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Public Farm One Installation

by Ami Kealoha
on 25 June 2008

by Scott J Lachut

For NYC residents, food just got more local thanks in part to Work Architecture Company's latest project, Public Farm One (P.F.1), their winning entry in the Ninth Annual Young Architect's Program. The installation, unveiled over this past weekend at P.S.1 in Queens, is a utopian vision of a future where urban meets organic and form meshes harmoniously with function to create a wholly new kind of landscape. With a nod to that revolutionary spirit, the NYC based firm's founders, Amale Andraos and Dan Wood, describe the experience as a "manifesto to engage play and reinvent our cities, and our world, once again."


In an inspired move, P.F.1's concept borrows directly from elements found in nature. The farm's main structural components are cardboard tubes arranged in a honeycomb pattern, producing a sweeping vista that at once floats above the ground and glides along the earth. While most of the pipes act as beds for the 51 varieties of plants being cultivated, central conduits are intentionally left empty to allow farmers access to the crops from below. Harvesting is done atop ladders using a specially designed “picking” skirt.

Integral to the project's overall success was maintaining a certain level of sustainability with the construction and upkeep. In the case of P.F.1, it appears there will be virtually no carbon footprint since all the building materials are 100% recyclable and the entire venture's energy requirements are being provided courtesy of the sun. Eighteen solar panels power a drip irrigation system that captures and distributes rainwater throughout the framework—in addition to a cell phone charging station, a series of cooling fans and a blender for mixing drinks. The vegetables raised will be used in P.S.1's café or sold at a weekly Greenmarket that's running in collaboration with the exhibition.

Overall, we think it's a great comment on the fact that food travels an average of 1500 miles to get to our plates, the environmental impact of this paradigm and the mounting challenges of feeding a rapidly expanding population. As both a living garden and communal environment, P.F.1 is a blueprint for the public to explore the issues. See more images after the jump.

Public Farm One
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center
22-25 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City, NY
 11101 map
tel. +1 718 784 2084

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