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COTE Top Ten Students: Verdant City

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Project Description

From the AIA:

Marfa is a split community, housing wealthy artists and art tourists on one hand, and low-income hispanic migrants and border patrol agents on the other. The small town suffers from a lack of industry beyond tourism, and a lack of affordable housing stock. In response to these issues, this project proposes a new model of collective housing that combines the productive logic of the greenhouse with a shared climate controlled structure that allows the space of the vernacular mobile home to be expanded with plants as the medium of spacemaking.

From the jury:

This simple, elegant proposal for an ecological designed trailer park creates micro-climates in the form of a greenhouse. It leverages the existing and embodied energy in the trailers – a good example of how sustainable design doesn’t need to be complicated. It also exhibits a strong social component as it addresses the food cycle in addition to social equity (not explicitly part of the competition challenge, but highly commendable). There is a nice ad hoc quality to the part-greenhouse, part-trailer scheme. This site is a place where there is a bifurcation of migrant farm workers and artist colony, and the design addresses this social disparity and creates an oasis in the middle of town.
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