a civic center for urban agriculture
Friendship & Garfield Neighborhoods, Pittsburgh, PA
October 2013 - December 2013
In collaboration with Fah Kanjanavanit
The Folding Farm is a civic center to experiment with and promote urban agriculture in the city of Pittsburgh. Included are a flexible seasonal market, teaching kitchen, cafe, outreach center, city silo for processing and storing food, and floating gardens for producing food.
This design proposal’s main concern was the outreach and education of children from different schools in the area, including the Montessori School, Waldorf School, Urban League of Pittsburgh School, and Kidsville Daycare. This design features a large outreach and education space located at the heart of the urban farm and multiple auxiliary education spaces such as a hydroponics center, water filtration and recycling exhibit, and outdoor lecture area. The use of a folded gardening surface allowed for a connection to be made between the outreach center and surrounding schools while also providing the opportunity to collect runoff water and filter it in the outreach center.
The Penn Avenue portion of the civic center features an open, terraced marketplace with plenty of space for community events. The second floor includes a cafe facing the gardens and a teaching kitchen looking out onto Penn Avenue. This design provides many occupiable spaces throughout the site, especially at the two most important access points: Penn Avenue at the north end and the Octopus Garden to the south. The small park inserted at the edge of Penn Avenue and the large, occupiable set of steps near the Octopus Garden create an attraction that draws in members of the community.