Travelling Scholarship Travelling Studio
Image from winning Rotch 2009 project. Boston Ice Storage building.

Image by Brandon Shigeta

Brandon Shigeta, 2009 Rotch Scholar


Develop an interdisciplinary design incubator on an industrial site—the Boston Ice Company’s warehouse.


The Ice Warehouse is a landmark in large part due to its monolithic solid concrete shell. A worn exterior is characterized by a visual memory of elements that the building has endured over the past 90 years. This proposal seeks to preserve the embedded history through a simple intervention allowing the skin to recede to the work and activity created within the facility. This work will be the image itself that the design incubator will communicate to the public.

Using the existing concrete shell, natural light is introduced into the occupied spaces primarily through a perforation of small holes. In areas where views or increased lighting are desired, larger apertures are introduced. For a higher efficiency of natural light, individual programmed pieces are then divided and dispersed throughout the floors. Through the use of threaded steel tubes within the perforation, work created at the design incubator is attachable to the interior and exterior of the skin. Something seemingly static in nature will continue to evolve through new innovations technology and work, maintaining its relevance to the greater design community.

Preliminary program

Final program

Past winners