Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Architecture

Major

Architecture

Major Professor

Mark Schimmenti

Committee Members

Mark DeKay, Bruce Tonn

Abstract

In the past, cities and their food system were spatially interwoven. However, rapid urbanization and the creation of industrialized agriculture have physically isolated and psychologically disconnected urban residents from the landscape that sustains them. Cities can no longer feed themselves and must rely on a global hinterland. Vital growing, preserving, and cooking knowledge has been lost, while negative health, economic, and environmental effects continue to develop from this separation. Low-income neighborhoods have significantly been affected where a lack of income and mobility pose barriers to adequate food access. Architects have addressed food issues individually, but have yet to take an integrative approach that meaningfully engages urban citizens with all processes of the food system. Urban planners have recently taken a holistic design approach to food issues through the development of the community food system concept. By applying this idea to an architectural program I have designed a Community Food Center for the Five Points Neighborhood in East Knoxville, TN. Spatially compressing and layering food activity spaces preserves the majority of the landscape on site for food production. The kitchen, dining room, market, and garden increase access to healthy food while serving as community gathering spaces, and the business incubator kitchens provide economic opportunities. The whole facility acts to educate and engage people in the growing, harvesting, preserving, cooking, sharing, and composting of food. Cities cannot sustain themselves by only providing spaces for consumption. Architects must challenge the accepted relationships between food system spaces and strive to reincorporate productive landscapes and spaces dedicated to transforming raw ingredients into a variety of architectural programs. Although the Five Points Community Food Center is site specific, the concept of integrating multiple food activities into a single architectural entity can be used as a tool for place making by expressing a local identity through food culture while improving the social and economic fabric.

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