All posts by Kate Stuewe

SD Project Statement

Located on the Bushwich Inlet of Brooklyn, NY, the site for a proposed fire station serves as a link between an industrial sector of Greenpoint Brooklyn and residential towers now lining the East River waterfront. The existing brick warehouse meshes with the industrial aesthetic and history surrounding the site, but resists the expanding residential communities. By preserving the north and south walls of the warehouse, a visual connection is created between the industrial sector on Franklin Street and a proposed community pathway on the west end.

As the user approaches the eastern facade of the building, off Franklin Street, they are led down a linear concrete path adjoined to the existing northern brick wall. They pass by a two-story paneled glass apparatus bay door and see their community’s fire trucks standing at attention. As they continue down the pathway, program moves linearly from mechanical storage and maintenance to residential space for in-house firefighters. Although interaction with the building’s program is available through perforations in the dividing walls, the pedestrians have the option to travel straight down the pathway and out the west end of the building.

Approaching from the park on the southern border of the firestation’s site, the user follows a pathway bridging over the inlet’s rehabilitated wetland and through a perforation on the southern existing brick wall. Coming from this direction, the user is presented, not with mechanical function, but with public service program. Here, pedestrian scale of doorways encourages a welcoming atmosphere. The user can enter a public lobby and participate in public fire safety education. Dual pathways converge into one as users exit the west end, back into the park.

This system of pathways creates functional space for the firefighters and inviting space for the community.


Image from personal photos, Kate Stuewe.


To be submitted to LA+.

As urban development and residential sprawl take over wilderness environments, the wildlife that inhabited those environments gets displaced. According to the article Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes by the American Society of Landscape Architects, by the year 2050, the continued expansion of U.S. cities will consume land the size of Pennsylvania. The article goes on the say, even with the existing wilderness areas, many habitats are already too small to sustain wildlife populations. In New York City, where urbanization began hundreds of years ago, local wildlife is managing to survive and reproduce, but not without struggle. In the case of bird populations, NYC masters expectant, Rona Binay, informs that 988 million birds die each year because they are unaware of the reflective glass, that to them, looks like ample sky. Bats also should occupy the sky in a healthy urban environment. Currently there are measures taken against them, however they are a key element to the control of insect populations.

As the practice stands, architecture is designed with the human user in mind. In the hierarchy of design, human needs should remain primary, however wildlife accommodations should be a serious consideration. Humans and wildlife can coexist, even in an urban setting. We are reliant on them as pollinators, reliant on the plants they pollinate for clean air, and reliant on clean air to breathe. Beyond the physical survival needs, interaction with the natural world adds a dimension of comfort and inner peace that is noteworthy when discussing urban dwellers’ quality of life.

Specific steps should be taken in three sectors of human life: residential, public, and commercial. Within the world of urban outskirt’s residential, the typical homeowners’ practice is to level a plot of land covered in a chemically maintained lawn with some sporadic trees all fenced in from the surrounding land. This offers little to no habitat for local wildlife. Awareness through regular interaction with urban wildlife would encourage homeowners to incorporate a variety of local shrubs, low-lying nesting plants, and nectar plants into their residential landscape. Public spaces have a large impact on the surrounding environment: both humans and wildlife. Specifically in New York City, Central Park provides ample amenities for wildlife and fosters the mission of coexistence within an urban setting. Wildlife living within the park does not need to stray across major roads to reach another habitable land area. Mixed use public facilities could incorporate similar strategies; providing habitat for wildlife and beauty and function for urban dwellers. Commercial development might be the most difficult sector to persuade, being an area of development that is largely motivated by financial efficiency. To appeal to this specific area, the city zoning committee could provide bonus incentives to companies that choose to incorporate wildlife planning into their landscape and building architecture. This could include roosting or nesting alcoves on the facades of their designs, promoting safe environments for shelter and reproduction. As well as, incorporating shrubbery, low-lying plants and trees to provide additional shelter and food to local birds, insects, and mammals. Urban wildlife in New York City is not a nuisance to exterminate; it is an opportunity for intricate and responsive building and landscape architecture.



Binay, Rona —

U.S. Forest Service —

Leedy, Daniel L. —

Brenneisen, Stephan —

American Society of Landscape Architects —

Hostetler, Mark —

Featured Image — Karen Arnold


5 Theses – Kate Stuewe and Bernardo Almeida

Thesis #1: Urban wildlife is not a nuisance to exterminate; it is an opportunity for intricate and responsive design.

Binay, Rona:

U.S. Forest Service:

Leedy, Daniel L.:;view=1up;seq=11

Brenneisen, Stephan:

American Society of Landscape Architects:

Hostetler, Mark:


Thesis #2: For the sake of being economically and ecologically sound, regulations on urban produce farming need to be reconsidered.

1. American Society of Landscape Architects:

United States Department of Agriculture:

Heiselmann, Phil:

Five Borough Farm:

National League of Cities:

Howard, Brian Clark:


Thesis #3: The social discussion of urban homelessness is an area architects have the ability and even responsibility to participate.

  1. Making sense of urban theory by: Michael Dear
  2. Body, Memory, and Architecture by: KC Bloomer
  3. Toward an Architecture of Place: Moving Beyond Iconic to Extraordinary
  4. Architecture to Combat Homelessness by: Matt Shaw
  5. Levitt Bernstein’s Pop-Up HAWSE Proposal Transforms London’s Unused Garages into Temporary Housing by: David Cole
  6. Design for Homeless Shelter in San Luis Obispo Awarded by: Tim Winstanley


Thesis #4: Lack of uniqueness in architecture has been determined by modernism and the idea that everything has to follow a certain process and has to look in a certain way. 

  1. by: National Trust of Historic Preservation
  2. Sanctioning Modernism: Architecture and the making of postwar identities by: Kulic, Vladimir; Parker, Timothy. (book located in the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library).
  3. Preservation of Modern Architecture by: Theodore H.M Prudon (article)
  4. The New Paradigm in Architecture: the language of post modernism
  5. Planning through debate: the communicative turn in planning theory by: Patsy Healey×602303814821?journalCode=tpr
  6. Modernism and the posthumanist subject by: K. Michael Hays


Thesis #5: Planning is essential in the development of vital communities in order to promote sustainable economic development, clean energy and elimination of poverty.

  1. Architecture, Building and Planning
  2. Towards an autonomous, humanoid, and dynamically walking robot: Modeling, optimal trajectory planning, hardware architecture, and experiments
  3. Creative Cities and Economic Development by: Peter Hall (article found in google scholar) pdf
  4. Microorganisms and clean energy by: Timothy J. Donohue and Richard J. Cogdell
  5. The Changing Aid Architecture: Can Global Initiatives Eradicate Poverty? By: Uma Lele, Nafis Sadik, Adele Simmons.
  6. Economy and Architecture by: Julia Odgers, MHairi McVicar and Stephen Kite