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Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Rachel Hedlof June 9, 2011 University of Oregon - Portland Graduate School of Architecture Instructor: David Gabriel

table of contents
abstract concept site precedent program design goals bibliography

Local food and agriculture in the Portland Metro Region has a strong cultural presence due to its support by cheffarmer collaborations, local food marketing promotion, and community supported farmers markets. The number of small farms on the periphery of Portland is increasing, supported by their close contact with the city due to the urban growth boundary. Agriculture within city boundaries has also shown continuous growth through support by community and civic organizations. Both peri-urban and urban agriculture contribute to a regional dynamic that connects urban and rural residents in the pursuit of a sustainable food ethic. The Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture will act as a place for collaboration in sustainable food systems across the metro region, bringing together business, academic and civic organizations with a shared vision. A unique opportunity for new social and environmental synergies is created by placing a center for agriculture in a dense urban environment. Food producing gardens will be located within the building structure and on the site, making the benefits of urban agriculture immediately apparent. An open and engaging program that welcomes people to the gardens will work to bring awareness of food production to people living in the city. Natural cycles of farming such as water use and composting will be integrated into urban cycles of storm water management and collection of organic waste, while a mutually beneficial exchange of thermal, daylight, and water needs will strengthen the buildinglandscape connection. Within the building design, spatial relationships will be developed that seek to build collaboration between various occupants and visitors. The reciprocal form of building and landscape will be developed to engage building users, affirming the relevance of food production to daily activities. A study of formal relationships of protection and seclusion, exhibition and engagement, as they relate to the urban environment, will inform the design.


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A vision for sustainable food and agriculture has many dimensions. It includes environmental concerns, such as water supply and use, habitat conservation, energy use, and soil health. It involves social issues, such as justice for farmworkers, family farm preservation, and building strong communities. Economic issues like costs of production, opportunities for small scale farmers and new innovations in agricultural technology are also a concern. Increasingly, the food consumer has become aware of these issues and has helped to support a movement in sustainable food and agriculture. This is evident in programs and organizations that seek to bring food awareness to the consumer, and in the city of Portland in particular, where a regionally based food system has has political and community support. (Works and Harvey, 134). Food production awareness and education help people to make more informed decisions about nutrition and the origin of the food they consume. A growing concern about food safety, use of pesticides, and the enormous distances food travels to reach the grocery store have spurred movements such as Slow Food and Eat Local, which have gained momentum as people have collaborated for positive change to address these concerns. Farmers markets connect people to local farmers, creating a sense of community between rural and urban. Organizations such as Just Food in New York City have addressed concerns about lack of fresh food in the city by organizing food production in urban agriculture sites and making it available to city residents. They also support rural farming by fostering relationships between small to mid-size farmers and markets in New York City. Recently, they have started the citys first Farm School with the goal of teaching residents methods of urban farming. A food organization located in Portland called Ecotrust similarly seeks to build local food networks by connecting local farmers and consumers. Their programs include educational efforts through Farm to School and the Farmer-Chef Connection program. The proposed Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture envisions a place where researchers, farmers and the community work for the economic, social, and ecological benefits of a regional food system. Portlands strong foundation of food and agricultural awareness make it a fitting place to research sustainable metropolitan agriculture, and urban agriculture in particular has the potential to contribute to the health and food awareness of city residents. A brief look at opportunities in the broader subject of metropolitan agriculture will be followed by a more focused examination of urban agriculture.

Local Food Markets Local Farmers Food Security CSAs

Nutrition Education Garden Recreation Youth Programs Food Justice Urban - Rural Connection

Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Waste Management Water Management Green Space Habitat Creation



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Metropolitan Agriculture - A Regional View

Food security and food miles are hot topics in a discussion about agriculture. Where our food comes from, how far it has travelled, and what methods were used in its production are often a mystery for the consumer. A movement in metropolitan agriculture attempts to address all of these concerns by creating a regional food system. Patterns in agricultural production in Portland, such as its urban growth boundary, its food culture, and its diversity of foods produced make it a fitting model for a study in metropolitan agriculture. (Works and Harvey, 135) Oregon has a highly productive diverse range of agricultural production. Production within the metropolitan area counties contributes largely to Oregons total agricultural output. Clackamas, Yamill and Washington counties, all part of the Portland Metro, are ranked within the top five agricultural counties in the state. (Works and Harvey, 137). The number of organic farms in the state has increased from 180 in 1998 to 346 in 2007 (Oregon Tilth website). Of those, in 2002, over 50% were located in Metro regions of the state (Works and Harvey, 139). Agricultural Inventory and Analysis Portlands Urban Growth Boundary contributes Map from the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture website. to a strong regional food system. An inventory of agricultural land shows that there is a strong proximity of foundation and important agriculture land to the urban area. Family farms, U-pick farms, farm stands, and community supported agriculture, all help to connect the urban population to peri-urban agriculture. It is arguable that this urban-rural relationship helps to support the small and mid-size farmer. In Oregon, there has been a notable increase in small farms in the past few decades. (Works and Harvey, 136) from 1974 to 2002, the number of small farms ranging from 1-49 acres have more than doubled, while the number of large farms has decreased. The commitment to a regional food system is found in Portlands Food Policy Council, with the following governing principles (Bureau of Planning and Sustainability website): Portlands Urban Growth Boundary Edge Image from Portland Architecture website

1. Every City and County resident has the right to

an adequate supply of nutritious, affordable and culturally appropriate food (food security). 2. Food security contributes to the health and well being of residents while reducing the need for medical care and social services. 3. Food and agriculture are central to the economy
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of the City and County, and a strong commitment should be made to the protection, growth and development of these sectors. 4. A strong regional system of food production, distribution, access and reuse that protects our natural resources contributes significantly to the environmental well-being of this region 5. A healthy regional food system further supports the sustainability goals of the City and County, creating economic, social and environmental benefits for this and future generations. 6. Food brings people together in celebrations of community and diversity and is an important part of the City and Countys culture. A regionally based agricultural system has the potential to create greater accountability in food production methods and reduce transportation distances for food, increasing the freshness and quality of food. Partnerships between producers and consumers can increase the economic potential for locally grown food and foster relationships that strengthen the urbanrural community.


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Urban Agriculture
The recent renaissance in urban agriculture reveals an enduring desire to stay rooted in an American pastoral dream, to create opportunity for self-sustenance, and to ensure food security at a time when large-scale agribusiness has disconnected people from their food sources. This movement defies simple categorization: Urban gardens grow specialty produce for high end restaurants, but they also provide recreation for the community and sustenance for those living in urban food deserts. Beyond the obvious benefit of fresh, healthy food, urban gardens add a quality of life to the city through ecological, social, and economic benefits. Revitalization of the city has also been a motivation for urban farming, creating safety, beauty and a sense of community in vacant lots. It can not only beautify an area, but can also provide ecological benefits. Stormwater management, habitat creation and management of waste are all benefits of the urban farm. Economic benefits have been realized in urban farms that turn a profit, bring employment, and make valuable use of land that would otherwise lie unused. Urban farming provides a means for returning to the land and producing a worthwhile product in high demand. History shows that the scale of farming in the city has ebbed and flowed with opportunity, land, and economic needs. In the current rise in popularity of urban agriculture, local entrepreneurs have taken up an enterprise once largely occupied by community groups. As new participants arise to take advantage of the demand for local, fresh food, it has the potential to be a multidimensional activity: private, community, and public. The challenge for the future of urban agriculture may just be the availability of land. Maintaining land for urban farming use in the face of future development will require creative use of land: on rooftops, in yards, in wasted land of the urban environment. The ingenuity of the modern urban farmer may well help to shape the future urban landscape.


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History of Urban Farming

The agrarian landscape of early American towns, although drastically changed by the industrial revolution, was never far from the minds of city dwellers. In the early nineteenth century, a nostalgic desire grew to bring farming back into cities and instill hard working values of the American farm to city dwellers. Programs began to develop to bring food producing gardens into cities. Often created in times of economic distress, they sought to stimulate a work ethic and bring a sense of purpose and self-sufficiency to an unemployed population. The first major effort at organized urban farming happened in the 1890s, when Detroit experienced an economic depression that left many people applying to charities to assistance. A unique program was developed by Mayor Pingree to turn vacant properties into gardens maintained by unemployed citizens. Called Pingrees Potato Patches, the program used donated parcels that ranged from one to six acres, totaling about 450 acres, and accepted applications from almost 1,000 people to cultivate the land. It was pronounced a success when it produced food amounting to a value larger than the citys aid budget, at a fraction of the cost. The program inspired many more across the country, so that within ten years, there were similar projects in nineteen cities, from Seattle, to Boston, to Buffalo. (Lawson, 23-27) In addition to the vacant-lot cultivation association, programs for urban farming continued to develop across the country, including childrens school programs and civic garden campaigns. They were especially widespread during national times of distress, such as the National War Garden Commission during World War I, and efforts during the Great Depression supported at federal, state, and local business levels. Particularly widespread and successful, the Victory Gardens of World War II were marked by an increasingly top down organization mode driven by government agencies. Gardens were developed in yards, vacant lots, roof tops, public parks, business lawns and railroad right of ways. The program goal for 1943 to have six million farm gardens and twelve million non-farm gardens was met. Although it produced a remarkable amount of food, the promoted goals of the program were also beautification, nutrition and recreation, all in support of the War. As stated by E.J. Condon of Sears Roebuck & Company, a supporter of Victory Gardens: Take a couple of riveters off the assembly line. Put a hoe in their hands and put them into a garden patch. Its just plain good

Forest Hills, Queens, New York, 1944. Image from

Westside Center. 1943. Image from

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for a mans soul. (Lawson, 170-202) The urban farming movement found itself reinvented in the 1970s as a grassroots effort springing up in cities to express a new concern about the environment and self-reliance. It was a way to improve poor neighborhoods and bring together communities. This movement encouraged a cooperative organization, where the participants took ownership of garden design and maintenance, forming their own community-based leadership. It was in some cases a sort of revolutionary movement, as found in the Green Guerillas, who took over vacant lands to start gardens. (Lawson, 214) Today, community gardens have different forms of organization in different locations. In some cities, they continue to be grassroots organized, reflecting the unique character of each community. Other cities, such as Portland, have taken a leadership role in organizing community gardening on vacant land, affording gardeners protection of land and use of city resources. The history of urban farming has shown that while the scale of production has varied, and the organization has differed from a top down directive to a grassroots movement, the goals have often been similar. Urban farms have used the wasted land of the city, land on the periphery, in transition; creating beauty and usefulness out of the dross. They have provided sanctuary from the stresses of urban life, improved neighborhoods, provided recreation, and enabled access to local, fresh, healthy food. The common thread through all movements has been an effort to improve the quality of urban life.

Image from


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Spatial Characteristics of Farm and City

The integration of agriculture with the urban fabric has taken many forms, often explored in unbuilt urban planning proposals. The spatial implications of urban farming are dependent not only on its scale and organization, but also upon whether agriculture is a formative determinate on the shape of the city, or if it is an afterthought, added into the leftover spaces and edges of the city. Recently, these divergent ideas have re-emerged in plans that exploit the wasted space of the city for agriculture in a systematic, though dispersed, formal cohesion. Agrarian urbanism in exploratory planning has variously been approached from philosophies of separation, integration, and connection. In his Garden City design, Ebenezer Howard explored the incorporation of agriculture into urban planning based on the idea of separation in the early twentieth century. His proposal, advocating the separation of large-scale farming from Garden City, Ebenezer Howard. Image from landscapeanindustrial and residential uses, placed agriculture in the space between a central city core and smaller towns, establishing the proximity of agriculture to the city while maintaining its separation. In contrast, Frank Lloyd Wright advocated for integration in his Broadacre City, where there is no distinction between residence and farm: land is parceled out in one acre allotments for each resident to occupy a home sitting in the midst of a farm. (Waldheim) The organization is spread over a seemingly unending region, where city and country are merged into a continuous, low-density landscape. In both cases, agriculture becomes the primary determinate in the form of the city. Howards farms surround and define the city core; Wrights farms distend the city into an undifferentiated region of agrarian living. Broadacre City, Frank Lloyd Wright. Image from urbanAn agricultural landscape that runs through dense urban surroundings has emerged in the idea of a continuous productive urban landscape, or CPUL. This urban design strategy works within the existing urban infrastructure to carve out open space that forms a continuous chain through the city, where agriculture meets urban at an interactive edge. This formal arrangement is proposed to be adaptive to the development of the city, so that the fragmented pieces of the landscape develop their own character in relation to the city. CPULs are envisioned to be sociologically productive, through the incorporation of cultural and educational activities, and economically productive, by establishing new patterns of food production and employment. However, they are not expected to provide all food consumed in the city, instead, they Broadacre City, Frank Lloyd Wright. Image from are expected to reduce the need for importing food
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to concentrated essentials. They emphasize local distribution of food for immediate consumption. The land for agriculture is gradually reclaimed from urban space, taking an organic form that winds its way through the city. Spaces for reclamation could include parking lots and ramps, abandoned shopping malls, roofs of warehouses, railroad right of ways, and other wasted spaces. The connections between production, marketing, and consumption create a new dynamic of movement through the city. (Bohn and Viljoen, 10-15) Integration of urban agriculture has been highly successful in Cuba, where farming sites are found along major roads and on the fringes of the city. In the city of Cienfuegos, considered the urban agriculture capital of Cuba, lower density allows agriculture sites to exist close to the center of the city. Called organpopnicos, which are high yield urban gardens, they are sited by the government according to strict criteria of land use. In this planned city, with a grid pattern of streets that run through areas not yet developed, sites have been designated for agricultural use as the need arises. (Viljoen and Howe, 147-149) In North American cities, the pattern of development of urban agriculture has been scattered, organically growing out of unused or unwanted land parcels. Vancouver is a successful example of adaptive use of fringe land for food production, a notable achievement for a city boasting a high density of development. Co-opting land for gardens began at the grassroots level, gaining momentum and attention due to efforts of individual communities. The government became involved in 2003, creating a Food Action Plan, and documenting sites in an Urban Agriculture Inventory. (Mendes) They have identified sites that have potential for future agricultural development with a wide range of scales, from small container gardens to larger scale farms. However, the project has been challenged by the high market value of land and lack of funding for development, so that few of the sites identified in the inventory for their potential have actually been developed for agriculture. Where urban agriculture has been successful, it has brought a human scaled dimension to the city. It requires constant maintenance, bringing human activity within the space, and is constantly changing in appearance with planting, growing and harvesting seasons. While the appearance is of a healthy, vibrant growth, it contrasts with manicured landscapes maintained purely for aesthetic purposes. Instead, the working nature of the landscape is always present

Established City with no CPULs

Identifying continuous landscapes

Inserting productive urban landscapes

Feeding the City

Food flow from individual productive areas

Diagrams from Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes. page 12

in a manner that is complementary to city activity. Like the city, which is both highly organized and unkempt, structured and dynamic, the garden is constantly evolving as a reflection of human use. The evolution of urban gardening has shown that its successful establishment is in part due to the organic nature of its spatial growth. Though governmental agencies have been of much assistance in facilitating organization of large numbers of community gardens, the foundation laid by activists who have garnered support from neighbors to take over vacant land to revitalize their community has been the true strength of urban farming. They have worked in sync with the patterns of the city, turning waste into growth. By working with the rhythms of the city, urban farmers have exploited opportunities for land use, but they are also at risk of becoming victims to future patterns of economic growth that would reclaim land for development. The future strength of urban farming lies not just on dependence on governmental agencies, but also in building relationships with the community and between the scattered urban farmers into a collaborative effort. Urban farming works because it is complementary to city development patterns, fitting into dispersed pieces of land, and will continue to gain strength in finding innovative ways to integrate into the urban environment.

Diagrams from Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes.

Diagram from Using Land Inventories to Plan for Urban Agriculture. concept page 13

Scale and Production

Urban agriculture today encompasses a variety of scales of production: from the small scale of a window box in a high rise apartment, to large-scale cultivated tracts of land on the periphery of the city. For many participants who produce a small amount of food, the purpose is largely for the recreation and sense of accomplishment of growing their own food. Largescale productions can start to make an impact on the food source for city dwellers, reducing the amount of food that needs to be shipped in. An examination of the definition of UA today includes both the sociological benefits and the potential for large scales of production. UA is defined today in terms of its relationship to the community and spatial relationship to the city by Portland Food Systems using the following criteria: Scale sites can be as small as a few hundred square feet and are rarely over a few acres Location sites are often leftover spaces within developed areas; they may be remnants of historic farms, difficult to develop sites, or portions of sites developed in a compatible use, such as a school, a utility right-of-way or water storage facility Intensity of use land is used intensely to maximize benefits in a small area Techniques the small scale favors hand tools and smaller mechanized equipment Crop diversity rather than growing single crops oriented to mass production, these sites often include a variety of crops that change from season to season Products fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers or nursery stock are most common; some sites may have small beehives or a few chickens Consumer base local products may be grown for personal use, local subscribers (as in CSAs), nonprofit or student consumption, or those who shop at farmers markets or farm stands Community orientation sites are often considered community assets, providing open areas, educational opportunities, or food security Associated activities educational activities may include nutrition or farming education to school children, job training programs, demonstration projects, or gardening education for self-sufficiency/food security; related commercial activities may include

Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver, B.C. Photo by Terri Meyer Boake. In 1994, part of the ivy covered roof terrace on the 3rd story of the twenty story Fairmont Waterfront Hotel was converted to an herb garden. About 2,100 square feet is used to grow herbs that are served in the hotel restaurant. About $25,000 - $30,000 of herbs are produced annually, with an estimated maintenance cost of about $16,000 annually. The soil is about 18 inches deep, and has been replaced over the years since its inception by about 2-3 tons of organic soil and amendments. The terrace is an accessible feature to guests and a pleasant view for the rooms that face out to it.

Sole Food Farm. Image from www.cityfarmer. info.

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farm stands, plant sales, or collection by CSA members In an examination of opportunities to use underutilized space in the city, Southeast False Creek in Vancouver, BC, recommends the following locations for UA (Holland Barrs Planning Group, 16-19): Rooftop Balcony Living wall Tiered wall Ledge on wall Trellis Arbour Greenhouse Containers Atriums Indoor living wall Kitchen herb garden Glass hothouse Courtyard Park Plaza Waterfront Street boulevard School food garden

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm. Image from Started in 2010 by a group of people dedicated to connecting people in the city to locally produced food, Brooklyn Grange is located on the roof of a seven story building in Queens, New York. One acre of rooftop holds 1.2 million pounds of soil over green roof membrane. The structure is able to carry the additional load of 30 lbs/sq. ft. on the existing reinforced concrete slab roof of the 1919 building. The soil material, about 7 1/2 inches deep, is a lightweight mix from Rooflite composed of compost lightened by porous aggregate. Their produce includes tomatoes, eggplants, lettuce, beets, and greens, and more, sold to local restaurants, farmers markets, and supporters of their CSA. The farm produced 15,000 lbs. of vegetables (45% tomatoes) in 2010, and is expected to grow about 18,000 lbs. in 2011.

Successful urban farms have been shown to produce enough food to make an impact on the fresh produce needs of recipients, and been profitable in the process. For example, Seattles Cultivating Communities CSA, which has grown out of their very successful P-Patch community garden program, created a business that employs recent immigrants with farming skills to produce food for their own consumption and for sale to 150 CSA subscribers. In 2000, the program netted $30,000 in produce sales. (Balmer et al, 43) Research has shown that UA has the capacity to produce remarkable amounts of food in a relatively small space. While difficult to measure due to varying prices and weights for produce, the potential for production has been measured in a study of urban infill gardens. In Vancouver, BC, within a community of 13,800 residents, a farm of one hectare would fulfill three percent of the residents vegetable needs. This calculates to one hectare producing about $191,000 in produce annually. (Tomalty and Kormolowski) In Detroit, Michigan, where an increasingly abandoned city is being infilled with gardens, a study found that 44,000 parcels of land totally almost 5,000 acres in the Detroit area had the potential to be cultivated as urban farms, using intensive cultivation techniques

Gotham Greens, Jamaica, Queens, New York. Image from This 12,000 hydroponic greenhouse farm under construction in Queens has a goal of high production as well as high energy efficiency. It is estimated to produce over 30 tons of fruits and vegetables annually. The initial cost is estimated at $1.4 million. The company has already secured their major client, Whole Foods Stores, who plan to purchase 70% of the produce. They plan to sell the remaining produce at farmers markets. The greenhouse system will work with the building, capturing waste heat, using natural ventilation and evaporative cooling. Solar panels will provide energy for high efficiency pumps and fans and water will be captured in a cistern for irrigation. Natural methods, rather than pesticides, will be used for pest control. (Martin,21) page 15

and greenhouses. The study found that this land could produce more than 75 percent of Detroit residents fresh vegetables and 40 percent of their non-tropical fresh fruits. (Rudolf) Even in cities with a modest amount of acreage devoted to gardens, the production value is notable. In Portland, as of 2005, there were thirty community gardens, divided into plots among individual residents. These gardens collectively generate about a half a million dollars in produce. (Hess) Calculating production values shows that future development of UA may be driven by entrepreneurial pursuits as much as it is by community driven organizations. Both types of development have the potential to bring social and environmental benefits with collaboration among all players.
Vinegar Factory, New York. Photo from Landscape + Urbanism website. Built over a series of two- and three-story brick buildings on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, four greenhouses, as well as open air gardens, grow vegetables for sale in the market below. The largest greenhouse is 40 x 100, and in total they cover about a half acre of rooftop, managed by two full time gardening staff. Produce includes greens, tomatoes, berries and figs. The produce is grown in soil, which is augmented by compost waste from the market. The compost is produced on the roof in a drum that is regularly filled with market waste. In addition to the waste / nutrient benefit of composting, the gardens also derive benefit from the market by using its waste heat. Ducts from the bakery ovens heat the greenhouses in the winter to a warm enough temperature for the greens. Additional heat is supplied to the greenhouses that grow tomatoes. (Wilson)


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Agriculture in the Portland Metro Area

Portland has a history of support for urban farming from grassroots to city agencies. Agriculture in the city is found in acres of urban farms, small infill community gardens, educational gardens, rooftop gardens, and small businesses that utilize groups of private properties. The Diggable Project, by Portland State University, and Food Systems, by the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, have studied the current state of UA in the city and potential for growth. Both studies show that scattered, small plots of agricultural land are weaved into the urban fabric. The spatial scattering of the land for agricultural use makes each farm site a unique study in character and adaptation to the city. A comparison of the spatial characteristics of three urban farms in the Portland metro area shows the possibility for different modes of interaction between agriculture and the urban landscape. Each farm has an open door to the community through shared gardens, education, and volunteer opportunities. How the farm relates to the surrounding community depends on its location and surroundings. At Zenger Farm, the vegetable garden occupies about two and a half acres of land, while the rest of the site is occupied by a renovated zero-energy farmhouse, chicken coops, beehives, orchards and wetlands. The farm pays no rent, but exists through a mutually beneficial relationship with the city. The land is city owned, and by taking care of the wetland on the north side of the property, the non-profit farm uses the land for free. The farm is able to gain some income from sales of fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs at the farmers market and receives donations to keep it running. Surrounded by a variety of land uses, the farm edges meet the city in different ways. The renovated farmhouse is at the edge, although set back, from Foster Street, making a clear gateway to the farm. At the north side of the property, the farm runs into Johnson Creek, where the cultivated vegetable rows are taken over by grassland and orchards, that meet the wetland surrounding the creek. The east and west sides are met by residential and big box retail development, respectively. Trees help to separate the farm property from its neighbors. The farm is clearly visible to neighbors and passersby, making it a successful demonstration of agricultural integration to a multi-use area of the city. The Tyron Life Community Farm is not far from I-5,
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Zenger Farm, Portland. Images from Zenger Farm website and Portland Creative Realtors website.

within the city limits of Portland, in a suburban-like area with the requisite strip malls and large size lot residential development. Yet the farm seems a world away from the city, in part due to the surrounding 650 acre Tyron Creek State Park that buffers it from its surroundings on three sides with mature forest. Occupying seven acres, the farm is protected from the road by the park forest that wraps around its edge, so that when entering the farm via a dirt road, the visitor is enveloped by the forest until reaching the open clearing. The culture of this alternative world is immediately manifest in its structures: made of adobe, salvaged materials, and unfinished wood, even when empty, they speak of their use as community places that commune with the environment. The path continues through the farm, winding here and there under trees, into gardens, up terraces, and to building entrances, occasionally passing a meeting place marked by a circle of seats made of logs or other materials. There is obviously a inquisitive and engaging gardening pursuit here, with pots of various plants strewn around, in various stages of development, perhaps getting ready to graduate to the larger garden. An ample outdoor kitchen and eating area, as well as a community residence and a barn that houses both offices and goats, anchor the edges of the farm. Tryon Life Farm, Portland. Map from Tryon Life website. The farm website explains their vision of urban ecology as a network of social relationships, a way of understanding the economy of our movement as complex and interwoven, yet evolving agilely and coherently. This farm is a place of intersections, of urban and wild. It is informed by the urban world, yet buffered from it by forest, as if the visitors from the urban world are transformed in the process of movement through the forest to become something else, something organized and humane, yet a bit wild, in this hidden farm. Luscher Farm is not so much an urban farm as a suburban / rural edge farm. It happens to be located right at Portlands urban growth boundary, at Stafford and Rosemont Roads. Radiating from the site toward the city, the land use is first that of open space and farmland that meets suburban style housing. There is a church across the street, but the overall character of the area is of open space and farmland. The farm greets the road with a small driveway that leads to an old farmhouse. Further back, a large barn with activities inside, and other farm buildings, come in to view. There is an orderly arrangement
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Luscher Farm, Lake Oswego. Photo from City of Lake Oswego website.

of greenhouse and henhouse, and behind all of the buildings are fields. A short walk across the dirt road from the farm, in the field, is a well-marked organic test garden and community garden plots. The organic garden displays several methods of gardening, including keeping chicken roosts stashed here and there. The 100 acre farm is run by the City of Oswego, and is open to use for various groups, including the community gardens, a dog park, and a soccer field. For a quiet farm, it has become a center of controversy. At the heart of a triangle within housing developments, it has supporters trying to keep the open space adjacent to the farm intact. The differences between these urban farms show Diagram from Portland Plan Food Systems. that the spatial quality of each farm, including its boundaries, adjacencies, structures and access, help to define its character. While large scale urban farms on the edge of the city like Luscher Farm merely extend the agricultural edge condition of the urban growth boundary into the city, smaller integrated farms such as Zenger Farms adapt to the character of its surroundings and effectively chang the character of the surrounding city due to their presence. In even smaller farms, the community gardens that are scattered around the city make an impact on their communities. By spreading out acres of agricultural land into small pockets within the city, many neighborhoods see the benefits of a community garden. The scattered spatial Growing Gardens in Portland, Oregon. Whats Happening Portland Plan Food Systems. organization of the gardens has happened due to their Diagram from in Portland and the Region? opportunistic land use with the changing landscape Local Resources of the city. The community garden map shows the Somali-Bantu Resettlement Project influence of the gardens in terms of walking distances surrounding each garden. When understood in terms Portland State University MURP workshop project New Arrivals: of a one-mile radius surrounding each garden, they Options for Successful Resettlement of the Somali Bantu have an arguable impact on a large percentage of inner city Portland, where many residents would otherwise Immigrant Farmer Direct Marketing Workshop Report not be exposed to farming. Even smaller yet in their pdf scale, Growing Gardens are cultivated in residentss Portland Community Gardens program yards. They are created by volunteers for low-income htmresidents with free establishment, support, and education. When viewed as a part of a whole, the Community gardens are important neighborhood gathering places large urban farms, small community gardens, and that contribute to the citys parks and open space system and support neighborhood livability. backyard gardens form a network of opportunity - City of Portlands Urban Agricultural Resolution Reed Community Garden, SE Portland for education, recreation, and healthy food that is Reed Community Garden immediately accessible to residents. Image from The Diggable City Project The city of Portland is actively trying to make more community gardens available for residents. The popularity of the gardens is evident in the waiting lists to get a plot, as the city tries to make plots equitably accessible to all people. There are currently 35 community gardens in Portland. An effort is underway to increase that number to add 1,000 new garden
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The Diggable City Project

Community Gardens in Portland, Oregon.


plots for residents. (Nick Fish website). A map by the Bureau of Parks and Recreation shows that potential lots for gardens are scattered throughout the city. Opportunities range from small sites for a community garden that are around 7,500 square feet, to sites for large scale agriculture that are greater than onequarter acre. The spatially scattered community gardens are united through their shared goals and through their accessibility to all. All gardens have the opportunity to participate in a program called Produce for People, an organization that collects food donations INVENTORY for low-income residents. The gardens also support an educational program called childrens Garden 34 Program:, a summer and after-school program for Whats Happening in Portland and the Region? children. Each garden has a unique character shaped by its residents as it helps to improve the quality of life and create social ties among neighbors.

Maps from The Diggable Cities Project.

Summary of Public Lands Available for Agricultural Uses


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Green Roofs
The acres of flat roofs across every city in the U.S. represent a vast amount of unused space. The potential for environmental benefits has been recognized in municipal programs to promote the construction of green roofs, including a city-subsidized program in Portland. Eco-roofs are usually designed for aesthetic and environmental purposes, but they also have the potential to be designed for food production. A speculative estimate claims that the 14,000 acres of unshaded rooftops in New York City could feed up to 20 million people, if used for high intensity hydroponic farming. (Schwartz) A recent study in Toronto, Canada, from the University of Toronto, examined the estimated yield of rooftop farming, including maintenance costs, using seven common crops: beans, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, dry onions, tomatoes and peppers. They found that a 50 square meter (538 square foot) roof farm would produce approximately 1,050 kilograms (2,315 lbs) of annual produce, which is approximately $1,700 (Canadian dollars) net return. (12-Macro-Scale Food Production, Living Architecture Monitor)

Noble Rot Restaurant, Burnside Rocket Building, Portland. Image from The rooftop of the four-story Burnside Rocket Building is used by the chef of the Noble Rot Restaurant to grow herbs vegetables for specialty menu items. the restaurant. Some of the vegetables served directly from roof to plate include: mizuna, arugula, radishes, tomatoes, herbs, snow peas, lettuces, green beans. The 30 x 70 roof was initially designed with 150 square feet of ecoroof. Since then, containers have been added that use as much space as possible for the garden. (Boucher-Colbert)

Acres of flat roofs populate the southeast industral district of Portland. The City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development did a study on green roofs in the district and found that there are 670 acres of industrial area. Roofs make up 29% of area, making a total of 194 acres of roofs. In their study, they looked forward to 2050, when they estimated that roofs would occupy 55% of the industrial area. Their calculations found that if all of these roofs became green roofs, there would be a significant cooling effect, with a corresponding reduction in energy costs. Additionally, the 160 milliion gallons of stormwater that flows into the sewer system from the industrial district would be Industrial District of Southeast Portland. Image from reduced by 28% through mitigation by green roofs. If Portland Ecoroof Update. these roofs were also food vegetable gardens, they would have additional payback in food production.

Conceptual view of industrial district with green roofs. Image from Portland Ecoroof Update. concept page 21

Comparative Diagrams

Roof Gardens

Urban growth boundary edge

Alley Gardens

Farm within park

Community Garden

Railroad right-of-way

The nature of metroplitan region agriculture can be planned or opportunistic, scattered or cohesive. Planning large tracts of land designated for agricultural use, as in the peri-urban farms surrounding Portlands urban growth boundary, creates opportunites for large scale production in close proximity to the city, supporting a local economy with a strong rural-urban relationship in food production and consumption. The even closer relationship of agriculture within dense urban environments creates the opportunity for a different scale of relationship: neighbor to neighbor, garden to restaurant, student to learning garden. It introduces green space to the built environment in a productive and meaningful form. The varied forms of gardens are a reflection of the dynamic nature of the city where the creative effort of the community is a force that shapes the character of the urban fabric. In order to create a meaningful connection to agriculture, the Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture will incorporate gardens on its site. Examples in Portland and beyond show that the unique strength of urban agriculture is its innovative use of land in the city. Edge conditions, roofs and alleys, often considered uninhabitable spaces, These conditions can be found on almost any building site, and in every neighborhood. The building site will provide the opportunity for an investigation in how to incorporate the benefits of these conditions into the design.


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The selected site, at Water Avenue between Taylor and Salmon Streets, is in a transitional area where industry once thrived and new uses are populating the area. Like agriculture in the urban environment, often located in transitional edges of the urban fabric, the site lies at the edge of the industrial area, simultaneously bordered by the highway and the river. Adjacent buildings tell a story about burgeoning new businesses that have taken root over the ruins of former industry: to the north is the Eastside commerce Center, a former shipping terminal recently renovated for small business tenants and retail and restaurant establishments. Similarly, the Water Avenue Building to the northwest of the site, a former machinery warehouse, now houses small businesses and retail. Like the juxtapositions of nature and highway, old industry and new mixed use, the Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture similarly proposes to create a study in contrast by introducing a natural landscape integrated with the building design. It will connect to the green space on the river and relate to the businesses on Water Avenue. Located a few blocks from the future streetcar line, it will be accessible by public transportation. Adjacent to the Eastbank Esplanade, it will be immediately accessible to bicycle and pedestrian commuters. Additionally, its location in the central city makes it ideally located for urban and peri-urban farmers who may be coming from all parts of the metro area, while its proximity to PSU makes it a convenient location for an extension facility.


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Historic Development
Water Avenue has long been an industrial hub of Portland. As late as 1950, boat slips accommodated shipping traffic that brought commodities to the city. The Pacific railroad line on Southeast First Avenue turned in to Water Avenue, where lines ran out to docks at Willamette River. In 1924, industry in the Water and Salmon area included Agricultural Implements, Tacoma Brewing, an asphalt plant and a rubber factory. By 1950, a grocery distribution warehouse, a building materials warehouse, and a machinery warehouse dominated the intersection. Evolving transportation corridors, from shipping docks, to rail, to Interstate 5, all worked to shape the landscape of the site 1928 Water Avenue had view of the Willamette River and its surroundings.

1928 Sanborn Map

1950 Sanborn Map

1952 Aerial - before Interstate 5 (from Google Earth)


1970 Aerial - after Interstate 5 (From Google Earth)

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Surrounding Zones
The site is centrally located in Portland, in an area dominated by industrial use, but gradually transformed by a mixture of uses are introduced to the area. It is zoned for IG-1, a zone marked by established industrial use, with high building coverage on a grided street pattern. The zone typically limits retail and office use--a conditional use exception would be required for the proposed building, which would follow the lead of other mixed use buildings in this zone. There is no limit for FAR or height in zone IG-1, however, it would be appropriate to match adjacent buildings, which typically range from one to five stories. Similarly, while there are no minimum or maximum setback requirements for IG-1 zone, it would be appropriate to be sympathetic to the urban edge on Water Avenue, while making use of the setback leniancy for other edges. Agriculture is allowed in this zone, although it does not seem to have been developed anywhere in the vicinity.

Residential PSU


Industrial District

Residential & Small Commercial

Central Eastside Urban Employment Industrial Renewal District - Zoning Residential Heavy Industrial Map adapted from Portland Development Commision Central Eastside Zoning Map


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Birds eye View of Surrounding Context


Morrison Bridge

Views to Downtown and West Hills

Eastbank Esplanade


Hawthorne Bridge

Eastbank Industrial District

Future Streetcar Line

Interstate 5


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Birds eye View of Site

Water Avenue Commerce Center Empire Rubber Pratt & Larson Tile Vacant lot Eastbank Commerce Center

Willa mette R


SE Water Avenue


Eastbank Esplanade Interstate I-5 Landscaped berm I-5 exit to local streets and I-84 Pedestrian Connector to Esplanade

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Neighborhood Character
The area, populated by industrial buildings, many which have been arould for nearly a century, is in a state of transition. Like the nearby Grand Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard, Water Avenue is gradually starting to incorporate mixed use buildings that bring office, retail and restaurant to the area. The Eastbank Commerce Center (1 on the map) 5 tenants include offices, shops, a salon and the Clark & Lewis restaurant. To the northeast, the Water Avenue Commerce Center (2) includes a bakery and coffee school. Three blocks to the south, the Rivereast Center (3) houses architects, a fitness center, and offices. The newly renovated Olympic Mills Commerce Center (4), another mixed use office building, is about three blocks to the north, and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (5) is about a half a mile south on Water Avenue. The mix of old industry and new use makes this a good location for aspiring start up businesses, creative community groups and innovative research and education pursuits.

SITE 1 2 4

Solar Study

A solar study shows that with the insertion of a five story future building on the now vacant south lot, shadowing would be minimal and confined to the extreme southern edge of the site. June

Industrial use Mixed Use





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Neighborhood Food Production, Distribution and Consumption

SITE Clark & Lewis Restaurant Water Avenue Coffee Roasting / Bar Bunk Cafe Zee Cakes Bakery Hair of the Dog Beer Brewery The Tao of Tea Mitchell Wine Group

Daily Cafe at Rejuvenation Coava Coffee Roasters / Bar

Clark & Lewis Restaurant Image from Water Avenue Coffee Image from

Hair of the Dog Brewing - Tasting Room Image from

site page 29

Pedestrian and Public Transit Corridors


Drawing by Mayer/Reed. Images from American Society of Landscape Architects website.

Eastbank Esplanade The southwest corner of the site links to a path that leads to the esplanade. Directly east of the site is the Salmon Street Plaza for public festivals, and a boat dock. The esplanade is a bicycle/pedestrian corridor that connects the Burnside Bridge, Morrison Bridge and Hawthorne Bridge, and continues to the Springwater Corridor recreation trail. Site Future Streetcar The 3.3 mile extension of the existing streetcar loop is projected to be completed in 2012. It will encourage development and improvements along Grand Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and link the Industrial District with downtown and the Lloyd District.
Principal Contacts:


Kay Dannen, Community Relations 503-478-6404

Vicky Diede, City Project Manager 503-823-7137

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Visit for more information or call 503-478-6404.


Opportunity for Connecting Esplanade and Streetcar

Salmon Street

Water Avenue

Significant Buildings along Water Avenue


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Adjacent Qualities

Image from

View to downtown skyline Highway noise Ten foot slope down Site: 53,645 sq. ft Tenant parking Tenant parking

Parking lot Local Traffic

Pedestrian access


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Site Opportunities and Challenges

Connection to Eastbank Esplanade The sidewalk on the south side of the site leads under the highway overpass to the esplanade. The esplanade is a vital link in bicycle commuter trails, as well as a connector for pedestrians. There is an opportunity to create a welcoming entrance at the esplanade, while working with the challenge of the highway overpass. Not only a commuter link, the esplanade also is a place for festivals and recreation on the Salmon Plaza and the tour boat dock. Urban Edge Water Avenue is a main thoroughfare with traffic from the I-5 exit and visitors to OMSI. The design of the site has the opportunity to build on the urban edge to create a walkable environment on Water Avenue that connects to the retail and entertainment activities of the Eastbank Commerce Center and the Water Building to the north and northeast of the site. A walkable urban edge will encourage pedestrian traffic and connect to the esplanade. Highway Noise The noise from the highway is significant and will require mitigation. Possibilities include berming or a barrier wall, or a combination of the two. Additionally, the building configuration on the site could be used as a noise barrier. Views The site has a beautiful view to the downtown Portland skyline. Vantage points for views can be incorporated in upper levels of the building. Scale The site is about one and a quarter acres, but the footprint of the building will occupy just a portion of the site. Arrangment of the building, garden landscaping, and parking will want to take advantage of the scale difference.

vie w

to c


meeting the street grid

protection from highway

open to gardens

Connecting the River and the Eastside


Contrasting Planes
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In a building of education, inquiry and innovation, places for collaboration create opportunities for the interchange of ideas. Garden spaces that promote research and education create further opportunities for sharing of ideas in innovative agricultural technology. The following precedent studies examine two buildings that are dedicated to research and education in forestry and horticulture. The studies show the integral relationship between public space and research space, and the interaction between climate and building. Additionally, they demonstrate how the buildings have integrated landscape into their design. As a further study into how integrated landscape can influence building form, three additional precedent studies compare different types of roof gardens and terraces in unrelated building programs. The studies yield an informative comparison in access, visibility and use of the landscaping. The reciprocal effect of landscape and building form creates unique places for collaboration. Resulting views, movement, and a dynamic of interaction with the building surroundings demonstrate on a small scale the larger opportunities for meaningful formal interactions and the social benefit of agriculture in the urban environment.

academic and research



study in building form



precendent page 35

Institute for Forestry and Nature Research (now Alterra)

Wageningen, The Netherlands Completed 1998 Architect: Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner

The institute, now known as Alterra, is an environmental research facility affiliated with Wageningen University and Research Centre. Composed of offices and laboratories, the 3-story, 127,000 square foot institute is both surrounded by, and wrapped around landscaped gardens. The atrium courtyards are a defining feature of the building, enclosed on three sides by office and laboratory wings, and glazed on the roof and south facade for daylight. The atriums play multiple roles: they provide undefined multi use free space, introduce landscape into the building, and assist in climate control for optimal energy efficiency. Unpaved and showcasing a diversity of plants and ponds, the atriums improve air quality and provide shading. Lounge areas and meeting places are scattered throughout, making this an enjoyable space for staff. Image from Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner.

Image from Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner.

precendent page 36

The building is organized so that the office wing and communal areas have views out to the atriums, and open walkways connect the wings through the landscaped space. The functional laboratory spaces are in a north wing separate from the atrium. By placing large portions of the office wing facade on the interior buffered area of the atrium, the volume to envelope ratio is efficient, and the materials on the interior facade are protected, enabling the use of lightly finished wood and large amounts of glass. Daylighting through the atrium is largely through the glass roof, bringing optimal skylight, but avoiding low east and west light blocked by the building massing. In the winter, light enters through the south facade, warming the building. The atriums contribute to energy efficiency by moderating temperatures between inside and outside. In the summer, roof shades mitigate intense sunlight, and filtered sunlight contributes toward evaporative cooling via the ponds that helps to lower air temperatures. The cooled air of the atrium helps to cool the rest of the building and night ventilation aids in cooling. In the winter, solar collection aids in heating the atrium. Heat that escapes the offices facing the atrium is trapped in the atrium, helping to heat the atrium and moderating heat loss through the interior

Images and drawings from Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner.


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facade. The atriums themselves are not heated, but through the interplay of climate between building and outdoors, they are usable year round. The offices facing the atrium are ventilated through the windows. Each office wing has an exhaust air extractor to draw air in through the windows. The cooling effects of the atrium along with the ventilation make air conditioning unnecessary. An underfloor heating system is used in winter.

Images and drawings from Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner.

precendent page 38

Center for Urban Horticulture, Merrill Hall, University of Washington

Seattle, Washington Completed 2005 Original Architect: Howland Russell Addition and Remodel Architect: The Miller Hull Partnership

Merrill Hall, at the edge of the University of Washington campus, is part of a complex of several buildings old and new, including conference buildings and a greenhouse. The new building, at 19,670 square feet, contains a library, a herbarium, academic offices, laboratories, and classrooms. It has academic and outreach programs that bring up to 100,000 people to the building annually. A greenhouse defines the entrance to the building. Multifunctional, it is also functions as an informal gathering space. Cradled within the L-shaped building, it has glass facades on the north and east sides, facing out to a courtyard. There is a graduated change from building to gardens, as the greenhouse sits in the paved courtyard which leads out to the cultivated gardens.

Image from

1. 2. 3. 4.

New Project Existing Conference Existing Greenhouse Gardens

Drawing from


page 39

Natural ventilation is used for most of the building via operable windows and trickle vents. This provides cooling for all areas of the building except the library, which needs mechanical cooling. Passive ventilation is aided by a solar chimney effect created in both the stairwell and openings in the greenhouse roof. Windows with overhangs bring in daylighting that is shaded from intense summer sun. Water is efficiently used through collection of rainwater runoff from roofs and the courtyard to a cistern. The collected water is used for irrigation in a subsurface drip system, helping to restore natural hydrological flows.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Entry Library Herbarium Commons greenhouse Existing Courtyard Demonstration green roof Rain garden

Drawing from

Image from

precendent page 40

Elementary School
Paris, France Completed 1998 Architect: Hamonic - Masson Architects

Occupying a narrow lot in a dense area of Paris, the building massing addresses the street in a simple urban facade while opening up to a rear courtyard with a raised structure of classrooms with a green roof that lightly winds its way through the space. The enclosed, private nature of the courtyard allows for a playful interaction between interior and exterior that is not possible on the formal street faade. An interplay of mass and void creates an introspective space that brings the green roof into view of building occupants, while creating usable space in the courtyard. The building form accomplishes this in a number of ways: Stepping down from a large, tall mass in front to lighter mass in rear Raising part of the structure on thin columns Using transparent materials on all sides of the second floor mass in the courtyard Dynamic movement of the second floor plan through the courtyard in contrast

Images from

precendent page 41

to the enclosing adjacencies The green roof is an integral part of the design that brings natural views to classrooms in an otherwise dense urban environment. Not only the courtyard mass, but also the five-story front mass is covered in green roof. Although it appears that they are not accessible, a terrace on the fifth floor gives outdoor access and a view over the green roof and courtyard. In contrast to the orthogonal lines of the building, the landscape on the roof is a hilly terrain. The contrast brings interest to the view, as the hills alternately block and open up the view of adjacent buildings. The building is successful in bringing light and views of nature to the classrooms. The playful form in the courtyard brings a dynamic feel to the outdoor space when viewed from the interior. The courtyard is likely most successful in the summer when strong overhead sun and the unusual shape creates a play of light and shadow on the ground.

Images and drawings from

precendent page 42

Mountain Dwellings
Copenhagen, Denmark Completed 2008 Architect: BIG Architects with JDS

Rising liked stacked building blocks over a residential area of Copenhagen, this apartment building gives each resident an individual green terrace with a southern view overlooking the neighborhood. The green spaces are on exhibition to the neighborhood, where ostensibly any activity on the terrace is in public view, and in fact the residents activity inside the glass faade facing the terrace is also open to view. From a distance, the building has the appearance of a structure built into a hill, attracting attention in the midst of a low rise, low density residential neighborhood. The building form is essentially created by placing eighty identical apartments side by side in ten rows in plan, then elevating each successive row above the one to the south. If they had been stacked vertically, the apartments would have taken a fraction of the footprint. The large footprint is justified by placing parking below the apartments so that the structure is one-third apartments and two-

Images and drawings from


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thirds parking (much more than needed by residents). As a parking structure, the building is a great example of multiple-use, where parking does not need daylight, and the residences need generous daylight. As a residential design, it would be impossible without an unrelated program like parking below, or a large hillside on which to build. The exhibitionist nature of the landscape will likely become more pronounced as the landscaping grows from its initial small starts in the planter beds. If residents are able to grow their own choice of plants, each terrace could have a unique identity that contrasts with the repetitious nature of the building itself. Using the concept of usable outdoor landscape as a driver in the design has resulted in a unique building form.

Images from

precendent page 44

Gary Comer Youth Center

Chicago, Illinois Completed 2006 Architect: John Ronan

As a community space, this building both reaches out to the neighborhood and creates a safe, secluded space within. Support spaces on the perimeter surround a series of stacked large open spaces in the center: an interchangeable theater space and gymnasium on the first/second levels, and a roof garden punctuated by skylights on the third level. Like the theater/gymnasium, the 8,160 square foot garden is completely surrounded by building mass, making it invisible to the street. The roof garden is used as an outdoor classroom for the community centers horticulture program where children can participate with a feeling of safety from the street. In 2009, it produced over 1,000 lbs. of food, used by the centers caf, local restaurants, and students. While the garden is protected from the street, it is interactive with the interior activities of the building. On all four sides, windows look out onto the garden from corridors and offices, bringing daylight into the space and effectively giving the perimeter spaces a narrow floor plate.

Image from

Image from

Drawings from Detail in Process

precendent page 45

Images from

precendent page 46

Comparison of Form
Terrace Human Scale Accessible Views Elevated Courtyard Safety Privacy Interactive with Interior Courtyard Green Roofs Dynamic Interactive with interior Atrium Greenhouses Climate Control Multi-functional Interactive with Interior Greenhouse Facade Gateway Entry Accessible Exhibition Statement Social Space Transitional space Accessible Sociable Introspective Secluded Exterior Room Secluded Exhibition/Iconic Private Access

Each style of integrated landscape has a unique way of interacting with the building, its environment, and users. A comparison shows the formal qualities that can be taken from multiple examples to create a unique interpretation of integrated landscape. The multifunctional Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture has the opportunity to incorporate qualities of both exhibition and seclusion, views and privacy, dynamism and contemplative space. The means of creating accessible collaborative spaces in the precedent studies--private access terraces, public entry social space, interactive courtyards--are informative for an investigation into shaping the building form.


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The vision to achieve economic, social, and ecological benefits in sustainable food and agriculture through cross-disciplinary collaboration is the organizing principle for the building. Its occupants will pursue diverse goals under this umbrella in business, academics, research, and community pursuits. The occupants are classified by three different programs with this shared vision but having different spatial and organizational needs. As the anchor tenant, PSUs Institute for Metropolitan Agriculture will dominate the building use, occupying about forty percent of the square footage. Another twenty-five percent of the space will be used by smaller tenants that are business, community, and government oriented. Finally, the retail and restaurant space will occupy about ten percent of the area on street level. They will be tied together by their shared dedication to the vision and benefit from the proximity in the building. The three programs will have access to one another so that multi-purpose spaces such as laboratories can be shared among users. Landscaped gardens will tie together the spaces as a cohesive form while the distinction of space will allow each program type to develop a suitable functional organizational scheme that ties in to the whole. Within the atrium and landscaped spaces, meeting rooms, networking and casual social spaces will enable collaboration among all occupants and visitors. Visitors will be welcomed to the public gardens and atrium space through an exhibit area.

Institute for Metropolitan Agriculture


Business & Community Tenant Spaces

Retail, Restaurant and Exhibit Space


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Programming Precedent
The major program types to occupy The Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture - academic education/laboratory and small business tenant space - have individual organizational requirements, but also have program needs that overlap. Recent innovations in cultural attitudes in business and research have reinvented the way these building types are spatially organized. Precedent studies reveal how these spaces have evolved and the differences and commonalities between the two programs. Historically, academic classrooms and research laboratories were designed for traditional lectures and strictly defined closed room labs. Recent trends in teaching methods, cross-disciplinary studies, communication methods, and rapid changes in technology have changed the way these spaces are designed. A new team-based work strategy requires shared research space, where open communication is facilitated. Typically, large area shared labs accomodate most research, with small dedicated space for specific equipment and specialized work. Additionally, flexibility is needed to accomodate changing technology and reconfiguration of space. Similarly, the modern classroom encourages a spirit of collaboration by creating an interactive space for dynamic team based activities. The classroom is designed to allow digital communication. The laboratory and classroom are often combined, so that a large space is divided into zones for teamwork, research, and support equipment. The spaces can be adaptable to be used for small events in crossdisciplinary collaboration. (Watch et al) The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Kroon Hall is an example of a flexible teaching and research building with social areas for collaboration. A ground floor lounge and a fourth floor study and social area are connected by a skylit atrium in the center of the building. The atrium also creates casual meeting places among the classes, offices and labs. A library and auditorium are connected to the atrium. Similar uses are grouped together and modular in design so as to facilitate areas that could be used for multiple functions and can be modified for changes in use in the future. Most spaces receive natural light within the narrow floor plate. The most frequently used areas are on the perimeter to have the greatest access to light, and support spaces are located centrally. The library and conference rooms are easily

Level 1 classroom conference rooms

undergrad program ctr Level 2 student services


librarian office

faculty offices and research

Level 3 faculty offices and research

deans suite Level 4 auditorium classrooms

environment (study/social) center Kroon Hall, Yale University. Atrium image courtesy of Greensource website. Floor plans courtesy of Yale F&ES website.

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accessible on the first floor for visitors. The Global Ecology Center is designed for staff researchers who divide their time between office and lab work, while also spending time off-site in field work. Because of the continually changing nature of the work, the space was designed for flexibility in expansion and contraction of teams by creating open shared labs and offices. The space is dominated by laboratories (40%), with office and conference occupying most of the rest of the space (37%). A narrow floorplate brings daylight in to the majority of space on the perimeter, with the less frequently used meeting rooms in the center. The labs require mechanical ventilation, but the open spaces have natural ventilation that is possible via operable windows and a stack effect exhaust through upper level clerestories. Like academic buildings, small business incubators also are designed for flexibility and collaboration. Small business incubators have seen a recent resurgence since the original was founded in 1959 in a warehouse in New York City. In the past, most incubators would accept any type of start-up company with potential, but now they are usually focused on a particular industry, providing facilities that cater to the type of businesses they serve. The focus enables supportive collaboration and builds on shared resources. An unbuilt example by Mithun, Kitsap SEED was designed to create a supportive environment for start-up clean technology businesses that has ties to educational and governmental institutions. Laboratories, conference rooms and other support spaces would be shared, lessening the burden for tenants, and creating opportunities for collaboration. Their design envisions small private tenant offices centrally clustered, and labs clustered separately. The separation of uses would make it possible to use the most efficient method of ventilation for each space. In Portland, a 40,000 square foot small business incubator located downtown provides a variety of labs and offices for up to 25 companies in the green tech, IT, and biosciences. The Portland State Business Accelerator website offers the following spaces currently for lease: laboratories in sizes of 240, 698, and 714 square feet, and offices in sizes of 391, 1366, 926 and 1719 square feet. (PSBA, 2010). Their office spaces typically range from a few hundred square feet to 3,500 square feet. They offer shared space for

Carnegie Institution of Washington Global Ecology Center. Image and floor plans courtesy of AIA / COTE Top Ten Green Projects website.

Kitsap SEED (unbuilt). Graphics Courtesy of The Carbon Neutral Design Project website

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conference and meeting rooms, kitchen and break rooms, and server space. They also have access to research assistance through a partnership with Portland State University, where they can consult with researchers and hire students. The Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center provides another example of a multi-tenant office building that forms a community based on a shared vision. Tenants include governmental, business and non-profit groups that are dedicated to sustainability, community, and social responsibility. A large atrium that includes informal meeting places and educational exhibits connects the tenants on the three floors. The first floor, occupied by retail and restaurants, welcomes the public and gives the building a vibrant social atmosphere. The organizational models for academic education and research facilities and small business incubators emphasize flexibility and shared resources. By putting both programs into the Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, there is opportunity for even greater efficiency by sharing resources. Furthermore, collaboration between program participants can result in mutual benefit. Small businesses can gain access to knowledge within the academic institution and students and researchers are exposed to new innovations in start-up businesses. Bringing the public in to the space through community organizations, exhibits, and retail and restaurant space will create a vibrant social space and connect the community to the centers shared vision.


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Analysis: Institute of Metropolitan Agriculture

PSU has recently established the School of the Environment, a new managing institution for the departments of Environmental Sciences and Management, Geology and Geography, and the Oregon Water Science Center. For the purpose of this thesis, a fourth department will be added to the School of the Environment called the Institute of Metropolitan Agriculture. It will differentiate itself from the Department of Agricultural Science at Oregon State University by specifically focusing on small-scale farming, organic farming, innovative movements in agricultural production, peri-urban and urban farming, using the Portland Metropolitan area as a testing ground for larger ideas that can be applied globally in metropolitan areas. Facilities will be shared for community education courses, including adult farming classes and K-12 outreach. Its location near to, but off of campus, will extend its reach into the community and add needed space to the PSU campus. As both a research and teaching facility, the program requires classrooms, laboratories and offices for faculty. Additionally, a small library will house relevant materials, a large kitchen will support food development research, and an auditorium will accomodate large gatherings. Meeting rooms, study / social spaces, and casual gathering places will all promote a collaborative atmosphere. A small administrative office that is associated with the larger PSU administration will assist students. Architectural Values Classrooms / Offices: Daylighting Flexibility Natural Ventilation Easily Accessible Laboratories: Mechanical Ventilation Privacy Proximity to classes and offices Auditorium: Acoustic separation Easily accessible Admin Offices: Daylighting Natural Ventilation
program page 53


Visible to Public Daylighting Acoustical Separation Centrally located Movement through space Connection to atrium


Institute for Metropolitan Agriculture Spacial Analysis

CLASSROOMS 8 @ 900 SF 7,200 SF

CLOSED LABS SHARED LAB 8 @ 300 SF 3,000 SF 2,400 SF




TOILETS (2%) 550 SF CONFERENCE 2 @ 300 SF 600 SF

MECH (5%) 1,400 SF




STORAGE (3%) 800 SF

CIRCULATION (20%) 5,500 SF


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Analysis: Tenant Space - Business and Community

Tenant spaces will be flexible to accommodate a wide variety of users with different space needs. The spaces could be combined or divided into larger or smaller parcels. There will be large spaces of about 3,000 square feet that could accommodate a business that needs a large workspace like a food processing center. A mid size space of about 2,000 square feet will accommodate a small business with several offices. Finally, small community groups or start up businesses with modest needs could occupy small spaces of about 500 square feet. Community and small business tenants might include: Friends of Portland Community Gardens Community Food Security Coalition Learning Gardens Laboratory Growing Gardens Edible Portland Sustainable Harvest Chefs Food Center (processing) Green Roof Designers Organic Food Specialties Hydroponic Research Company Aquaponic Research Company
CLASSROOMS 8 @ 900 SF Other institutional 7,200 SF

tenants might include: State of Oregon Agriculture Urban Outreach City of Portland Urban Growth Bounty

CLOSED LABS SHARED LAB 8 @ 300 SF 3,000 SF 2,400 SF



Resources shared with the academic wing will include meeting rooms, lounge area, laboratories and kitchens. AUDITORIUM Architectural Values: Daylighting Privacy
4,000 SF

TOILETS (2%) 550 SF

Security Collaborative Space

CONFERENCE 2 @ 300 SF 600 SF

MECH (5%) 1,400 SF

ADMIN LOUNGE LIBRARY LOBBY / Business and 200 SF 2,500 SF RECEPTION OFFICES Community Tenant 2,000 SF 500 SF Spacial Analysis


STORAGE (3%) 800 SF

CIRCULATION (20%) 5,500 SF

TENANT - MEDIUM 5 @ 1,500 SF 7,500 SF MECH (5%) 900 SF

TOILETS (2%) 400 SF

TENANT - LARGE 2 @ 3,000 SF 6,000 SF

TENANT - SMALL 10 @ 500 SF 5,000 SF

STORAGE (3%) 500 SF

CIRCULATION (20%) 3,700 SF


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Analysis: Retail and Restaurant

The retail and restaurant tenants to occupy the ground floor will support the vision for sustainable food and agriculture. They will bring the public into the building, and create a street level face to the surrounding community. To support the public space within the building, they will also have a face to an interior circulation and social space.
RESEARCH AND TEACHING GARDENS HERB & VEGETABLE GARDEN As a supporter of local AGRICULTURE INSTITUTE FOR METROPOLITAN food, the restaurant will RESTAURANT 25,000 SF 10,000 SF demonstrate food production within the building site TENANT COMMUNITY GARDENS 10,000 SF

in its own gardens. Patrons of the restaurant will have a view of the gardens, making the farm to table cycle EXHIBIT 1,000 SF readily apparent. Street views as well as garden views will make the urban - agricultural connectionKITCHEN STAFF LOUNGE RESEARCH part of 1,000 SF 500 SF the experience. The retail facade to the street will engage with the adjacent Water Avenue Building and Eastside LABS - SM - LG Commerce Center with complementary100 SF and LABS300 SF scale 4@ 2@ entries. The competitive retail spaces will each have 600 SF 400 SF street frontage and contribute to a pedestrian friendly sidewalk.
ATRIUM & INDOOR GARDEN 2,500 SF AT GROUND LEVEL TOTAL 10,000 SF ALL LEVELS CONF - SM 4 @ 200 SF 800 SF CONF - LG 2 @ 800 SF 1,600 SF TOILETS (2%) 300 SF MECH (5%) 800 SF

STORAGE (3%) 500 SF

CIRCULATION (20%) 3,200 SF

Retail and Restaurant Spacial Analysis





TOILETS (2%) 300 SF

MECH (5%) 800 SF




STORAGE (3%) 500 SF

CIRCULATION (20%) 3,200 SF


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4,000 SF 2 @ 300 SF Analysis: Atrium and Shared Resources 600 SF



The atrium will serve as circulation space, social area, meeting place and demonstration garden. Serving as an open space to the rest of the building, it will bring LIBRARY LOBBY / light and air ADMIN levels. to all LOUNGE The public will be welcomed into the atrium through its connection to the ground level retail and restaurant establishments. Year round gardens will be on display for visitors, and an exhibit space will provide educational -materials. TENANT MEDIUM
5 @ 1,500 SF 7,500 through Scattered SF RECEPTION OFFICES 2,000 SF 500 SF 200 SF 2,500 SF

STORAGE (3%) 800 SF

CIRCULATION (20%) 5,500 SF

the atrium will be casual seating areas and enclosed meeting pods for use by the building tenants. Both the retail customer traffic and business and academic users will intermingle for a vibrant social place.
10 @ 500 The main3,000 SF to the Institute for MetropolitanSF 2 @ lobby 5,000 SF 6,000 SF Agriculture will be entered through the atrium. Also immediately accessible from the lobby, the library and auditorium will be visible. The auditorium will be available for community meetings and events. TENANT - LARGE TENANT - SMALL

TOILETS (2%) 400 SF

MECH (5%) 900 SF

STORAGE (3%) 500 SF

CIRCULATION (20%) 3,700 SF

Requiring ample daylight for the gardens, the atrium will have skylights and south facing windows. Upper levels of the building will look out onto the atrium and benefit from the daylight. Other shared resource space for the tenants will be separate from the public atrium and only accessible from private areas.

25,000 SF 10,000 SF


EXHIBIT 1,000 SF RESEARCH KITCHEN STAFF LOUNGE 1,000 SF 500 SF TOILETS (2%) 300 SF LABS - SM 4 @ 100 SF 400 SF LABS - LG 2 @ 300 SF 600 SF MECH (5%) 800 SF


CONF - SM 4 @ 200 SF 800 SF

CONF - LG 2 @ 800 SF 1,600 SF

STORAGE (3%) 500 SF

CIRCULATION (20%) 3,200 SF


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Analysis: Outdoor Gardens

Outdoor gardens will not only be on the site surrounding the building, but also on rooftops. The will serve all of the tenants and have educational value for students. The restaurant, as a demonstration of farm to table CLASSROOMS food production, will have vegetable and herbCLOSED LABS 8 @ 900 SF 8 @ 300 SF producing gardens. About 10,000 square feet2,400 SF will 7,200 SF enable the restaurant to produce a significant amount of food.

Tenants who occupy the building may have garden space to use for business purposes, or as community AUDITORIUM CONFERENCE 4,000 SF gardens for their employees. Small plots will be 2 @ 300 SF 600 SF allotted from about 10,000 square feet. The majority of garden space will be used by The Institute for Metropolitan Agriculture for research and ADMIN LOUNGE LIBRARY for LOBBY / outreach education. Gardens will be separated SF 2,500 SF RECEPTION OFFICES 200 gardens have a high degree for use, so that research 2,000 SF 500 SF of security in contrast to more accessible community education gardens. The unique security, views, and accessiblity requirements MEDIUM garden will be achieved through TENANT - for each 5 @ 1,500 SF an appropriate integration with the building. Secure 7,500 SF research gardens will be on limited access rooftops, while terraced rooftops will provide greater access and views for users. Gardens on the ground will have greater social value with more public access and views.
TENANT - LARGE 2 @ 3,000 SF 6,000 SF TENANT - SMALL 10 @ 500 SF 5,000 SF

TOILETS (2%) 550 SF

MECH (5%) 1,400 SF

STORAGE (3%) 800 SF

CIRCULATION (20%) 5,500 SF

TOILETS (2%) 400 SF

MECH (5%) 900 SF

STORAGE (3%) 500 SF

CIRCULATION (20%) 3,700 SF

Outdoor Gardens Landscaping on Site and Rooftops - Approximate Areas






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Relationships Diagram


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Program Challenges and Opportunities

Meeting the needs of the program will present a challenge that will shape the building form. Places of collaboration and shared resources, as well as public and private gardens, create different levels of accessibility, views and openness that will need to be modulated for each use. The nature of the atrium will require further investigation. The Behnisch & Behnisch precedent study showed the sucessful integration of garden, collaborative space, and office within an atrium. Evaluating this program within that example and modifying for the additional program requirements will be informative. The large amount of space required for gardens will require efficient use of rooftops. Previously presented precedents showed a number of ways to incorporate green roofs. Each program within the building can be evaluated for desired architectural qualities and incorporate the form of green roof that best matches its needs.


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design goals
Urban Integration Examples have shown that there are many ways to integrate agriculture in the urban environment. In Portland, agriculture is spread out in small plots, scattered throughout the city. This mode has the benefit of connecting intimately and uniquely to the neighborhood to which it belongs. The connection of the gardens happens in a social networking sense, where websites create awareness about the network as a whole. The design will connect to the urban agriculture network in the sense of providing another node of agriculture that uses the underutilized space below the adjacent highway, while becoming a hub for the rhizomatic network or urban gardens. Collaborative Space The multidisciplinary program provides an opportunity to provide open public space that facilitates collaboration. The space will contain indoor gardens, exhibits, casual and formal meeting space. Investigative iterations will be used as a tool to create this space. Mechanical Integration The integration of landscape to building provides a unique opportunity for a symbiotic relationship between mechanical systems. The precedent by Behnisch and Behnisch deserves further investigation on atrium and building cooperative systems. Additionally, greenhouse examples such as Gotham Greens can provide insight into how to create an interchange between greenhouse and building. Materials and Form The site location provides opportunity to connect with the existing historical industrial architecture of the area. Investigations into material and ways of matching scale in a modern aesthestic will help to inform the design.

continuing research and design

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