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Grow Your Own City, timber in the city, clt, student project, design competition, red hook, modular housing, affordable housing, prefab factory, sustainable development

Benjamin Bye, Alex Kenton, and Jason Rood from the University of Oregon won first place for their proposal, Grow Your Own City, in the Timber in the City student design competition. The competition, which was organized by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, and Parsons The New School for Design, challenged student teams to come up with a mid-rise, mixed-use complex that addresses New York’s urban housing needs while exploring innovative uses of wood. Grow Your Own City is designed for a site across the street from an IKEA and features a modular housing factory, 200 residences of various sizes, retail and reconditioned outdoor space.

The project would be conveniently located next to a port where CLT panels that would be used to build the modular housing pods could be delivered. The factory forms the foundation of the development and is built out of concrete. Over time, the factory would use the CLT panels to fabricate modular housing pods, which could then be installed into place in surrounding buildings. Eventually, the development could be comprised of a couple low rise buildings and a few housing towers. Surrounding the buildings, new garden and open space would be created to help with stormwater runoff, air quality, shade and more. The rooftop of the factory would features innovative photovoltaic skylights to provide natural daylight and renewable energy for the project.

Grow Your Own City could provide high quality jobs, affordable housing and benefit the new community. Mixed use retail spaces include a bike shop, a bike share system, an organic restaurant and a green alley for residents and visitors to use. The jurors complimented the project by saying, “There is a mature sensitivity to zoning, politics, and concerns of gentrification. This design exemplifies smart urban planning by placing the warehouse on the industrial street and creating a new pedestrian street behind, which is an incredible relief for the neighborhood.”

See the rest of the winners here or view them in person at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons from October 24-31 and at the 2013 Greenbuild Conference in Philadelphia (November), the 2014 ACSA Annual Meeting in Miami (April), or the American Institute of Architects 2014 Convention in Chicago (June).

+ Timber In the City

Images ©Benjamin Bye, Alex Kenton, and Jason Rood