Play With Your Food is an instalment of the AA Visiting School that is to be set in San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA, in Summer 2015.The school will attempt to bridge the gap between the fields of Architecture, Contemporary Gastronomy, and Mixology; associate their similarities and differences in order to discover intrinsic characteristics and establish relationships between each, whilst also attempting to feed and grow the knowledge base, design approach and thought processes within the fields in a very experimental yet practical manner. Both disciplines are constantly in flux, and quite open to progression thru many available means. Whether in Architecture it be by developing new 3d analytical software or a modeling program that aids in the rationalization of a highly complex structure in real time so that it can be more easily understood in the field and be more easily represented to a client or another proponent in the field. Or in Molecular Gastronomy/ Mixology it be by creating a new technique for the sensorial representation of a dish or drink, which involves research into the chemical makeup of a series of ingredients that when combined create a certain manner for display and presentation not thought possible; one which evokes feelings and senses simply through the taste and smell and look of a dish or drink that would be unheard of 10 years previous. The architectural and the molecular fields are undergoing revolutionary changes in practice and research, and are constantly reinventing themselves thru the works of some of the most exciting practitioners and researchers in the most exciting international offices/ research institutes/ schools and the most exciting international kitchens, bars, and culinary institutes, which makes them a very exciting duo.

“When considering food one always has the future in view.” – Cedric Price

Parallels between food and architecture

The future of design brings new alternatives to the ways in which humans live, work, behave, and can even affect and control their consumption habits. Nowadays, we have chemical and physical alterations that affect everything we do or consume or inhabit, whether it is from the clothes we wear, to the food we eat, the libations that quench our thirst, the air we breathe, or even the environment in which we choose to live. The future of food and drink in parallel relies on scientists and designers. There are new technologies that allow us to alter chemical components and properties of the foods and beverages we consume. It is now possible to print in edible materials using the same technology that an architect or product designer would use to print a 3d model for a presentation or study on the geometry of a simple object or a highly complex one. From these new inventions and advances, have emerged a new typology of designer in the kitchen and behind the bar. These palatable material experiments and processes bring about a new dimension in texture and structure while allowing the exploration of endless possibilities on aesthetics.

Puerto Rico, not unlike any other setting is one that has a particular set of both Architectural and Gastronomical methods that have been developed over many hundreds of years, and have been finely tuned and molded into what they are today.  There is a very specific set of materials both architectural and culinary that are prepared through a specific set of processes.  This is what is so interesting, and makes this Visiting School so relevant due to the focus that it will apply to both.  We are curious to see whether what has been the status quo can be informed by our studies in architecture and the culinary field, and whether or not we can alter these in any way via a concept that makes something not necessarily better, but more relevant for the current setting and place.

Concrete  is one of the most common building materials in this place.  Concrete as an architectural material is very interesting, and is something that is very relevant to the school due to it’s pliable nature.  It can be relatively easily molded and transformed or used in ways that may have not been thought of even 10 years ago.  This pliable nature of the material is something that we look forward to exploring, not necessarily in a large enough scale where Concrete will be applied, but it is nevertheless something that will be a constant influence on the students work at a smaller scale.  Because just like concrete there are many ingredients in the culinary world that are just as moldable and very related on a conceptual level.

Just as concrete is very specific and relevant to Puerto Rico in an Architectural sense…so are many ingredients and processes in a culinary sense.  Four very integral concepts for Puerto Rican cuisine are that of FRYING, ROASTING, AGING, and STEWING.  Each will be explored annually with this year’s adaptation will focus on the process and concept of ROASTING.