Mowing Operations
New Haven, CT
Landscape, Seed Vault


Mowing Operations explores the architectural implications of a lawn mower. The site, Science Hill, is subject to different mowing patterns three to four times a year. Rubberized platforms provide park amenities to the site, but also act as obstacles for the lawn mower’s path.

The project began with a study of the effects of various mowing patterns on a plot of land. Based on the frequency of mowing in each area, plant matter is either inhibited or allowed to grow. This results in changing patterns of plant matter that could potentially create architectural space through their varying heights and densities. 

Further research revealed that meadows are a byproduct of natural interventions that inhibit the growth of woody, competitive plants. For example, meadows often exist in areas that are prone to fires. We can draw an analogy between this natural intervention and the human intervention of mowing. As shown by the above diagrams, areas that are mowed once a year allow for much greater biodiversity, and plants such as perennials to flourish.

A seed vault and research center is buried beneath the hill. It is completely hidden with the exception of three sunken courtyards that provide daylight to the building. The changing landscape of Science Hill thus acts as the façade for the building.

Copyright Liwei Wang 2020, all rights reserved