Grow Collective

Fall 2016  |   2 Month Long Project  |  Completed Individually

Our final project for semester three. We were given a site on Pittsburgh's North Shore and asked to design an urban gardening center. The prompt was extremely open ended. We were given some guidelines- for example, we were told we needed to have an "urban barn," a farmers' market, etc. - but overall, we were able to manipulate the program to fit what we felt that the community needed.

After researching the area for the grow atlas project, I discovered that it was already highly catered towards children and families. I felt that having my gardening center focus on teaching children about agriculture would allow it to fit into its surroundings and help to get the next generation excited about farming and eating healthy.

As for the overall look of my building, it was inspired in part by railway turntables, since the site sits on a historical rail line from the height of Pittsburgh's steel manufacturing. The masonry walls are made of poured concrete, which allows them to taper as they get shorter and move towards the center of the circle.  The waffle-looking roof is inspired by the atrium roof of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. Having the grid structure also allows for a shading device to be placed in each of the squares.


In plan, the driving geometries are very visible, as well as the tapering concrete walls.

These sections emphasize the sloped roof, which was designed to collect rainwater and filter it into the greenhouse.

This diagram shows the types of plants that will be placed in each planting area.

This was one of my earlier study models. I'd originally planned to do the walls in brick to blend in with the surrounding buildings, but concrete turned out to be a more natural fit, since I wanted the walls to be more sculptural.

A simple rendering of the outdoor seating area

For my final model, I focused especially on representing the materials that would go into the site. I even added texture to the concrete walls using sawdust and sand.

A simple rendering of the entrance from the parking lot and the outdoor planting area

This drawing outlines the different types of people that will interact with and what they will need from the site. This was a very good starting point for thinking about how program would affect the layout of the design.

This map lays out the other places on the north side for children and families. The ones in the purple circle are within walking distance. It helped to establish which directions traffic would most likely be coming onto the site.