GCA participated in the recent design study hosted by the City of Milwaukee, Granville Business Improvement District, and UW-Milwaukee. Invited firms were given a site and a development concept to base their design from. This unique forum encouraged interaction with community members and key stakeholders in a charrette format.
This project focuses on the creation of local food production and economic growth in the Granville area through the implementation of urban agriculture. The development and maintenance of the farm invites employment and educational opportunities for students at Vincent High School as well as the surrounding community. The architectural form of the project was developed out of the existing 15.8-acre site of a former Menards center that served most recently as an indoor mountain bike park. By repurposing the existing building and surrounding lumber sheds, we were able to introduce solutions while maintaining minimal impact to the existing site and its’ structures.
In order to create a hybrid environment that grows food as well as culture and community, special attention had been paid to dissolve the boundaries between park and farm. The outdoor farmers market pavilion brings social activity all the way to the edge of 76th street and provides a buffer between the site and traffic. A grass covered, apple tree-lined promenade greets the guests and guides them into the main 93,279 sq ft building. This building has been split in two by a glass-covered pedestrian street that invites visitors inside to gather, socialize and support local business. The two sides of the building are intended to house vocational training centers, classrooms, event spaces, maker spaces and even office shares.
As one emerges through the building they enter into the main 387,483 sq ft open air farm where the bulk of the food production takes place. The site has been sub-divided into nine farm plots with six individual greenhouses for seedling incubation and equipment storage. Along the south half of the site are two 16,722 sq ft lumber sheds repurposed as greenhouses that contain aeroponic and aquaponic systems that provide climate controlled food production year round even during the harsh winter months. The space between the two greenhouses has been developed into a central gathering space and performance stage that brings life and activity to the site even late into the evening. The south border of the site has also been lined with fruit trees that create a shaded walking path as well as alcoves for tables and chairs inviting visitors to relax, socialize and even to enjoy whatever snacks they may have gathered along the way. The west corner of the site as been anchored with a 10,032 sq ft multi-use facility that would provide space for workshops, group fitness classes, a farm to table café and even a day care facilities to be used by employees and the wider community.