As part of the design/buildLAB at Virginia Tech, a group of third year architecture students designed and built a farmer's market pavilion in Covington, Virginia. Staying true to the principles of the market, which requires all produce to come from within 100 miles, the students sourced all their materials for the project in the same area. Reclaimed and locally sawn wood were used in the prefabricated roof, which collects rainwater to irrigate the surrounding landscape. Design and construction of the Covington Farmer's Market was a year long process that focused on the research, development and implementation of innovative construction methods and architectural designs.
In the Fall of 2010, the student group began research to design the farmer’s market, which included a tour of other markets in the area and studies of markets around the world. With the research under their belt, each student proposed their own design for the market, and afterwards, they collectively designed a cohesive strategy that would meet the needs of the vendors and create a dynamic and vibrant public space for local residents.
The final proposal is composed of three parts: the Ground Plane, the Occupied Space, and the Pavilion Roof. A long slender open-air pavilion is topped with a wooden roof clad in galvanized sheet steel. A locust deck serves as the market floor and modular boxes serves as an office, storage and a toilet. An adjacent sloped earth park provides a stage and seating. All of the prefabricated, modular elements were confined to 10 feet wide in order to facilitate transportation to the site. While the students fabricated the roof at facilities at Virginia Tech, local contractors poured the foundation and layed the utility connections, which allowed the project to be constructed in 4 months time.
All of the materials were sourced within a 100 mile radius, which conforms to the standards of where the market’s produce can come from. Salvaged wood from a nearby barn was used for the roof, while the rest of the wood was sourced from local mills. A 1,200 gallon cistern stores rainwater collected from the sloping roof, which is then used to irrigate the park and to flush the toilets. The design of the roof directs hot air up and out rather than trapping it under the roof and eliminating the need for forced ventilation. Low energy LED strip lighting on the ceiling provides light for evening activities. Finally, the initial asphalt parking lot was torn out, saved, ground up and then returned to the site as a new permeable, compacted, parking area.