Gandong Cai, January 2016

GSD studio work

Advisors: Pierre Belanger, Robert Pietrusko

Professional Practice

Collaboration work of 12 people


This was a studio treated political power as the issue of ecology, and juxtaposed military and power with the environmental topic in the scale of territories. If I am asked to recommend one studio that can represent the landscape professional education in the building, I will definitely choose this one.


Students were separated into groups to study different US military bases, and every group was required to demonstrate their works in an exhibition way during the final presentation. I was allocated to the group studies VAFB -- the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Used to be the home of Chumash, this piece of land was colonized and occupied by the Spanish, the Mexican and the US army chronologically. The falling down of underground water level, the prosperous fruit industry, the cows brought by the Spanish centuries ago, all together made it a complex ecological crisis on the territory. To study the relationship of these powers and to project new scenario for the region by design approaches became the main goal of this studio.


There were two parts of the works: narration and intervention. I made several collage pictures as my narrative storyboard to reveal the paradoxical relationship between those stakeholders, and designed intervention infrastructure such as check dam and seeding machine to improve the ecological process of the territory.


In the concept of "Exhibition as Design", we projected the months-long discussions of global scale issues in the framework of military bases, to the comparatively tiny space of Piper Auditorium, for allowing a further communication of the ecology of power.



​指导老师:Pierre Belanger, Robert Pietrusko




几十号人的一个班被分成若干个大组,每个组研究一个美国军事基地,每个小组内又分成三到四人的小组专门针对一个话题进行更细致的研究,最后所有成果以多样的形式展示,把期末评图办成一场大型展览,这就是这个studio的玩法。我所在的大组研究的是位于加州Lompoc的范登堡空军基地。这里原来是土著Chumash的居住地,西班牙殖民者,墨西哥军队,以及后来的美军的到来让他们失去了家园;而Lompoc这座小城镇所处的地区长年缺水,地下水位每年下降,该地区全美产量第一的草莓竟是罪魁祸首;西班牙人带来的牛曾一度在这片土地上繁盛,而如今却成为了这里生态危机的重要关系者,并影响到了美军基地……这些像悬疑剧的情节就是这个studio我主要研究的内容,也回应了The ecology of power的主题:生态学是关于关系的学科,而社会、政治、军事、经济的力量从来都存在于关系之中。


最后的展览在Pierre“Exhibition as Design”的概念下,每个大组自主布置展区,把策展本身理解成本次设计的一部分,使出浑身解数让一场历时多月,以军事基地为契机开展的全球生态讨论,投射到GSD的阶梯课室Piper里。