Architect: Galbraith Carnahan Architects
Owner: Convivium Urban Farmstead
Contractor: Al Urbain Construction Management
A successful restoration of an old forgotten structure to its original charm, this project creates a new public space that fosters community, promotes sustainability and revitalizes an economically struggling neighborhood. Completed in phases, the vision was to instill a passion for locally sourced foods and healthy living by creating a fully operational urban farm. Two bays of the historic greenhouse structures were redesigned into a community space. The outdoor courtyard spills into the adjacent sidewalk, extending a warm invitation to everyone in the neighborhood and beyond. Inside, a café offers meals created from on-site harvests and prepared in the modern training kitchen. The accompanying event space features a large concrete fireplace flanked by a wall of windows. The existing structures required complex reinforcement for increased snow loads. The building also had to comply with modern codes without sacrificing the delicate beauty of its steel structure. The exiting trusses were intricately measured and replicated with a larger cross-sectional area to subdivide the existing bays. Structural insulated panels were used to span between the trusses and allow the insertion of new skylights at the building’s peak. Fostering other local urban agricultural initiatives, the greenhouses also contain fish tanks installed by a local startup hydroponics company and fed by the water of the planting beds.
Jury Comment: “This project leverages what it was given as far as the infrastructure into something that is physically welcoming to the community. The owner’s mission is commendable. The architect was very smart in the surgical removals and the additions. Technical issues were successfully resolved to be able to do something that looks like they did nothing. The approach to the daylighting is really well done. It demonstrates how a project of modest means can have a huge impact on a community through place making.”