Students Help Put Down Roots

Community Gardens and Temple’s Office of Sustainability teamed up to help redefine the term “Living Learning Community.” Katherine Elmhurst, Program Manager at the Office of Sustainability, helped organize a design ‘charrette,’ or competition, to design a small communal facility for TCG’s garden on Carlisle and Diamond streets, which took place in the Architecture Building on Jan. 31.“Students of different disciplines will be divided into teams,” explained Elmhurst, “and they’ll come up with design schemes to create a tiny house for Temple Community Gardens.”

A panel of judges spent about a week after the competition deciding the first place winners of a $1,000 prize and the second place winners of a $500 prize.

Along with being the president of Temple Community Gardens, junior Sandy Vogel was also a judge for the design contest as TCG’s representative. She explained that “[TCG’s] gardens serve as a place for the Temple community to not just relax and hang out in a green space, but also to interact with their green space.”

To further expand on TCG’s mission to extend a hand and a green thumb to the local community, event coordinator Elliot Wilson hopes the contest will help design a building that will open up the space.

“We want to see people interacting with each other,” said Elliot. “Having students with the neighbors could really, really thrive at the garden space.”

Contestants were given an informational guide by the contest organizers that included a wish list of things TCG wanted to have included in the winning design. One of those things, along with enough space for seating and some extra storage, were solar panels. Just like on the roof of Solar States in Olde Kensington, TCG wanted their new building to be equipped with enough solar panels to help make them independent of Philly’s energy grid. Other desires on the list included a composting toilet and a miniature green house.

For ten hours, students braved the freezing January temperatures scouting the garden, and creating computer models of their blueprints inside by the warmth of their desktops, all while sparing some time to talk with Temple Update.

Contestant An Ly, a civil engineering student, said that “by doing this kind of competition, it gives you a perspective of how you would engage in the real world of designing an actual project.”

But, as another civil engineering student, Daniel Bhaumik, found out over the course of his day, the competition was about as real as it gets. “Today, I’m doing a little bit of everything, but the civil engineer is the one who knows the structural requirements of the building that’s being put up.”

Winners were just recently announced and will receive their $1,000 check to be split amongst themselves. As per the rules of the competition, the winning design will be constructed at some point in the future. Temple Update will follow up with more information as it is presented.



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.