This project involved designing a way-station for nomads at the Salton Sea. The experience of driving by tall date palms spurred the idea of creating a nomadic living community embedded within a date-farm. The typical lifestyle of an American nomad involves living within their vans. Given the unusually close relationship between the nomad and their vehicle, my proposition involves exploiting this relationship one step further, and enlists the van as a “working partner.“ As such, each van occupies and harvests one row of date palms, managing the packaging and distribution of dates while also profiting directly from sales. In order for the date-farm to become an inhabitable as well as working environment, I focused on exploring the personal van as an adaptable tool for harvesting.
(Architectural Additions) By turning the row of date palms into a live-able space for the van-owner, the notion of “home” ultimately changes in nature. Home becomes a place of irrigation, of harvesting, and of machines, mixed with activities such as tending, packing, trading, as well as napping, smoking, dancing and other leisure. In order to allow the mixed-use space to reach its full potential, I designed a series of tent-like pods, inspired by the Noguchi Lanterns, which function to accommodate a variety of activities. By the simplicity of their form, these can fluidly switch from sleep lanterns, to smokehouses, to meditation tents, to laundry baskets.