with Henry Grosman
The romantic view of Texas is distinctly anti-urban. The Texan mythology is deeply connected to soil, brush, cactus and cattle. The idea of the ranch and of boundless land, still possible in rural Texas, has proven a blight on its cities. Dallas, arguably the most Texan of cities has fallen victim to sprawl. Our project reconnects Texans with their land by re-introducing native grasses, cattle and farming into the city. The project imagines a series of upward spiraling bars of housing torquing and twisiting toward the sun. Each bar is separated from the bar directly above to provide ample light to a densely-planted grass roof tended by a herd of Texas longhorns and a flock of chickens: a ranch in the sky. Outside the residences long strips of farmland produce fruits and vegetables irrigated largely by a rainwater collection. Although it is directly adjacent to private units, the farmland is held in common. A full-time professional farmer oversees all farming tasks. She is assisted by residents, volunteers and local students. Food is distributed directly to residents through a building-wide CSA. At the ground floor, fruits, vegetables and livestock become food. The retail program includes a green market to distribute farm produce directly in “raw” form. At the other side of the site, a high-end restaurant has direct access to the farm for fresh local ingredients. Between the restaurant and the greenmarket is the kitchen: a series of five commercial-grade kitchen facilities. The kitchens may be rented on hourly as a resource for local culinary start-ups: businesses producing small runs of artisanal food products. By providing commercial kitchen facilities directly adjacent to the farm, the project fosters its own community of professional and amateur locavores. The kitchen incubator is also an educational facility serving local students and residents. The commercial kitchens are suitable for culinary education classes, where students learn basic cooking and nutrition as well as advanced techniques. The project addresses Dallas’ growing epidemic of obesity, by reconfiguring the relationship between city residents and what they eat. The larger goal of the project is to reconnect Texans with their land in a dense urban environment. The medium is food. We use the production of food at all levels to reinstate traditional connections between light, soil, water, plants, animals and energy.
- sky-ranch, tower, residential, texas, longhorns, farming, abby richardson, henry grosman