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Leif Estrada
Matthew Gindlesperger

Islands in the Mud I

Islands in the Mud explores urbanism through the lens of temperature fluxes, airflow, and elevation differentials. Using the phenomenon of fog as an entry point, a systemic logic is developed to manipulate both a ground plane and building form for the production of the ethereal mist. These manipulations harness existing hydrological processes through topographical manipulations for the most ecologically performative outcome.

By increasing the sectional diversity of urban life, an increase in temperature differentials and microclimates are produced; this approach leads way to a gradient of moisture and subsequent nutrient presence in soils, promoting greater biodiversity. Through these tactics the presence of fog can be used as a sentinel of this ecologically rich condition, indicating the performance of the urban hydrological network through gradients of visibility.

About The Designer

Leif Estrada is a dual-degree candidate for an advanced post-professional M.Des degree concentrating on urbanism, landscape and ecology (M.Des-ULE '16), and a masters of landscape architecture (M.L.A.I AP '16) degree at the Harvard GSD. He received his bachelor of architecture (B.Arch '12) degree from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, with high distinction and the AIA Henry Adams Medal. His academic project, Peel27, was the sole student project to receive the Citation Award for the Unbuilt Category at the 2012 AIASF Design Awards. Internationally, he collaborated with Princeton University architecture students in Athens, an artist residency at the Récollets in Paris, a design volunteer through Architecture for Humanity in Haiti, and an international design competition at the Venice Architectural Association through the IUAV. The winning design was later exhibited at the 2012 “Common Ground” exhibition at the Venice Biennale. He serves as an international student ambassador for the VAA. Pedagogically, he taught as a Teaching Fellow at the Boston Architectural College's 2014 Summer Academy program, and has served as TA at Harvard University and California College of the Arts. He is currently a researcher working with Bradley Cantrell's Cyborg's Lab through the Harvard GSD's Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab (REAL) on digital sensing and visualization, as well as with the Urban Theory Lab, led by Neil Brenner. His interests in utilizing cartographic representation and visualization in the development of theoretical frameworks has awarded him an Honorable Mention at the 2014 National Geographic Award in Mapping administered by the Cartography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers, followed by the Howard Fisher Prize in Geographic Information Science awarded by the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University during his first year.

Matthew Gindlesperger is an architectural, landscape, and experience designer. He is currently pursuing graduate studies in landscape architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (M.L.A. I AP ‘16). He received his bachelor of architecture from Pennsylvania State University (B.Arch ‘10).

Matthew has collaborated on numerous projects of varied scales with James Wines and SITE (Sculpture in the Environment). His recent completed constructions include the Denny's Flagship (Las Vegas), which boasts a sculptural building envelope, custom-fabricated by world-renowned metal fabricators, Zahner, and multiple iterations of Shake Shack (Las Vegas, Jeddah, Dubai, Brooklyn, Istanbul). Matthew has exhibited his work with James Wines and SITE at the City College of New York's "A Line Around an Idea" exhibition in 2013.

Matthew's work with SITE has been featured in Interior Design Magazine, The Huffington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Eater.

Matthew has collaborated with New York City marketing expert, the Michael Alan Group, on several experiential designs; he also provided design services redesigning their existing office space. Additionally, Matthew has worked with RTKL's Planning and Urban Design Studio in Washington DC, assisting in the development of new urban centers throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa.