The University of Oregon’s Benjamin Bye, Alex Kenton and Jason Rood recently took home first prize in the Timber in the City sustainable wooden architecture competition with their unique "Grow Your Own City" concept. Their design for Red Hook, Brooklyn embraces the sustainability of timber while re-enlivening an area that is making a slow but steady transition from industrial to residential. Just as its name implies, the innovative plan features a modular building block system that allows the community to add on as it grows.
The contest was created by Parsons the New School of Design, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council as a way to promote wood as an ideal green building material, and to challenge students to create a large scale project illustrating the future of sustainable design.
Grow Your Own City creates a mixed use community with affordable housing to foster the growing community, by basing it off a system of modular Cross Laminated Timber pods. The modular pods range from stacked tower residences and lower buildings of varying heights, to add diversity within the neighborhood. Each pod has floor to ceiling windows, ensuring each style has ample natural lighting inside. A pod alone serves as a studio apartment, with two making up a one bedroom, and three making up a standard three bedroom.
The residences are centered around a green alley which serves as an educational walk, as well as a site for green practices like rainwater harvesting, solar energy collection, ecosystem recovery and habitat rehabilitation. A bicycle shop is a social center, but also enourages the already thriving bicycle community in Red Hook, while the Timber Restaurant doubles as a place for gathering.
Grow Your Own City combines the revitalization of seaside Red Hook with the sustainable architecture of timber, creating a vibrant and eco-friendly culture.