WORKac built New York City’s first Edible Schoolyard, transforming a half-acre of the existing parking lot into a thriving organic garden with a greenhouse, an indoor kitchen classroom and a “Systems Wall” articulated as a series of playful volumes covered in a bright blue rubber coating.
WORKac and Edible Schoolyard NYC transformed a half-acre of the existing parking lot of the Arturo Toscanini School in Gravesend, Brooklyn, into a thriving organic garden.
To ensure a true four-seasons garden experience for the students, WORKac incorporated a greenhouse together with the indoor kitchen classroom. The building is composed of three major components, each of which is articulated through the use of different materials: the greenhouse is a polycarbonate and aluminum structure; the steel-framed kitchen classroom is clad in a pixilated pattern of colored shingles; and a “Systems Wall” at the rear is articulated as a series of playful volumes covered in a bright blue rubber coating.
The Kitchen Classroom provides space for up to thirty students to prepare and enjoy meals with vegetables harvested from the school’s organic garden as well as office space for Edible Schoolyard NYC to accommodate on-site staff. The facade of the kitchen classroom is clad in a low-cost material – cementitious shingles, which are reinterpreted as pixels and utilized in a tighter than usual pattern to make a graphic flower pattern inspired by Venturi Scott Brown’s Best facade. The facade also shapes the interior space through the placement of porthole windows and circular skylights at the center of the flowers, creating a dynamic and fun atmosphere. Inside the Kitchen Classroom, cabinets lining the walls are painted in a thirteen color gradient based on the colors of the facade.
The Systems Wall condenses all of the building’s systems into one zone to make visible both site-wide and building-specific systems. The building’s shape is designed to maximize the collection of rainwater, which is used to irrigate the garden, by aligning the roof angles over the greenhouse and the kitchen classroom. Rainwater is collected in a cistern within the curved portion of the Systems Wall, where additional volumes enclose a tool shed as well as a restroom and A/C units atop the largest volume within the wall, which also forms the entrance to the building. The bright blue color and the articulated volumes of the Systems Wall are designed to pique student’s curiosity about the sustainable systems that support the building and garden.
P.S. 216, Edible Schoolyard, Arturo Toscanini School, Gravesend, Brooklyn, New York
Program: garden, kitchen and greenhouse