The Hungry Hippodrome, 2016
The Hungry Hippodrome is a supermarket in Brooklyn, New York. City. The site is situated on the brink of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a re-purposed industrial complex. The Navy Yard is undergoing a major regeneration programme and as part of the scheme is a proposal to replace the currently derelict Admiral’s Row with a conventional supermarket. The Hungry Hippodrome is a counter proposal on a different site on the Navy Yard.
Food is a major element of American culture. Yet the American food culture has evolved to become associated with consumer excess as well as health and environmental threats. The Hungry Hippodrome is a monument to food. It proposes a new typology of food retail, which celebrates the lost elements of food retail and consumption. The Hungry Hippodrome challenges the sterility of the modern day supermarket, littered across the highways of America. It aims to allow for consumer transparency by housing some of the food processes within the supermarket - as a means of educating consumers about the food process as well as creating a spectacle of the processes that occur oblivious to the everyday consumer.
Where every supermarket is designed with efficiency and profit margins in mind, The Hungry Hippodrome compromises efficiency for a heightened food retail experience.The spectacular and monumental value is within the dynamic architecture - as the fleeting monument is the most monumental of all. Shoppers of the Hungry Hippodrome are exposed to the visual delights of food. A subversion of the Gruen Transfer - “the moment when consumers enter a shopping mall and, surrounded by an intentionally confusing layout, lose track of their original intentions”. The moment of entrance is instead designed to encourage a sense of exploration and wonder. The initial view is a collage, representing the tactility of food, once so prominent and is now buried by packaging.