Daisy Ames of Studio Ames: Hidden Lines of Housing

One of six installations for the digital exhibition by winners of the 2023 League Prize.

The themes of the three compositions are waste, water, and energy—aspects of living that are often hidden in the walls, run between the floors, or sourced and stored offsite. In our housing projects, we have designed strategies that support the sourcing, storing, and distribution of each element at the building scale. We propose that by reviving historical processes and combining them with emerging technologies there is an opportunity to alleviate environmental impacts at the neighborhood scale. 

We bring these aspects to light through the policies that govern them and incorporate alternative approaches into their operation. While the proposed Green New Deal (H. RES. 109) acknowledges waste, water, and energy as areas to address within the building sector, there are few clues as to what those efforts might look like. In the compositions, the three elements are linked to the policies that need to be revived, modified, or invented. For example, H.R. 2703 is a proposal to amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to ensure the use of 100 percent renewable energy in federal buildings by 2050. Our housing projects respond to this bill by designing renewable energy infrastructure that works with this ambition and integrates it into the shared living spaces.

The three compositions deploy techniques of trompe l’oeil. The materially rich nature of trompe l’oeil paintings accentuate three-dimensional qualities by emphasizing light and shadow to create a sense of special depth. Trompe l’oeil allows a visual confrontation of the elements that are typically buried in the practice of architecture, and allows them to break the frame, becoming more evident in the compositions as they are urgent in reality.

Triptych: Hidden Lines of Housing shows the three compositions that communicate three of the five points of domesticity in our housing project.

Hidden Lines of Housing: Waste represents the past, present and future methods and policies of waste sourcing, management, and storage in New York City.

Hidden Lines of Housing: Energy represents the past, present and future methods and policies of energy sourcing, management, and storage management in New York City.

Hidden Lines of Housing: Water represents the past, present, and future methods and policies of water sourcing, management, and storage in New York City.

Project credits

Project team Daisy Ames, Sarah Rutland, and Jasper Townsend
Image credits Daisy Ames / Studio Ames