Alberto Embriz de Salvatierra
Christopher Reznich

_Shift City

Located in Jamaica Bay, our project aims to catalyze the shifting nature of the indeterminate physical and abstract boundaries that exist across this artificial territory. The aim is to turn these boundaries into localized real estate strategies that enable the creation of a shifting city. Our intent is to setup a process that accounts for more mobile and dynamic systems of zoning and space-making.

The genesis of the project comes from an exploration of sediment flows and the temporal significance of dredging in the region. We used these phenomena to exemplify a new mode of city making. We examined wind flows and regional currents, in addition to discovering the lack of concrete markers for any distinct set of boundaries that make up the bay. Data sources disagree on the precise location of where land meets water. In fact, the data do not even provide definitive notions of land and water. This creates problems when translating what is usually understood as “a binary” into a gradient.

As we proceeded with this project, we generated a landform that resulted from a GPS-guided dredge operation that incorporated Stokes Law. It determined deposition rates of particles in suspension by correlating mass- and flow-rate results in a system that sorts and classifies sediment by modulating the volume, depth, and location of these dredged landforms.

About The Designer

Alberto Embriz de Salvatierra is a researcher, urbanist, designer, artist, and photographer. Multilingual and bicultural (having been raised in both Mexico and the United States), Alberto is an avid world traveler. He received his bachelor of architecture (with a minor in design and environmental analysis) from Cornell University and is currently a dual-degree candidate for a first-professional master of landscape architecture and an advanced post-professional master of design studies in urbanism, landscape and ecology at the Harvard GSD. While at Cornell, he conducted research in Nepal investigating the vernacular building practices of the Tamang people in MhanÈgang; reexamined Leon Battista Alberti's architectural magnum opus De Re Aedificatoria (synthesizing Alberti's ideals on urban planning) in Pienza, Italy; and explored concepts of utopian urbanism in Valletta, Malta. He was also a Teaching Associate for Terra Verde, a summer abroad program in Scandinavia that explored the philosophies of ecology in the context of design and architecture, and was an official photographer for the "Cornell in Rome" program. He has also conducted international service projects that include building a house for a family in need in Piedra Menuda, Nicaragua and constructing a clinic for the village of Veron in the Dominican Republic. Making use of a multiplicity of interests, Alberto has also conducted research on palliative healthcare facilities under Dr. Rana Zadeh, assisted in the development of a structural bamboo system by Professor Jack Elliott and collected writings on the architecture of structure for an upcoming book publication by Mark Cruvellier, Chair of the Architecture Department at Cornell.

Because of his work as Designer-in-Residence for Olin and Uris Libraries at Cornell University (which included the design and execution of several exhibitions like PARALLAX: Cornell Luminaries of Science Fiction and Foreign Fields: Perspectives on the Great War), he was awarded the librariesí highest honor: the William F. Fuerst í39 Outstanding Library Employee Award which cited his 1,000+ lighted origami installation Siege of Cranesóa preamble to the exhibition When the Emperor Was Divineóand his permanent installation ARTery as exemplary contributions to the art and culture of the libraries. Alberto has also been awarded multiple other scholarships and grants from which he was able to finance travel to over 20 countries in 5 years including the Cornell Alumni Association of Atlanta and the Nancy Penn Lyons Scholarships.

Alberto is the Founder & Director of Aesir Lab, an Adjunct Faculty at the Boston Architectural College's Summer Academy, a Graduate Research Assistant for the Waste-to-Energy Design Lab at the GSD; and currently enrolled in the Harvard Business School's HBX Core certificate program. He is also developing four simultaneous research projects: Vegetation as Urbanism, Planned Cities Catalog, Ecologies of Utopia, and Sacred Shrines: Spirituality, Syncretism and Space which is examining the peaceful coexistence of Hindu and Buddhist shrines in Kathmandu. In his free time, he continues to explore issues of urbanity and enjoys returning to oil and acrylic painting.