Category: Utopia Portfolio

The Creative Network

My ideal family would be made up of young creative people who actively choose to live collectively, productively (in the sense that we would be producing things for the sake of it), and sustainably. The utopian impulse driving this community forward would be choice, considering that so many young people are subject to the will of those around them more so than their own free will. This space’s existence would be a manifesto in favor of agency for the young queer artist – providing us all with continual inspiration. Art in my house would be defined any sort of intentional (or even unintentional) production whether that is dance, painting, writing or any other genre is up to the producer themselves. Collaboration would be encouraged, but only through the form and structure of the space – the aim is to create a safe place where young people are able to be uninhibited in whatever way they choose. All members of the space would be equal and therefore have equal say in day-to-day affairs, this also plays into the central tenant of choice because of one’s ability to feel as though their opinion and voice matter drives forward the ability to make independent and intelligent decisions.

What are you interested in exploring through your stay at The Creative Network?

What fields of artistic production interest you?

How and why did you become interested in living sustainably?

Are you willing to commit to the local and vegan diets which are required of all housemates?

Who are your favorite creatives and why (limit 3)?

What spaces do you think you will use most in the house? Why?

How much has context influenced your interest in The Creative Network? How and why does living in a rural setting inspire you? If you haven’t lived in the woods before why do you think it will benefit you and your work?

Basement, March 2018. Design and Photography by Nia Mbaye.

Basement – Theater, March 2018. Design and Photography by Nia Mbaye.

Ground Floor, March 2018. Design and Photography by Nia Mbaye.

Second Floor, March 2018. Design and Photography by Nia Mbaye.

Third Floor, March 2018. Design and Photography by Nia Mbaye.

Outdoor space, March 2018. Design and Photography by Nia Mbaye.

My house is built on the idea of producing a sustainable and creative network. Space is, for the most part, communal and centered around making members of the collective feel as though they are exposed to the environment. Each member has a private bedroom, however, they can share if they come to an agreement to do so with another member. This is because having a private space to make your own in whatever way you choose is good for emotional stability and prevents feelings of overcrowding or irritation. The house would be divided into three floors and a basement, the top floor is for bedrooms and bathrooms. This would create a sense of distance between artists and their work – keeping them from feeling constantly suffocated by obligations to production. The basement would be devoted to the darkroom and soundproof recording studio (for both audio and visuals) because both spaces are necessarily dark and the rest of the house would be bathed in light. The first floor would be a general living area with a massive couch and benches, an open concept kitchen, and a long wooden table. This space would allow for everyone to cook, eat, and socialize at once to building a sense of community and emotional connection, through an inconspicuous door there would be a fully equipped theater for performances which is also located in the basement. The second floor would be comprised of all creative workspaces including a library, dance studios, and a drawing and painting room in order to facilitate production. Outdoor living space will be shaped by sustainability and food independence.

Nature Dome


My utopian home tries to reintroduce nature to those who live in a large city. Although cities provide economic opportunities, they alienate the public from natural spaces. My home will house individuals who live and help maintain the land for the public. It will contain the lost vegetation of the environment before industrialization and deforestation. The goal is to bring back a portion of the old natural environment, which has been lost within the modern city. There will be no payment or membership to utilize the space, similar to a public park. The space will create a community of people who will tend to the land. The home is not meant to be private and exclusive, but a place that can incorporate the necessities of living and contribution to the public. Those who decide to live here will have a backyard of the native landscape with the possibilities of the city. Members would begin with the plain plot of land and reforest the area until it returned to a similar ecosystem of the past. The home would become a project for the city that would take time to achieve full growth and space maximization. The community is centered around a natural responsibility by creating a public space that revives destroyed land.

Exterior, Image by Lourdes Garcia

Floor Plan, Image by Lourdes Garcia

City Map, Image by Lourdes Garcia

Rationale of Form/Structure:

The homes circle the park in order for residents to have access to the city and the ability to maintain the land. Houses are supposed to be small and avoid luxury. The land will have 16 seperate homes surrounding the land with individual houses that hold two people maximum providing basic living utilities. The family is not those who necessarily live within the same walls but those who share the interest in the cultivation of the land. The process of reforestation and a dedication to a public space will connect these people into a new idea of the family. The structure is in the shape of a dome, so that residents will be surrounded by nature. These homes will be placed within the terrain, surrounding the transparent houses. The dome will be made of glass with an interior curtain for desired privacy, with a skylight on top. Solar panels will bring power to houses to promote eco friendly practices. The natural space becomes the home within a larger city in order to bring individuals back in touch with nature but understand the economic benefits of a city. Ultimately the homes becomes the basic need for living surrounded by a natural environment that is shared by the public.  


Why is nature important to you?



What do you find valuable in a public space?



Could you dedicate a small amount of time per week in order to help cultivate and maintain the land?



Would you be willing to learn about your ecosystem?


La Casa Móvil

Exterior sketch, 2018. Image by Josephine Cotton.



This family is housed not on land, but on the sea. What is the crux that keeps the modern family from reaching its full potential for happiness and a good education? Being stagnant. One of the greatest bonds between those in a family is the mutual understanding that all things are impermanent, and the world changes daily—just as people do. The glue that holds this family together is a passion for a nomadic lifestyle, and their house is on the ocean. Families spend thousands of dollars year by year creating a nest for themselves, endlessly needing to change the environment within it to be happy. The simple solution is to make a home that itself moves from place to place. The second-greatest value of this household is self-sufficiency. This boat is completely self sustaining: those on board support themselves by fishing and making goods to sell and trade in the places where they harbor. This is another reason for a life of travel by sea. If there is no luck in the market of one location, they simply sail to another. Different trades are also applicable to different places. Everything that can not be provided by the boat or by the sea can be bought on land with the money the family earns. The opinions of all members of the family are taken into account when deciding where to sail to next. And, by all means, the family may interact with people and places on land, as long as they remember that their life on board comes first if they wish to stay in the family.


The principles of this domesticity are as follows:

  • All members of the family must be able to accept that they will never be in one place forever unless they decide to leave the group.
  • Members of the family are not just family—they are the crew of a vessel, and therefore have to be able to sacrifice their own personal well-being for the good of the crew.
  • Any children on board will be taught to sail from as early an age if they are able. If sailing itself is not their passion, other tasks and skills can be provided for them to learn, such as cooking, fishing, sewing, making things to sell, etc. All people on board are expected to be given a well-rounded education in how to be self-sufficient.
  • If a member of the family wishes to leave their life on deck behind, they may do so. But once they have abandoned the family entirely, they may not return to the crew.
  • Before less-experienced sailors on the boat can captain the ship, they must be given proper training and pass a test to see both abilities on the water and where their true loyalties lie. A captain should never put themselves before the good of the family.
  • All leaders of the family must be decided upon by the rest of the family members, and the decision must be unanimous.
  • If any members of the family are dissatisfied with their place in the group or have any complaints they should feel free to share them with the rest of the family at dinner, when all of the crew eats together and discusses their lives, hopes, dreams, etc.
  • It is a priority that all members of the family should feel safe at all times. Any and all steps should be taken to make sure of it.



Interior plan, 2018. Image by Josephine Cotton.



  • Do you agree to stay in one location for no longer than four calendar weeks?


  • Would you be willing to sacrifice your happiness for the good of your family?


  • Are you willing to be trained in the art of sailing until you are able to comfortably sail independently?


  • Do you except that all members of the family are your equals and have the same rights that you do?


  • Do you agree to be exiled from the family forever if you are responsible for denouncing the rights of an innocent individual?


  • Are there places where you would like to visit? All members of the family are taken into account when deciding where to sail to next.


Signature of New Family Member:







By situating my ideal family in a boat rather than a house, I have enforced my belief that family functions best when it is given a mutual purpose. When a family is raised in some sort of community based around mutual labor, it creates both a good work-ethic and a sense of community, like keeping up a garden or a farm. Learning and teaching practical skills becomes an essential part of life, and by putting this family on a boat I have taken it a step further. I do not intend for the members of the family to be isolated—they may have as much contact as they wish with the outside world. Indeed the whole organization is meant to give them more exposure to different kinds of people and places, also providing more world perspective to people of all ages who are forced to spend time together because of the nature of their everyday lives. Of course, like in all families, those who grow up within it may eventually wish to leave the nest, and they are welcome to do so, so long as they don’t forget their roots. 

Collaborative Community


My ideal family is comprised of artists of all types and all ages; any sort of artist—from musicians to painters to writers—is allowed to join as long as they can make a meaningful contribution. My family is utopian in its emphasis on community, collaboration, and inspiration. In order to make collaborative art that is deeply personal and of quality, contributors should have a close and healthy relationship even outside of art. Such relationships are fostered through the sharing of and bonding through household upkeep activities such as cooking, gardening, and cleaning, as well as shared family meals. Daily life consists of a shared routine among individuals; this routine features all-day time for creating, breaks for meal preparation and consumption, a presentation period to ensure all ideas of the day are heard by all, shared chore time, and rest. Artistic relationships are cultivated through constant art-making with family members. Members’ urges to work together, listen, and share ideas pave the way for an ideal creating space. Community members may work on projects independently but must share, visibly or audibly, concepts with others and must be open to inspiration from others. Though the family is devoted to community within the home, we are not opposed to outside input; we welcome inspiration from nature and from the surrounding people, and we hope to inspire them through our collaborative art synthesis.


What is your artistic medium?


What currently inspires you?


How well do you function in a group setting?


How do you see yourself being inspired by others?


How do you see yourself inspiring others?


Why do you want to join this family?



Floor one, 2018. Image by Visakha Jane Phillips.


Floor two, 2018. Image by Visakha Jane Phillips.

Floor three, 2018. Image by Visakha Jane Phillips.

Map, 2018. Image by Visakha Jane Phillips.


The first floor has walls made entirely of glass, and the layout is a completely open plan. A few tables are scattered in the room, with no assigned purpose. The room is left empty for family members to bring their own materials. Any family member is allowed to work in any space in the room, so as to allow for flexibility in intaking the art forms of others’ and there is no division between working spaces for the same reason. Walls are clear to allow outsiders to draw inspiration from the synthesis of arts on the interior and for family members to draw inspiration from the outside and surrounding nature. The first level doors are always open. The second floor serves as a functional space, including a bathroom, laundry room, storage room, and dining room/kitchen. The dining room and kitchen occupy the same room so that there is no division between those tasked with cooking for the day and those waiting for food. There is plenty of space for all to bond through contribution to cooking and the cleaning that follows. The third floor includes beds for every member of the family, as well as a social area. Part of the experience of bonding and immersion in peer influence is in the space meant for rest. The home would lie in an urban area to maximize inspiration by and to outside sources. However, two sides of the house would be bordered by a garden to allow inspiration by nature.

Queer Commune

My ideal family is a group of queer and similarly aged people who live and do household/garden work together. The idea of a family consisting of a group of queer people is founded on the values of equality, shared experience, and queerness. There is, obviously, a shared experience in being queer, and this experience is important to most queer people I know. Furthermore, I’ve found that living in a shared space as a queer person is a lot easier when those with whom you are sharing the space are also queer. Regarding age, shared experience is also important. The ability to talk about what is happening in one’s life with others who are having similar experiences is important to me. Queerness also has evolved with time, and queer people who are similar in age tend to understand each other better than those of varying ages. I believe that queerness is, in a sense, utopian. My ideal family fulfills the utopian impulse of creating an equal and shared queer space. I also believe that members of the family should do equal shares of housework and gardening. This promotes mindfulness of the way in which the family functions, as well as how it sustains itself.

First Floor, Ty Holtzman 2018

Second Floor, Ty Holtzman 2018

House Map, Ty Holtzman 2018


When designing my house, I focused more on the values of equality and appreciation of energy sources than queerness. This is because I believe that a space can’t necessarily be imbued with queerness: the only thing that makes a space queer is the existence of queer people within it. I decided to center my home around the hearth, but twisted the hearth’s traditional image. I placed it at the center to encourage mindfulness of where energy is coming from. I surrounded it with a circular table though, a shape that enforces equality, to break down the idea of one person (a patriarch) providing for the home. Rather, everyone sits around the woodstove and tends to it. The wood stove as a source of energy also requires a lot of attention, and it therefore commands mindfulness. I also decided to put a panoramic window around the house. This window looks out over the gardens, orchards, and woods. This view also commands attention, and breaks down the conceptual barrier of indoors vs. outdoors. The sources of food for the household will always be visible and present within the household. I decided to let everyone live in their own rooms, as I think private space is necessary for minimized conflict. However, if people want to live in the same room, they can.



  • Are you queer? Y/N
  • Birthday (MM/DD/YY) __/__/__
  • Do you have any previous experience living in a cooperative household?




  • Do you have any previous experience gardening/farming?




  • Why do you want to be a part of this household?


Flexible Families Community

House Plan, Image by Augusta Spiro Jaeger

Surrounding Area, Image by Augusta Spiro Jaeger


Flexible Families Community


How have you overcome issues within your family as one?

___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________

Who do you want to move in with in your apartment and why? Please also mention the nature of your relationship to each other. 

___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________

Who do you want to share a garden with and why? Please mention at least 3 individuals or groups, and the nature of your relationship. 

___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________

Circle one:

1 – strongly dislike 2 – dislike 3 – don’t mind 4 – enjoy 5 – strongly enjoy

Moving houses: _____ 1 _____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 ___________

Sharing a garden: _____ 1 _____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 __________

Living with older generations: _____ 1 _____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 __

Frequent change of neighbors: _____ 1 _____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 _

Living with blood relatives: _____ 1 _____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 ____


Signatures of all prospective members:

____________, ______________, _____________, ____________, ____________,

______________, _____________, ____________, ____________, ________________.


My ideal family is one in which everyone knows they can rely on each other, no matter what. This family doesn’t emphasize agreement or having similarities, instead it values trust and some level of care that is completely unconditional. The idea behind this family is that you don’t get to fully choose who is a part of it, but must learn to trust and care for them regardless, and that you also know that there is a group of people to fall back on, whether or not you share the same values or opinions. It teaches ultimate reliability. At the same time, there is always room for growth in this family, and one individual can be a part of more than one family. This leaves room for choice of who you want to have in your closest circle, who you not only trust, but also see eye to eye with. Ideally, this creates a family which both teaches its members to be there for each other even when there is no agreement, and is at the same time still a safe haven, where you can find people that you love and can relate to; a family you can come back to no matter what.

The architecture of my family community creates a large web of families, all of which are intertwined or related somehow. Although the core of each family is defined by blood relations, or adoption, as each apartment is connected to two communal gardens, there is also room to become a family with people of your choice. Each cluster of 4 apartments that share a garden are a family, which means that each house is part of two families. The community is flexible because as families grow and change, the configurations of individuals within the apartments will change, and as all apartments and all families are interconnected, this will require regular moving throughout the entire community. As the entire community can feel the change of even just one household/apartment, this creates a feeling of connectedness throughout the entire utopia. All the apartments have the same layout, however they vary in size, so that different family sizes are accommodated. The inhabitants can choose who they want to live in their apartment with, for example their young children, and who they want to share a garden with, such as their elderly parents or adult siblings. However, there is no emphasis on mutual control, unlike in many utopias, as interconnectedness should not have to stand in opposition to privacy and having your own space.




The Utopian college is a space of EQUALITY and COMMUNITY which facilitates respect for every member of the community; the utopian college is for everyone. Often, a college is viewed as a space for students that is made functional by a working faculty and staff. However, we will change the way that a college is viewed and interacted with. We see a utopian college as oughting to be for everyone who contributes to the functioning of the college. Open the doors! Make this education accessible to everyone. The college is looking for students and staff that are committed to maintaining bard as a free and safe place to think. We will also encourage visibility of the members of this society in order to recognize all the different components and functions of our larger space. Staff will not be underappreciated; notoriously underpaid workers will have compensation that represents the hard work they do. The main values this manifesto puts forward are equality and community. These values will make Bard a better place by improving the experience of ALL members of the community.



  • Tuition, room and board, health services, and proper food free for all students
  • Accessible education to everyone who is a part of our college community
    • Physical accessibility
  • Outreach to surrounding community
    • Free and advertised lectures, performances, and screenings
  • Higher wages for bard academic AND non-academic faculty
    • Allow workers to unionize without obstruction
  • Mandatory training on how to exist in the community/ how it functions during L&T
  • Bard students and workers on board of admission. Community members will help decide who will be future members of the community.


We decided to put up our broadside in Kline because it is the space on campus where students and staff have the most regular contact.

  • OPEN THE DOORS, 2018. Photograph by BONES. Team: Coco, Paloma, Jane, Ty.

    OPEN THE DOORS, 2018. Team: Coco, Paloma, Jane, Ty.

Unity, Accessibility, Autonomy




A campus cannot come together as one without unity amongst the student body and its surrounding community, including professors, staff, and the greater area. We must cultivate a sense of community to fight the ever increasing isolation that is infesting the campus, for a happier Bard College that can positively influence its surroundings. This unity can be fostered both architecturally and formally, and all steps must be taken to spread community to each and every person at Bard.


  • Centralized space for student use: There is no structure on this campus whose only aim and purpose is student gathering and comfort. Although any Campus Center is meant to be a place for students, as a space that can be used freely by those who it was built for, this is not our reality. We want an open space that is not separated into smaller, closed off rooms, a space that is not reserved for offices or club gatherings, but instead one that allows for all students to use the space however they wish, both in groups and individually.
  • Transparency of Working Conditions of Bard Staff, Especially Environmental Service Workers: If we want unity throughout our campus, we cannot ignore everyone who contributes to student learning, and for this reason we ask for increased solidarity with campus staff. Concretely, we, as the student body of this college, must demand transparency when it comes to working conditions, to better hold the institution accountable for how they treat those that make its existence possible. The institution owes its staff a living wage and fai conditions, and staff should feel absolutely free to unite amongst each other to demand what they are owed, without having to jeopardize their position. As the students and main economic contributors, we have the power to help those that help us, and so must stand together to unite not only the student body, butt every person who makes this college what it is.
  • Solidarity Amongst All Classes: Bard is a space that is meant to accommodate people of all economic classes, yet there is still a strong divide within the student body. Although this isn’t an issue that can be resolved without a worldwide change, it can, and should, be addressed for a better future. Class solidarity must come from each individual in order to strengthen the group, it requires an awareness of the effect class has on us in any environment, and a desire to help others wherever we can. Fostering unity and creating community will bring us closer to each other, and realizing the autonomy of the individual within the united body can create an atmosphere of understanding and compassion.



It is necessary for the everyone in our student body to have equal access to the resources that will allow them to best exercise their autonomy in crafting their best college experiences. We believe that applying the principle of accessibility to the following issues will allow the student body to get the most out of both their educational and social experiences here at Bard.


  • Penalties for Behavioral Violations: In cases where students must appear before the SRB for drinking, drug use, or other such behavioral issues on campus, we believe that students should not be fined for these violations. Fines such as these may have a higher impact on lower-income students- thus, these fines can have unequal consequences on the quality of a student’s life. Instead, we propose that students who violate behavioral expectations perform community service work instead, thus improving the quality of life for the entire Bard community and relieving students of unnecessary financial stress.
  • Accessibility to Classes: Classes that require more expensive materials, such as photography classes or classes that require expensive books, can present a financial hurdle to the education of lower-income students. We propose that there should be no extra charge for these materials, so that all students can have the opportunity to enrich their education without financial stress.
  • Fees for Replacing Student IDs and Room Keys: Every year, the price of replacing student IDs and room key cards has slightly increased. We propose that these prices should stay stagnant and no longer increase on a yearly basis.
  • Gender Neutral Bathrooms: We propose that all bathrooms on this campus be made gender neutral. In the more public buildings on campus, such as the Campus Center, Kline, or Olin, gender neutral restrooms are tucked away on upper floors or in the backs of buildings. We believe that our trans/ non-binary classmates deserve equal access to restrooms in order to feel welcome and comfortable on our campus. We also propose putting sanitary bins in each stall, so that both male and female-bodied community members can use these bathrooms at all times.
  • Chartwells: We believe that students should have access to any and all food options that they would like to see on campus. Students should be able to run their own food co-ops or invite other food providers on campus without intervention from Chartwells.
  • Parking: Despite the construction in recent years, there is still not enough parking for students on campus. When lots are full and students have to park creatively, they are ticketed and fined. We believe that the administration should provide ample parking for students around all classrooms and dorms.
  • Health Services: We believe that the medications, exams, and screenings from Health Services should be free to students. We believe that in order to be a successful student body, we must be a healthy student body, and campus health care should be a basic service that students of all income levels have access to.
  • Communication with Administration: As of now, the best way for students to communicate their thoughts and concerns with the administration is through student government. However, student government at Bard has a very limited number of positions. We propose establishing a monthly open forum with members of the administration so that students can have access to a means of direct communication with the administration.
  • Title IX: The most important requirement for a successful education is for students to have access to a feeling of safety. As of now, the Title IX office has limited resources, and all final decisions on Title IX cases are made by one man. We propose that there should be a board of administrators who decide the fate of Title IX cases, and students ought to have an influence on who should be on this board, be it by vote or by an open forum.



Students, to be able to function efficiently and effectively in the their goals, must have autonomy. We need more freedom of choice and action on this campus. This does not negate however, the importance of the college administrative body. It is simply a call for more independence for the students of Bard College.


  • Dining services: It is important that students have choice over where, when and what they eat. We strongly support more venues of on campus dining as well as extended hours of service. We also propose a system for those who use swaps as an alternative to the current one. We demand that we can use as many or as little swaps we want in a day anytime of day, without swaps being sectioned off by use for each time block.
  • Social Spaces: We the students of Bard need more spaces of campus specifically dedicated to be used by students for the purpose of having social spaces to interact.


Our goals for this manifesto and broadside was to communicate the importance of accessibility to space on a college campus.

[Art]iculation, 2018. Graphic design by Alethea. Group: Mia, Nia, Alex, Alethea, and Lourdes.

[Art]iculation, 2018. Graphic design by Alethea. Group: Mia, Nia, Alex, Alethea, and Lourdes.

[Art]iculation, 2018. Photograph by Alex. Group: Mia, Nia, Alex, Alethea, and Lourdes.


Cultivation of Knowledge

Our monument emphasizes the notion of organicism that was frequently drawn upon in Wigley’s Network Fever piece. We wanted to show how the conglomeration of knowledge is ever-changing and fluid, thereby mimicking a biological structure. Our clay sculpture contains networks made out of stick supports and tied string to show how the cultivation of the earth runs parallel to the cultivation of different disciplines of knowledge. Yet this does not lead to mastery over nature, rather, it seeks to work with nature as a model, and to derive abstractions from it while not trying to rewrite it. Because knowledge is not finite, fixed, nor predetermined with a certain outcome or destination, we tried to illustrate this through the inevitable spillover of earth that has yet to be fully contained within the human-made receptacle. In this way, our monument aims to articulate the coevolution of human knowledge and the universe, and the degree of collaboration inherent in such an endeavor. Lastly, we included a mirror inside of it to show the self-reflexive ways that we interpret the world.

  • “..the central role of the architect was no longer just the form of networks but the connections between them….The architect is seen as a networked animal that networks networks that are themselves animate. In extending the body, networks have to extend its organic logic”(94, Wigley)


  • “Tange describes the project as an ‘organism’ precisely because ‘communication is the factor that gives organic life to the organization.’ The paradoxical rationale of the network is that the possibility of infinite extension actually produces density”(105)

The monument also functions as a kind of model for the creation of knowledge in the form of creating a theory attempting to describe a natural phenomenon but which is malleable and will fail to truly contain it. The monument is one to the generation and alteration of knowledge. Showing its nature as something changeable and imperfect but always subject to expansion and improvement.

River, Augusta, Alec, Mia