Faculty portfolios

  • The Production of Ecology, collage.
    The Production of Ecology, collage.
  • The Production of Ecology, collage.
    The Production of Ecology, collage.
  • Approximating Memory, exhibition.
    Approximating Memory, exhibition.
  • Approximating Memory, axonometric.
    Approximating Memory, axonometric.
  • Growth & Removal, collage.
    Growth & Removal, collage.
  • Growth & Removal, collage.
    Growth & Removal, collage.

Micah Stanek

Lecturer

Phone: 
314.935.3642
Campus Box 1079
Biography 

MLA, Washington University in St. Louis; MArch, Washington University in St. Louis; BS in Communication—Radio/Television/Film, Northwestern University

 

Micah Stanek's itinerant landscape architecture practice in St. Louis intersects the frameworks and the tools of the artist, the designer, and the ecologist. His drawings speculate on what can be known by studying the landscape, but the drawings also make room for the unknowable. His sculptures and iPhone photos study the conditions of the legacy city, especially the disconnection of value and the living landscape. The land contains our cultural history and the ecosystem on which we depend, but land becomes reduced to real estate and perpetually reframed as opportunity for urban renewal.

Stanek also works on fallow urban land, by hand, demonstrating the validity of the extensive—cultivation with minimal expense. A process of digging and casting unearths turbulent social histories of development and demolition. The reduction of a typical maintenance regime invites ecological diversity. An adaptive, active form of landscape architecture enfranchises social possibilities and multiplies ecological interactions in the city.

Stanek began designing for film and theater at Northwestern University. He developed an interest in landscape research after working as a docent and farmhand at Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm in northern India. He has also worked with SCAPE / Landscape Architecture in New York and MU Architecture in Paris.

As a lecturer in architecture and landscape architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, Stanek teaches foundational design studios in architecture and landscape architecture. He teaches a history/theory course on the discipline of landscape architecture as well as research methods and practices. When teaching design, he focuses on visual research methods, the politics of representation, and 1:1 scale understanding of design ideas.

Image captions

The Production of Ecology, collage (1). Missouri tallgrass prairie has been shaped by fire for thousands of years. A single controlled burn per year gives natives in a prairie reconstruction a chance against invasive species.

The Production of Ecology, collage (2). Landscape architecture is positioned to deal with overlapping, interlocking ecological processes. A public space could address complexity by offering shelter to humans and non-humans alike.

Approximating Memory, exhibition. Landscape architecture, like archaeology, engages history and memory through remnants and representations.

Approximating Memory, axonometric. Stanek developed a process for gleaning disturbed earth and remnants from historically turbulent sites, casting markers to be paired with history in a pamphlet itinerary.

Growth & Removal, collage (1). The Metropolitan Sewer District removed 25 houses in a floodplain and began mowing the newly classified "open space." The drawing proposes that the mowing is reduced to the footprints of the former homes only. The rest of the site grows up into some kind of grassland, savanna, or woodland.

Growth & Removal, collage (2). Over time, fallow urban land undergoes succession, increasing in plant diversity, but with no determinate end.

A Timber Park for North St. Louis, collage. Over time, an emergent urban woodland on a highly disturbed site could be leaned toward native biodiversity and forestry management. On the site of the former Pruitt-Igoe homes in St. Louis, found materials and found ecology inspire new social and ecological amenities.

A Timber Park for North St. Louis, plan. Over time, an emergent urban woodland on a highly disturbed site could be leaned toward native biodiversity and forestry management. On the site of the former Pruitt-Igoe homes in St. Louis, found materials and found ecology inspire new social and ecological amenities.

Participatory Ecology, photo (1). Stanek marked a site of interest in a mundane lawn landscape.

Participatory Ecology, photo (2). The site Stanek marked in a mundane lawn landscape altered the (unwitting) maintenance crew's treatment of the lawn.