Along with 22 other students, 19 of us women, we built a Strawbale house at the University of Michigan Biostation in Pellston, MI, the project was lead by Professor Joe Trumpey. Over the course of the winter semester we researched and learned about green building methods, learned how to use tools and machinery for the build and constructed test walls and adobe samples to prepare for the build which took place during the month of May of 2017. 


In May of 2018 I was one of the student leaders in the second Strawbale project. The new building is at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor and is being used by the Campus Farm, the gardens and the general public. 

As as second year student, besides participating in the build I was in co-leading the grant writing component required to finance this project. We won a number of grants for the project, one of them being the Planet Blue Student Innovation Fund.


The building provides a number of different uses including a location for hosting events, a lunchroom, meeting space, weather shelter, and an exhibition space intended to educate visitors about sustainability and natural building. Ultimately, the University of Michigan Strawbale Project at the Campus Farm acts as a benchmark, setting the standard for sustainability efforts and engaged learning practices at the University of Michigan.


The Silent Spring Creatives project, lead by Witt visiting artist Pinar Yoldas, was a dining event inspired by and in honor of Rachel Carsons's book Silent Spring (1962). As part of the project, I designed plate decals depicting pesticides as a pattern surrounding an agriculture-related image. I also co-designed the Silent Spring logo used at the dinner event held at the Ann Arbor Natural History Museum that showcased this project in 2017.

POP Plate Decals (2016-2017)

Silent Spring dining event featuring the logo I co-designed and ceramic dinnerware by other art and design students.

© Livvy Arau-McSweeney