Carrot City Designing for Urban Agriculture

BronXscape, Louis Nine House

Exhibit Category / Catégorie de l'expo: Rooftops

Location/Emplacement: New York, NY, USA
Dates: 2009 - present
Designers/Concepteurs: The Design Workshop, School of Constructed Environments, Parsons The New School for Design
Clients: The Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter

More Information/Plus d'informations: n/a
Image Credits/Crédits d'images: Completed Photos: Michael Moran — Design Drawings and Construction Photos: The Design Workshop, School of Constructed Environments, Parsons The New School for Design

Project Description: (version française ci-dessous)

The Neighbourhood Coalition for Shelter (NCS), a non-profit organization providing homeless men and women with housing and support, commissioned Parsons The New School for Design in early 2008 to create a community space on the roof of a new four-storey apartment building – now known as Louis Nine House. The building houses 46 young adults coming out of the foster care system. The building, which opened in early 2009, is part of a larger development that transformed a block in the southern part of the Bronx into sustainable and affordable housing. The new facility seeks to combine housing with educational programs that teach residents the necessary life skills for independence. The NCS program for the 4,500-sq ft rooftop provides options for the young adult residents to learn and participate in the food cycle from planting crops to cooking, consuming and finally composting.

A group of 15 students at the Parsons School’s design-build studio, known as The Design Workshop lead by David J. Lewis, developed what they called the bronXscape proposal: a rooftop garden and kitchen pavilion that includes spaces for vocational training as well as leisure and recreation. The rooftop was designed to offer both collective areas and private zones, and to serve the diverse needs of the residents.

The perimeter of plants provides a lush atmosphere on the rooftop for the majority of the year. Integrated benches and lighting provide a safe, relaxed environment for socializing. The western side of the roof has planters for intensive gardening focusing on the vocational aspect. The denser plantings integrated with bench seating on the eastern and northern sides provide space where residents can congregate and share in a communal meal. The southern part of the roof, which does not receive any direct sunlight, has a green wall with built-in benches and a relaxing shade garden to provide a cool spot during the hottest summer months. The frames attach the wall to the roof while also masking vents and ducts.

The constructed garden fulfils the studio’s motto “share, prepare, seed, nurture”. This urban landscape is “green” on multiple levels, while remaining connected to its Bronx context. Since the canopy is visible from street level and from the elevated subway running nearby, it provides a statement, a significant presence for the client as well as the residents who use the roof. The design and construction of bronXscape succeeded in meeting the sustainable goals of the overall complex while seeking to transform the roof into an active urban oasis, a community space and a retreat for the young residents who are forming their own identity and transitioning into a life on their own in less than nine months.

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