effects upon living systems and people, life cycle as a pollutant, and modes of remediation (mechanical and biological).
This list of pollutants become an atlas and inventory to help designers and citizens become aware of the increasing presence of pollutants and means to sequester them.
Works in this portfolio feature Joel Carrasco (atrazine), Troy Hansen (selenium) and Valerie Ahyong (trichloroethylene). 2007
A preview of the Las Vegas Sustainability Atlas. 2014
This US Green Building Council's 'Emerging Talent' competition challenged entrants to examine potential scenarios for the Eagle Mountain Mine in southern California by Joshua Tree National Park. This mine assisted provided ore to support the building of the Pacific Fleet in World War II. As it stands now, the town adjacent to the enormous mine sits empty and closed to the public. The tailings pile pollutes the air and water, and the massive hole on the site is empty. 2006