Washington Monument/Rotary Club Obelisk
Washington, KS United States | 2009
Everywhere we turn, we see new construction in our metropolitan areas in the name of progress. While much of this new construction is beneficial by providing enhancements to the areas, the effects on the agricultural landscape can be devastating. Working to find a solution to this problem, the Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University contacted the Architecture Department at Ball State University. The challenge was to build a 32 ft. x 8 ft. x 10 ft. mobile greenhouse that could be a gateway into a new form of agriculture in urban developments. The project was funded by a Butler University Innovation Fund Grant with contributions from local vendors who provided materials and services. The project, named GrOwING GREEN, is designed to help bring back healthy crops of fresh vegetables and plant life to these devastated areas. It is believed that the trend in urban farming will be more present in the mainstream ideology to supply our cities with the fresh produce they desire. Timothy Gray, Associate Professor at the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University believes the GrOwING GREEN project is A prototype that lends itself to the sort of transient nature of the urban farm.
In designing the mobile greenhouse, the team focused on the environment in which the unit will serve. They needed a long lasting durable structure that would be able to survive every obstacle it may encounter. The steel tubing used in the frame is a lightweight material that can be easily transported, which allows the greenhouse to be towed by a standard size pickup truck. Hot dip galvanizing was specified as the coating of choice to protect the frame, as well as the shelving inside the greenhouse. Working with the galvanizer, the design team incorporated best fabrication practices to ensure proper galvanizing of all material. The metallurgical bonded galvanized coating gives continuous cathodic protection during the wet/dry cycles and provides unmatched corrosion protection from abrasion, making it the most effective and eco-friendly corrosion protection system available.
In addition to being environmentally friendly, the GrOwING GREEN project team also wanted the greenhouse to be as easy to use as possible. This meant making all systems fully automated. The team accomplished this task by using modern technology for the heat, water and windows of the greenhouse. A thermostat control system controls fans which turn on automatically when temperatures reach critical levels. Working in unison with the temperature control system, the windows open automatically to cool the inside as quickly as possible. An irrigation system runs on a timer providing optimum water levels for crops. Water is supplied through a hose hookup and controlled by a 40 psi regulator. The main source of heat and energy is from direct sunlight, making this greenhouse as environmentally friendly as possible.
The most important aspect of this design is without a doubt the mobility of this unit. Urban farms often find themselves in marginal areas that do not allow the construction of permanent structures. Because this greenhouse is mobile, it can grow crops in places that would otherwise not be allowed due to its classification as a non-permanent structure. The concept of this greenhouse is to function as a unit for cultivating plant starts during the months of February to August. The established plants will be transplanted at the appropriate time, giving the grower a head start on the crops. The mobility of the greenhouse also allows the opportunity for education and outreach of the farming abilities in urban areas. The farm can be brought to the community, as well as residents coming to the farm, providing a level of insight and understanding of growing food. It provides the education necessary to pass along the knowledge of our delicate ecosystem and the need for strong farmlands and produce that has been lacking with the ever growing expansion of metropolitan areas.
Muncie, IN United States
Coating Durability, Corrosion Performance, Initial Cost, Life-Cycle Cost, Quality of HDG, Sustainability
The tube frame of the Greenhouse and all of the shelving material on the inside of the Greenhouse.
Ball State University
Center of Urban Ecology - Butler University
Center of Urban Ecology - Butler University
AZZ Galvanizing - Muncie
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