- Avigail Moss
American architecture, performance art, and video collective active between 1968 and 1978. Ant Farm was founded in San Francisco by architecture and art students, principally Chip Lord (b 1944) who attended the Tulane School of Architecture, and Doug Michels [Douglas Donald Michels] (1943–2003), who graduated from the Yale School of Architecture. They were later joined by others, including Curtis Schreier (b 1944) and Hudson Marquez (b 1947). The group’s name originated from a friend’s suggestion that their practice functioned more like a rock band or a toy Ant Farm—busily and collectively working underground—than a corporate architecture firm. Their work took an ecological approach to collective living. The group operated between San Francisco and Houston until 1978, when a fire destroyed Ant Farm’s San Francisco studio, at which point Ant Farm disbanded.
Michels and Lord first met when Michels lectured at Tulane, and again when both participated in Anna and Lawrence Halprin’s San Francisco workshop for dancers and architects, ‘Experiments in Environments’, joining other students such as Yvonne Rainer and Meredith Monk. Ant Farm’s early architecture and design work was influenced by the American architect and theorist Buckminster Fuller; by the ‘do-it-yourself’ ethos of Stuart Brand’s ...