NY Mirror


New Yorkers have been living under a terrorist alert for the past two years. This project redefines the home as “refuge,” both as a place of living and retreat, and as a self-sufficient unit containing enough water and food to sustain a person for one year on 2,500 calories per day. A Mediterranean diet is chosen for its simplicity and the numerous variations the few ingredients provide. A potted herb garden is grown for fragrant recipes and a fragrant home.

The food packaging has aesthetic and structural properties. Pasta boxes may be stacked much like bricks, to maximize stability. MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) shelves give extra functionality and strength. The “water bed” is a futon with a platform made out of water containers and fluorescent lights to make it glow. As time passes, and the food and water supply is depleted, new configurations are generated. At the end of one year, the resident (who is no longer eating Indian takeout at this point) may donate all remaining food to a soup kitchen, throw out the shelves and boards, and move his/her possessions to a new studio and explore the functional, nutritional, and aesthetic qualities of Chinese cuisine.

  • 80 two-and-a-half gallon water containers, $295.20


  • 80 boxes Barilla spaghetti, $94.40


  • 270 boxes Barilla castellane, $510.30


  • 150 cans Sclafani crushed tomatoes, $177


  • 70 cans of tuna of choice, $160.30


  • 70 cans of salmon, $132



  • Two fluorescent tube lights to place behind water containers under bed,, $39.94



  • Four cans red spray paint for file cabinets,, $10.28



  • Birch plywood tabletop to flip down over bed, half-inch 4 x 8 feet $57


  • Four half-inch 4 x 8-feet MDF boards, $96


  • MDF boards and plywood can be cut to size and delivered for $45All from Metropolitan Lumber, 175 Spring Street


  • Twin futon, Joe’s Futon, 313 Sixth Avenue, $49


  • Wool-and-cotton sage rug, Crate and Barrel, $135


  • Two cotton floor cushions, Crate and Barrel, $119.98


  • Four clamp lamps, at most hardware stores, $39.96


  • Four extension cords to run lamps to outlets, $19.96


  • Hardware, including wire tacks to secure lamp cords to wall and ceiling, L brackets to mount shelves under windows, and three hinges to make tabletop flip over bed, $22


  • 10 potted herbs from farmers market, $25


  • Six hours for handyman’s time (if resident needs help) $15 an hour ($90)


Total: $2,418.58

Approximately $80 left for pots, duct tape, and candles.