Kate Torgersen
Urban Bivouac (Maquette)
tarp, wallpaper, twine, woolen fabric
Alienated and excluded from urban architecture, San Francisco’s roughly 2,600 homeless citizens must migrate throughout the city in a constant quest for food, shelter and county services. Likewise, exhausted and famished northbound migratory songbirds are forced to bypass San Francisco’s urban sprawl—opting instead to continue north to Marin County in favor quiet nesting areas and food. Relegated to the margins of urban architecture, both San Francisco’s homeless citizens and its few remaining songbirds must build their communities and find comfort, privacy and shelter amongst cold concrete corners, chain link fences and garbage strewn streets.

Built from urban detritus like plastic bags, tarps, and bits of rope, my project lays claim to the exterior, exclusionary walls and fences of the urban environment. Creating comfort in the threatening and inhospitable; interiors on the anterior; privacy in public; and championing impermanence over the concrete—my project attempts to reverse human and avian expectations and interactions with urban architecture by embracing the nomadic lifestyle of both communities.

Urban Bivouac: Referencing both tent- and bed-systems of contemporary nomadic societies and wilderness mountaineering equipment, my homeless shelter is designed to provide protection, comfort, security and privacy in the most precarious and harsh environments. Portable and easy to assemble, the Urban Bivouac fastens easily and securely to chain link fences. Suspended above the ground with a simple hammock system and optional drop-down tarps, the Bivouac creates both a comfortable, elevated bed and an enclosed storage area for pets and/or belongings.
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