Neighborhood Design/Build Studio 2012
Neighborhood Design/Build Studio Dedication at UW Farm: 2012
I always tell the students that the afternoon weather is typically clear during spring quarter for the design/build studio, and indeed, we were blessed with a string of fabulous, rain-free afternoons this year.
However, on june 8th, the day of this year’s project dedication, an incredible storm tore through Seattle, packing high winds and heavy rain. Miraculously, the skies cleared at 5PM, just before the party, and the dedication went off without a hitch, featuring a ribbon cutting ceremony, adult beverages, and a wheelbarrow load of fresh picked garden salad.
This year’s project was at UW Farm at the Center for Urban Horticulture. The clients were 1) UW Farm, a student run organization established to teach about the impact of our food choices and to demonstrate the potential of urban farming, 2) Seattle Youth Garden Works, a garden-based education and job skills program for homeless and/or at-risk youth, and 3) the Hardy Plant Society of Washington, a grass-roots operation, mostly seniors, involved in conservation and the use of hardy perennials in the landscape.
These three organizations had cobbled together a tiny budget of $11K to build a shared structure incorporating tool storage for each group, a solar greenhouse for starts, a covered outdoor classroom with built-in seating, two tool washing stations associated with rainwater collection, and covered bike storage.
Using a consensus design process, the students designed a simple, linear east-west form to maximize sunlight in the greenhouse and outdoor classroom. Since there’s no electricity on site, the spaces are day-lit through a smoked corrugated polycarbonate roof and a continuous clerestory, which also provides natural ventilation.
The gable roof has a diagonal ridge, resulting in a form that both allows the classroom to open to the Farm and for optimal solar access for the greenhouse. With built-in gutters, the double pitch directs rainwater to collection and tool washing stations on the east and west ends of the building.
The tight budget and time frame resulted in simple construction techniques and a local materials palette. Salvaged material was used for the foundation formwork, and the concrete was mixed and poured on site. The wall panels and roof trusses were prefabricated in the studio and trucked to the site for assembly. The finished exterior walls are cement board with a layer of twigs and vegetative material from the site stuffed into a galvanized mesh screen.
Written by Steve Badanes / Photos by Steve Badanes and Jake LaBarre
In addition to Center for Urban Horticulture and our three clients, the Neighborhood Design/Build Studio would like to thank our donors and sponsors:
Howard S Wright Endowment
Jeff Moore/Montana Originals
Rae Louise Moore
Mountain High Gardening
CBE Dean’s office
Design Build Ribbon Cutting