Advancing the Education of Young Architecture Graduates through Foreign Travel-Study
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by Alfred Noel Shamble — Alternate to Winner


The Fruition Sustainable Food Center is a community establishment dedicated to promoting healthy life through food. And with food as it’s roots, the building branches out to embrace and impact all aspects of community to help Whittier achieve it’s sustainable living goals.
The building is situated to maximize it’s food production capabilities and streetfront access. Pedestrians are drawn in to mingle with their neighbors by the organic form of the plaza, yet the corner edge remains abrupt to help restore the urban density of the Uptown area. Large enough to host the farmers market, the focal point of the plaza is the outdoor kitchen amphitheater whose fluid seats lead up to more learning spaces. Removed from the pedestrian buzz, but still very much on display, the hydroponic gardens are arranged in East-West sawtooth rows for maximum solar efficiency. Upheld by medium weight steel tree-like columns, the greenhouse membrane is activated by a variety of overhead vents and large sliding walls which help to regulate the climate within. Additionally, these openings welcome in pollinators, such as the honey bee, to stimulate the growth of the garden and pass that life along to the larger system of trees throughout Whittier. To foster this pollination connection, the West classroom shear walls are integrated with transparent observation hives. These walls continue to tell a sustainable story as they have a high fly-ash content and are formed using fabric formwork. That same geotextile fabric can then be re-used in any of the many landscaping areas on site or even as a part of the hydroponic system. Over-arching the entire project are arrays of high efficiency PV tubes. Catching the sun’s energy regardless of it’s angle, the tubes are precisely spaced to also allow sun and wind to pass between them. The two PV roof planes let the project respond to the surrounding building context by floating 40 and 35 feet above the street, while underneath creating an intimate community atmosphere.
Food is connected to every aspect of life, and this building is as well. Agriculture, education, urbanity, nature, local and global ecosystems, economy, health, atmosphere, technology, emotion - an un-ending list of things brought together under one roof by Fruition.

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