Academic | Carnegie Mellon University | Second Year Studio I | October 2013 through December 2013


The Grow Collective project is a civic center and urban strategically placed at the intersection of three Pittsburgh neighborhoods—Garfield, Friendship, and Bloomfield—with the intention of acting as a local revitalization agent. The structure had to provide room for a large community planting space and a farmer’s market, as well as provide areas for storage, sorting, and a learning kitchen, where residents had the ability to learn about sustainable farming practices and healthy eating using produce. Complicating the programmatic requirements was a site that spanned across two city blocks, with only two lots upon which one could physically build; the rest of the space was usable only in terms of air rights.

Firstly, the alleyways beneath the structure and the front plaza at Penn Avenue, would be colonizable by farmers marketing locally grown produce, establishing the project as a node of local sustainability and green practice within the urban fabric of Pittsburgh. At the Penn Ave. end, the superstructure dips down to street level along Penn Avenue to allow anyone interested to walk up onto the upper surface to directly experience the act of farming, with anyone interested being able to volunteer, adopt a plot of land and experience farming for themselves, with the positive experience ideally propagating further within the community.