This sustainable food center, located in Whittier California, is comprised of a variety of spaces, that all relate to the production and consumption of organic produce. Key programmatic elements include: a hydroponic greenhouse, farmer’s market, food bank, restaurant, education center, garden supply store and a caretaker’s residence.
The center’s approach to organic food production and consumption lent itself to a design inspired by the act of farming, that is to: TILL, GROW and HARVEST.
TILL: The large diagonal excavation relates to the notion of a farmer plowing their field. Functionally, the excavated swath will allow the lower level of the food center to utilize earth sheltering as a sustainability feature.
GROW: The greenhouse roof structure is comprised of panelized suspended glazing. Its random pattern and green tint references the microscopic cellular structure of the very plants that it shelters. The large roof structure also lends itself to rainwater harvesting.
HARVEST: The concept of a street market has been in existence since ancient times. Its form, a central axis with buildings on either side, creates an efficient and organized structure that promotes walkability. The diagonal axis through the site also creates a strong pedestrian connection between Greenleaf St. and the intersection of Philadelphia St. and Bright St.
In addition to the poetic nature of the design, the building form creates the opportunity for a hybrid sustainable feature comprised of the integration of rainwater catchment, earth berming and evaporative cooling.
The covered rainwater cisterns surrounding the building provide control to the amount of cooling provided by the earth bermed walls. When the cistern is full, the water will conduct the coolness from the earth bermed walls into the building. When the cistern is empty, the air space will insulate the building from the cooling effect of the earth bermed walls. Additionally, outdoor air can be pulled into the cistern where it travels 350’ (per each cistern) over the top of the earth-cooled water. During this process, the air will be evaporatively cooled and utilized in the building as an energy efficient alternative to an active cooling system.
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Whittier, CA, US