Community CROPS

A community living room for food with a backyard garden

  • Type Commercial,
  • Location Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Status Concept
  • Date 2008
  • Collaborators


    Min | Day

Community CROPS is a small, local non-profit that helps families in Lincoln, Nebraska grow food for themselves and the community. The organization coordinates sixteen community garden sites, a training farm, a Community Supported Agriculture program, Farmers’ Market, and educational programming. The new Community Food Center, the first of several, is a collecting point for food produced by gardeners throughout the city.

Organized by a computational script developed by the architects, the garden is scalable and ranges from small novice plots to large producer gardens. In contrast to the fixed grid of the Midwest landscape, the gardens are a field of constant transformation that adapts to the needs of its users.

The building houses all of the enclosed spaces in one large room, sub-dividable for food, work and education. Public meeting space and farmers’ market share a multipurpose environment that is sustainable, enjoyable and open to the gardens in the center of a typical Lincoln neighborhood. The building is proposed as a zero-net energy facility with natural light and a cultivated garden roof.

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Building Construction

The design of the roof and floor are formally similar to the garden plan but result from the optimized of local forces. Rather than constructing a generic structure of like modules, the building is optimized for the specific structural forces in each area of the building. Roof members are spaced according to actual loads and control joints in the floor slab record the actual range of stresses across the open plan.


AIA Central States Design Award jury comment:
“Using non-Euclidean logics that derive from leaf structure, a new organizational system is achieved that works its way systematically through the project from surface to geometry. The center is a sustainable idea, driven and creative in its social impact, and also its potential to develop new social ideas via architecture.”

site plan / floor plan diagrams
AIA Nebraska Design Award jury comment:

” A comprehensive urban agriculture proposal that provides an alternate model for land use and infrastructure. The scheme is commendable for being thoroughly researched and rigorously executed.”


Project Awards

2013 AIA Nebraska Merit Award

2010 AIA Central States Region Honor Award

2010 San Francisco Citation Award for Unbuilt Design

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