This major project involves the creation of a Holistic Center on an 80 acre site in the Midwest. With a goal of becoming a tourist attraction, the complex will be home to a number of facilities, including an Algae-to- Biofuel Building, Crop Production/Learning Center, Nutraceutical Building, Farmer’s Market, Retail Shops, Fish Market, and an Administrative Office Building.
Organizationally, the site is composed of three bands: production to the north, the 'downtown' in the center, and community components at the south end. The north band includes the manufacturing and production hub with clearly separate circulation for trucks, rail connectivity, and access to loading docks. The Algae-to- Biofuel Building is located on a prominent site with the closed loop production system being an integral part of the architecture and visible to all passersby. A curvilinear central building – the Crop Production/Learning Center – sits adjacent to the Algae-to- Biofuel Building and embraces one side of the public square. The Nutraceutical Building is located on a more discrete site for security reasons.
All of the buildings will be tied together visually by means of a first floor glass storefront and sunshades on the south façade. To give each facility a separate identity, the sunshades will vary in color and material. Solar panels atop the buildings will reduce energy costs, as will a wind turbine, to be located in the northeast corner of the property.
The middle band utilizes encompasses a central square to bring things down to a pedestrian scale. This is the main gathering space of the complex, with the atrium of the crop production building in full view. While the actual production will be hidden, the atrium provides an opportunity for a dramatic demonstration of vertical farming and other sustainable strategies in use on the site. A water feature and monumental steps for resting and eating are the focal point of the square.
Connectivity with the community is an important aspect of the project. To strengthen the attractiveness to the public, the site opens onto community gardens, biking and walking paths, and playing fields. A footbridge over the adjacent railroad connects to the residential neighborhood to the south.
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