Final Review & Project Reflection
Final images and information regarding this project will be posted soon. In the meantime, please check out The Green Bastards website at http://www.thegreenbastards.com.
The final review, held on Friday April 29th, was successful in terms of maximizing the amount of exposure for the project. We presented a total of four separate times with approximately thirty minutes per presentation. Guest critics included Phil Hodges and David Dahlquist of RDG planning and design, and ISU faculty members Sharon Wohl and Marwan Ghandour.
The biggest challenge we faced during the final review, and for most of the semester, was communicating such a complex process in a relatively short period of time. The 3D panoramic renderings allowed us to focus more attention on presenting the Living Building Challenge, and specific food hub processes like aggregation and distribution. The image below shows one of the several panoramic renderings presented on Friday.
Feedback received during the final presentation was positive in regard to the overall idea and programming. The beer garden design was also very well received, but some of the more negative responses to the project were directed at the building design. As a catalyst for growth in the South Downtown area of Las Vegas, the project placed more emphasis on the success of programmatic features such as the restaurant, market, and beer garden. These facets were categorized as our revenue drivers for the project. Meaning they would be used to maximize income over a five year period in order to facilitate the success of our primary mission of food security. Because of this we spent more time developing the individual programs as separate entities, as opposed to utilizing a holistic approach that would have created a more fluid interior.
(Sean Wittmeyer presenting The Living Building Challenge to Phil Hodges.)
(Studio recap following the grueling 4 hour review/Brad getting himself some banana raisin cookies.)
In the next several weeks this work will be compiled and presented to the city of Las Vegas. In the meantime, this project should serve as a demonstration of the importance of food security in the United States. Urban farming is a sound solution for resolving issues of nutrition and availability, but the scope and scale of urban farming must be amplified in order to make an impact.
Food Security: “When all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.” – WHO
Sunday we completed our Las Vegas site visit with a successful return to the Hawkeye state (all students, luggage, fingers and toes accounted for). During the visit we had the opportunity to rendezvous with, and deliver our design proposal to vested individuals attending the First Friday farmers market. It was very interesting to see the local response to what we have been developing over the last four weeks. We had the pleasure of encountering Corrie Bosket, the president and CEO of State Renewable Energy, a local Las Vegas energy consultation group. The representatives had excellent feedback regarding energy storage and discussed with us the potential of salt-based biodegradable batteries.
On Thursday we explored downtown Las Vegas and took a little bit of time to get acquainted with our site. The Mission Linen site (corner of 1st and Coolidge) was exactly as we had expected, minus the presence of power lines. Over the next week we will have to determine our desired approach regarding the power lines, as they could potentially affect access to the site. Another major factor we need now to take into consideration is the scope of the First Friday Art Festival. The size of the festival has a much larger impact on the Mission Linen site (photo shown below). This may potentially affect our design by causing changes to the layout and flexibility of the beer garden.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Walter Michaels, the managing director of Energy Saver Advisors, LLC. Walter’s feedback regarding our design was immeasurably beneficial and has helped direct my focus to issues we seem to be overlooking. We have an excellent and very thorough design up to this point, but even if our proposal were to come to fruition we would still be significantly short of solving the fragmented food network in Las Vegas. We now need to go one step further and figure out exactly how many times our model would be duplicated in order to make a significant impact in the region.
Mission Linen building and site. Note the power lines cutting through the site.
First Friday Art Festival at the Mission Linen Site.
Food Hub: Ongoing Observations
We’re now 4 weeks into the project and the research gears are in full grind. With the completion of the first round of research we have identified a few knowledge gaps pertaining to climactic response and urban growth strategies. Those points are highlighted below..
- Now that we’re familiar with the range of strategies that can be employed, but we still need to figure out what our base energy consumption will be for our target food hub operation. In this case, we have identified the target operation as including office, warehouse, production, and other community services. Based off of this model I have calculated the percentage of area dedicated to each. (note: this calculation is based off of the 10,000 square foot food hub model, and still needs to be calculated based off of the available square footage for each site.)
Warehouse space (based off the 10k model): 5000 square feet (50%)
Retail space: 2500 square feet (25%)
Office and break room space: 800 square feet (8%)
Production space: 1700 square feet (17%)
With these totals we should be able to run a generic mass through an energy modeling program and determine the approximate energy use for each program. In theory the size requirements for warehouse, office and retail space could be applied to the two Las Vegas sites, which would leave a greater % of area for production. Once we have determined the consumption for the entire hub, the next step would be to determine what and how much of each energy strategy should be applied in order to achieve 105% sustainability.
- Given the calculations provided above, we should also be able to narrow down which urban growth techniques should be utilized on the site. This is an issue that requires more exploration of growth precedents in the region, and a higher understanding of permaculture… More info to follow.
Next, lets shift focus to food hubs. Over the last two weeks I have been researching what food hubs are and why they’re important. The research can be found in the previous post to this blog, but some of the key takeaways we have discovered are…
- Location to infrastructure and supportive communities is important.
- Products will vary by region and a large emphasis should be placed on products with longer shelf life.
- For profit operations are better for longevity of the hub.
- The community is the most important aspect. The hub is more than just a location to aggregate and sell locally grown products
Finally, one major outcome of the studio is how we define a food hub. The running definition we have developed is as follows…
“An organization that produces, aggregates and distributes fresh and nutritious food products with the objective of safe-guarding, advancing and educating the community in which it is established, while also providing a safe and fun environment that community members will frequent.”