ARCH 3020: Baltimore Food Hub
BALTIMORE FOOD HUB: Re-stitching the City through Transparent Food Practices
Our project evolved from the scrutiny of Baltimore’s intensive seams defined by distinct demographic contrasts between neighborhoods. Our interest in food quality and accessibility led us to develop a series of maps diagramming food sources and health indicators in the Druid Heights neighborhood. These explorations exposed the lack of food availability and revealed the resulting health concerns. To address these concerns, we developed a program that readapts the numerous vacant lots and buildings in the city for farming. This farm network centers on a central food hub that makes food practices transparent to Baltimore residents.
We had five principles guiding our project: social cohesion, transparency, modularity, education, and sustainable farming. These principles took form in an urban farm network, in which aquaponic farming units occupy abandoned row-houses throughout the city. These farming units feed into the central food hub, a conglomeration of restaurants, education kitchens, and market stalls. These provide a setting for social interaction among area residents, allowing for the exchange of skills between different demographic groups. The hub is a space in which the food process from cultivation to preparation is made transparent. This provides educational opportunities for residents to learn how their food gets to the table.
Modularity was a key principle in informing our design. The restaurant and educational modules in the hub were adapted to different scales according to their distinct programmatic needs. A series of modular units forms all parts of the interior spaces as well: from tables and seating, to lighting and shelving. This landscape of modular units is unified under a canopy that covers the central hub. The canopy is a recognizable landmark that distinguishes our hub as central location for social interaction and food access in the city.