The Hudson Exchange, a proposal for the Emerging New York Architects Competition by SWARM, was recently awarded second place for their concept. The design is a point of transfer incorporating a diversity of stakeholders relevant to community education, production, transport, and distribution of locally grown and sustainable food in West Harlem. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Designed as the main collector in a larger regional network, the Exchange serves as a multidisciplinary and collaborative hub: bringing together experts and activists in food policy, nutrition, ecology and urban systems, it links their efforts to community constituencies in West Harlem.
With the activities of Nourishing NYC as its backbone, the Hudson Exchange enables and draws support from community users and local food networks, and researchers. The building hosts a local green market at the base – a center for exchange between regional food producers, Nourishing NYC, and the West Harlem community. A regional network of ‘food barges’ collect and distribute fresh produce along the river promoting agricultural growth in the Hudson River Valley. Farmers sell their produce straight off the barge or trucks in the covered market space. The Exchange is connected to shore by a boardwalk promenade which is zoned for vehicular and pedestrian movement. The footpath provides a direct connection to water level for researchers, nature enthusiasts and recreation.
The Exchange invites the community to grow, cook, eat and learn through demonstrations and courses in urban farming, cooking, seasonal canning and preserving. The programmatic organization provides an active and open environment with flexible spaces which allow for community, education, and research programs. The main community component is a multipurpose lecture space that has views to the community garden, Nourishing NYC receiving and packaging zones, teaching spaces and pier below. The terraced landscape is the termination of the public boardwalk and existing Hudson River Park. Apart from being an active community space, the rooftop landscape provides an iconic image for the project, framing views down the Hudson towards lower Manhattan and Statue of Liberty.
Surrounding the facility, the river edge serves as a test bed for ecological restoration, designed as a compression of the typical tidal section into a series of stepped experimental restoration plots and a tidal pool. The plots cascade from upland marsh edge habitat, through high and low marsh, to mud flats and submerged vegetation and provide an ideal location for fishing, research, and urban adventures.
Architects: SWARM Location: West Harlem, Manhattan, New York, United States Team: Eliza Higgins, Cyrus Patell, Chrisopher Starkey, Andrea Vittadini Competition: The Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) fifth biennial design ideas competition “ The Harlem Edge: Cultivating Connections” 2012 Award: Second Place