Co-op Canyon Demonstrates How Food Can Be Integrated Into Architecture


Images ©2009 standard®

TreeHugger showed the winner of the Re:Vision Dallas competition a couple of years ago, and as so often happens, we concentrate on the winners and neglect the others. Los Angeles and New York based architecture firm Standard produced a particularly interesting entry; they don't just present architecture, but a complete reinterpretation of how people can live cooperatively, produce their own food and work together to build a community.

The architects explain:

CO-OP CANYON is a cooperative community of 1,000 people living together in terraced cliff dwellings overlooking lush urban canyon. Residents gain equity in the co-op through participation in construction, agricultural, maintenance, education and conservation programs central to the sustenance of the community.


FOOD is the thread that knits the community together. Garden allotments, both concentrated in the project's Community Farm, and dispersed throughout the backyard terraces, allow residents to grow, exchange and share canyon-grown produce. Hobbyists grow produce for daily needs and informal exchange in the Backyard allotments, and the terraces host small gatherings and cookouts. The Community Farm is the focal point of the southern canyon, situated on the stepped terraces that link the levels of the canyon floor.


Produce from the Community Farm is consumed in the Community Kitchen and sold in the market spaces below. The Community Kitchen, where the exchange of knowledge about healthy diet, cultural and family cooking techniques is a resource for healthy eating. Located adjacent to the child care center and the fitness center, the Community Kitchen offers regular classes and food tastings focused on nutrition, locally grown produce, and sharing cultural traditions. The Community Kitchen is a part of holistic approach to health that includes exercise and inter-generational social interaction encouraged by work in the canyon's gardens.

We have seen "sweat equity" or "muscle mortgage" co-ops in Vauban, Germany; discussed cooperative and social alternatives to the buy vs rent question. Weber Thompson has shown us how to integrate food production into building facades as a simpler, better way of doing vertical farming.

Standard brings all of these themes together nicely in one package, with Co-op Canyon.
More on Re:Vision Dallas:
Re:Vision Dallas Seeks Input from Design Visionaries
The TH Interview: Stacey Frost of Urban Re:Vision

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Tags: Architects | Design Competitions