Students in TEC 4738 Architectural Design Studio III have begun work with the City of Lenoir (NC) and a group of master gardeners to develop a programming study and schematic design proposals for a covered teaching classroom on the grounds of Unity Park and Community Gardens. As a member of North Carolina Community Garden Partners, Unity Park strives “to create connections and provide resources that empower and inspire people to support gardens that grow food, build community, and cultivate justice.”
According to the City of Lenoir, the purpose of Unity Park and Community Gardens “is to encourage and educate Caldwell County residents about the importance of eating healthy and about community gardening as a way to increase access to affordable, healthy foods.” The group of eighteen senior Building Science – Architectural Technology & Design students are currently in the “deep dive” research phase of the project, seeking to understand various lenses of project sustainability related to equity, environment, and economic parameters. The ultimate objective for the project is to develop proposals for an outdoor classroom facility with supporting functions on behalf of the project sponsor that (1) educates individuals, (2) engages the community, and (3) enables sustainable practices.
As the students are learning in their program of study, architecture has the potential, when executed with thought and empathy, to adapt the context of the physical environment to support changes in the in the social health and well-being of a community. The scope and significance of their current design problem, as a result, is far greater than the scale of a single structure, requiring a broad view of the problem, its challenges, and its opportunities. In order to do that well, these design students are being asked to first define the design problem through research and analysis – or, as Einstein so eloquently put it: “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute solving it.”
Stay tuned to stbe.appstate.edu to learn more about this story as it develops during the fall semester!
Note: image shows students meeting with David Horn, Chief Volunteer Officer at Unity Park and Community Gardens