Design Build | Fall 2021 | Small Center for Collaborative Design
Sugar Roots Farm is a non-profit teaching farm located on Lower Algiers. They model ecological farming practices adapted to the Gulf South to build food sovereignty and offer educational opportunities to both families and K-12 school groups. In Fall 2021, Sugar Roots partnered with the Small Center to design and build an outdoor kitchen classroom to bring their food and plant medicine growing curriculum full circle to preparing.
The new pavilion includes a large covered area that can be used for education, a farm stand, and public events. Opening towards the main Sugar Roots entrance, it establishes a clear point of arrival for the farm. Including engagement, design, construction, and a pause in instruction induced by Hurricane Ida, the team spent about 17 weeks to complete the project.
This project creates space to reinforce the teaching mission of Sugar Roots. As visitors ascend the main ramp, a variety of educational signage introduces concepts that reappear through new signage across the farm. A dock hovers over a new pond and bioswale that both minimizes the impacts of the pavilion and introduces new opportunities for rich, swampy vegetation. A new wash station creates space for Sugar Roots to scale their production potential. Inside the pavilion, flexible tables allow for multiple orientations of the room to accommodate different audiences. Kitchen equipment is homed in an eight-foot storage “bracket” with accordion doors that provide protection from weather events and large critters, and blocks some of the most severe sun.
Brooke Bullock, Cloud Henderson, Emily Hiatt, Anika Wasserman, Valeria Emmett, Kendall Winingder
Project Leads: Jose Cotto, Emilie Taylor Welty
Students: Merrie Afseth, Brianna Baldwin, Le’Bryant Bell, Zach Braaten, Kelsie Donovan, Kareem Elsandouby, Ellen Feringa, Nick George, Ella Jacobs, Sam Lindley, Connor Little, Mandii Malhotra, Valentina Mancera, Johnathan Michka, Sofia Perrotta Mensi, Malina Pickard, James Poche, Natalie Rendleman, Katie Schultz, Karan Sharma, Bruno Tarazona, Giuliana Vaccarino Gearty, Yao Zhang
Staff: Nick Jenisch, Ann Yoachim
Special Thanks: Pam Broom (Farmacia) Aron Chang; Gardener’s Outpost; Kostmayer Construction; Eric Lynn (Workhaus) Johann Palacios, PE (Pace Group, LLC) Jenny Snape, PE (Batture, LLC)
"Each project begins as a proposal from a community-based organization and is developed in partnership with the organization and its constituents. We prioritize partnership opportunities which foreground equitable approaches to addressing racial, gender and class disparities. We work with organizations that are deeply rooted in the communities they serve, and use the design process as a means to convene new allies and supporters for our partner organizations, expanding their organizational capacity, while strategically including their current stakeholders, staff, and end users.
Once a partnership is started, the team holds multiple meetings with the community partner to learn more about the proposed project. By exploring the ecosystem in which our partner operates – the constituents, stakeholders, funders, and naysayers – we work together to develop a design process that strengthens connections and shapes project outcomes through inclusion and feedback. Within these initial meetings we collectively define success for the project, outline the parameters of our work and define goals within three categories: an appropriate design product, a stronger coalition for advocacy, and the education of young designers.
All projects are developed in a collaborative process that engages the organization’s constituents and stakeholders to better shape the final product and to strengthen the organization’s network at a moment of change. Each team is composed of School of Architecture faculty and students, with support and guidance from our staff. We invite outside consultants and university-partners based on the expertise needed to meet the project goals. Frequent collaborators include structural engineers, landscape architects, real estate development students, planners, public health students, and past project partners who form a team set on moving projects forward."