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Sankofa Center for Urban Agriculture

Second Year Studio

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As the final of three Grow Collective studio projects, the Sankofa Center for Urban Agriculture project taught me a lot about myself as a desginer as well as the iterative process from initial site and client visit to the final building proposal of an impactful community and environmental space. When faced with the decision to align the design with the client’s needs and wishes or to start from scratch based on my own intuition, I chose a happy medium. Through the inclusion of materials found on site as well as program following the spaces laid out by the client, I created a Sankofa garden and community center that Homewood would be proud of. Although, I drifted from an agricultural center in a traditional sense and followed the route of a more “iconic” looking building for the area. 

Initial plans of involving natural, growing walls or trellis in addition to drawing inspiration from the path of the sun were integral for coming up with the final design. Repositioning the original George Washington Carver Peanut Butter House brick wall to the center of the site allowed me to keep the historical allusions of the site as well as showcasing, or advertising, the center to the community through what would become a Sankofa mural.

Realigning the greenhouse to gain the most sun exposure was a step I took after the first iterations with the greenhouse programmed centrally in the building. 

After experimenting with the continuation, ambiguity and dynamism of materials and boundaries of indoor/outdoor spaces, I came to the consensous that the growing trellis extending throughout the building could act as a way to mesh the inside with the outside.

Playing around with second floors and roof gardens drove me to make the decision to let the trellis act as a natural shading device, much like a ceiling that is able to be manipulated by the users based on what, when, and where they chose to grow their plants within the structure. 

To develop an underlying grid for the basis of my design, I started with the projection of the moved brick wall, I then moved onto creating a grid of the sunpath from East to West and all perpendicular and adjacent lines. Using the areas these lines created, I was able to define spacial boundaries that led to a final program. 

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