Swarming the Susquehanna


Swarming the Susquehanna

This installation represents the uneasy relationship between nature and community through a field condition of floodplain homes on display on Cornell’s Agriculture Quad. Visualizing the swarm of development that often occurs after construction of flood control infrastructure, these houses represent the existing neighborhoods along the Susquehanna River impacted by major floods in 2006 and 2011. A series of small houses made from mushroom mycelium and natural fibers degrade when exposed to weather conditions over the seasons to demonstrate the changing ecological and cultural impacts climate change is having on neighborhoods across the country. The project reveals the tension between the home as a place of security and the uncertainty associated with living in a flood risk area in a climate-changed era.

Jennifer Birkeland (US)/Jamie Vanucchi (US)

Jennifer Birkeland is currently an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University. She is a licensed landscape architect in the state of New York and a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Her research strives to disintegrate the subject-object relationship conventionally established between Landscape + Building.

Jamie Vanucchi is an assistant professor in the department of Landscape Architecture at Cornell. Jamie is trained in design and ecology, and she’s been experimenting with ways to understand the floodplain as a landscape of disturbance, uncertainty, and risk. She is interested in how communities and agencies manage flood risk along the Susquehanna River, including buyouts, in times of increasing threat due to climate change.

See all Biennial Projects