Friday, December 5, 2008

So Groc

We've mentioned in prior posts that we're working on designing a co op grocery store/kitchen incubator/artist's studio in Old North St. Louis. Our project is moving along slowly, with many fits and stops. But ultimately, it is moving forward. We're taking this existing building on 13th st and St. Louis ave. It sits on a large lot and has a small community garden funded by a grant from Missouri Foundation for Health. Our main goals with this project are to 1) provide a venue for healthy, good food in the Old North area, 2) create habitable, pleasant space, 3) reuse this old building in an interesting way.
Here are some images from the work we've completed so far.
That's an elevation DJ drew of the north side of the building. The grey part is the artist's studio. The boxes on the roof are greenhouses and the red part is the actual grocery store. The original building was built in the early 1900s. There was an addition made (the artist studio) in the 70s. At this point, much of the building was clad in ugly brick. Since the artists studios are distinctly different from the original building (where the grocery and incubator will be housed), we didn't feel right keeping the ugly brick veneer. Instead, we're proposing taking the brick off and exposing the concrete masonry unit construction.
This is a drawing Hitomi made of the same elevation that takes DJ's ideas further. Here, the blank, windowless walls are cut into to 1) allow light into the space, 2) help with ventilation, and 3) break up the facade, giving it a more human, less monolithic scale. Hitomi proposed the idea of cutting these notches into the wall (the lower half of the drawing) to do just that. We're thinking of covering the walls between these notches with advertisements for the grocery or simply, pictures of veggies and maybe installing benches along these spaces, as well.
This is a drawing I made that we all helped photoshop. It's of the loading dock/east/west facades. Here, we're exploring rooftop access and how that could work. We're proposing having a staircase that leads to the roof but begins inside the building. We're proposing this for safety reasons (Roofs are dangerous, you cant just have random people climbing up there willy nilly) and because it's kinda cool.

We made a rough Sketch Up model. It has helped us quite a bit with figuring out some of the spaces, but we're still far from done. The following screenshot looks down into the building. Please not the elevated deck/covered eating area on the right (south) side of the image. This deck will help to soften the transition from the inside of the building to the garden on the opposite side of the lot, as well as help enclose and define a playground we're proposing for this part of the site.

Here's a plan. Again, it's rough. The bottom rectangle house the grocery (far left), incubator (square-ish thing near the center), bathrooms and an office/storage space (far right). The rectangle above all that stuff is where the artist studios will be (note hitomi's notches along the uppermost/northern wall). The deck is the angled form at the very bottom.

I know these were all pretty superficial analyses of the building; we're still trying to work out all the kinks. So, please, forgive the roughness. But we'd love some feedback!

Hug Life,

Antonio Pacheco

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