Patch 1

Previous posts have used other projects to set up the concepts of mobile work sites, creating settings for collaboration and the development of ideas, and multiple scales of urban food production. The last couple weeks I have been working on developing the program and some conceptual design ideas for a patch to serve these purposes. Using the starting point of a coffee house and bar, to maximize site hours of operation, the overall driver of the program is to serve as a Gateway; physically connecting the street to skyways and businesses, providing work areas to develop start-up concepts, network, and work on projects, and to introduce the downtown to innovative building strategies.

Mapping the Program of Patch 1

Starting this process by creating a web of the necessary services and spaces that will allow the site to serve as both a mobile worksite and place to further develop and explore ideas (chart above), I relized the site will need to provide basic workplace services. Besides simply being a coffeehouse and bar, if telepresence, conference rooms, printing and 3d printing are made available, then this becomes a full mobile work site, allowing longer hours of use and additional revenue streams. Through developing this web additional programs were identified and a quick, hypothetical section cut was developed to show the possibilities of the patch as a gateway.

Beyond simply providing a place, this site will need to be inspirational to draw commerce, drive development, and inspire. The facade is the first point of contact, connecting the streetfront, interior gathering place, and skyway. The facade becomes a visual billboard to draw in customers and to inspire innovation. Assuming a south facing facade, a verticle growth system, similar to WindowFarms  can be used in conjunction with a rooftop greenhouse. Additionally, part of the site as a gateway is to show off what can be achieved through urban agriculture, showing multple site designed systems and then using the produce in refreshments that are served. At this point we don’t know what production will be, but potentionally it could be used to brew a certain type of the site’s beers or otherwise a wide enough variety of produce to be used in the snack foods sold on site. Ideally, the barley, hops, wheat, and other beer making ingredients will be grown, so adjustments will need to be made to the WindowFarm design to allow trellising to support the longer grasses.

This facade is also an opportunity to use a reactionary system that displays information about the patch to grab attention. This could adjust the growing system to create an opening in the green wall during operating hours or use a combination of lights and window films. One inspiration for a reactionary facade was presented by Carl Ratti of SENSEable City Lab at TED 2011. The Digital Water Pavilion (approximately at the 7:30 mark in this video) uses flowing water to form the pavilion walls, then uses pauses to spell words in the facades or temporarily stops the water to allow entry. While this exact system would not be feasible on a functioning building in a temperate climate, it opens up the mind on how to innovate a facade that enhaces the internal environment.

Carlo Ratti Associati, Digital Water Pavilion, Expo 2008 ZH20, Zaragoza, Spain

With my next post I will research other user driven building functions like the Digital Water Pavilion. I will also do future posts as I further design this patch and will do a post once the vertical farm I am working on assembling for my apartment is functional and productive.

Currently I am also redesigning my personal website and will be relaunching later this month, so with that expect Patchopolis posts to be every 2-3 weeks (as they have been) rather than weekly 🙂

Thanks for your patience and have a great week!

One comment

  1. […] The concepts behind Home Gr/own Milwaukee and one particular entry by Aaron Thiel from Milwaukee’s Tournavation remind me of a concept a colleague and I kicked around in studio late at night during graduate school. Our idea was to take foreclosed or abandoned homes and besides using the lot to grow food also strip down the house, especially on its south facade, to convert it to a green house that could produce year round. In this concept the structure and roof of the house remain for rain water collection and solar power generation, along with north facing insulated walls to prevent heat loss in winter months. Our vision was not to use this as a community rebuilding initiative, but instead to create a chain of grow houses that would feed a local business (like Patch 1, which I began developing in my September 10 blog post). […]