This major project involves the creation of a Holistic Center on an 80-acre site in the Midwest. As a future tourist attraction, the complex will be home to several facilities, including an Algae-to-Biofuel Building, Crop Production/Learning Center, Nutraceutical Building, Farmers’ Market, Retail Shops, Fish Market, and an Administrative Office Building.
Organizationally, the site is composed of three bands: production to the north, the “downtown” in the center, and community components at the south end. The north band includes the manufacturing and production hub with clearly separate circulation for trucks, rail connectivity, and access to loading docks. The Algae-to-Biofuel Building resides on a prominent site with the closed-loop production system being an integral part of the architecture and visible to all passersby. A curvilinear central building—the Crop Production/Learning Center—sits adjacent to the Algae-to-Biofuel Building and embraces one side of the public square. The Nutraceutical Building is on a more discrete site for security reasons.
The buildings will connect visually by a first-floor glass storefront and sunshades on the south façade. The canopies will vary in color and material to give each facility a separate identity. Solar panels atop the buildings will reduce energy costs, as will a wind turbine located in the northeast corner of the property.
The middle band encompasses a central square to bring things down to a pedestrian scale and create the central gathering space of the complex, with the atrium of the crop production building in full view. While the actual production is hidden, the atrium provides an opportunity for a dramatic demonstration of vertical farming and other sustainable strategies in use on the site. A water feature and monumental steps for resting and eating are focal points of the square.
Connectivity with the community is a vital aspect of the project, so the site opens onto community gardens, biking and walking paths, and playing fields. A footbridge over the adjacent railroad connects to the residential neighborhood to the south.