New York City-based architecture firm Grow Studio has revealed a plan to develop a combined affordable housing and green roof project in Harlem. The project was created to bring affordable housing to the community along with an edible rooftop garden that would be cultivated by people in the neighborhood. The plan, called the Harlem Community Rooftop Garden, was one of the winners of the By the City/For the City competition sponsored by the Urban Design Institute due to its innovative solution not only for affordable homes but also for the dearth of healthy, affordable, fresh vegetables in Manhattan.
The Harlem Community Rooftop Farm was designed by Grow Studio, an offshoot of the architecture firm EOA/Elmslie Osler Architect. EOA’s principle architect and founder is Robin Elmslie Osler, who holds a LEED certification and has a passion for urban farming. Osler was responsible for the Food Chain project in downtown Los Angeles which created a series of edible green walls and kitchen hubs that serve as a source of fresh food and an educational center for low-income communities.
The project in Harlem would pair a new structure of affordable units with a rooftop garden next door built on the roof of the existing Citarella building on 125th street. The green space would be open to the community and accessible via a concrete and reclaimed redwood stairway on 126th street that would reach upward toward the planter boxes and vertical farming walls that would be planted and cultivated by the residents of the affordable housing units in the neighboring building. In addition to providing healthy homes and healthy food the Harlem Community Rooftop garden seeks to infuse a sense of culture and a place for social interaction for the community of Harlem.