CAC Beardsley Community Farm
1719 Reynolds Ave. Knoxville, TN 37921
Summer 2015 | Professor Jennifer Akerman + Professor Bob French
CAC Beardsley Community Farm is a non-profit urban farm promoting food security and sustainable agriculture through practice, education, and community outreach. It is located within a public park in the Mechanicsville neighborhood of Knoxville. Beardsley’s mission is “to educate people of all ages about the possibilities and methods of organic and sustainable urban gardening.” Students and faculty from the University of Tennessee have worked throughout 2014-2015 to design, build, and evaluate a farm shelter of approximately 1,200 square feet, including a flexible classroom, administrative space for the farm staff, and restrooms. The project will serve as a teaching tool about sustainable design practices, which will be demonstrated to farm visitors and volunteers. The design also extends the farm’s engagement mission by creating public space for the community.
During the Summer 2015 design/build/evaluate studio and seminar, I had the opportunity to explore construction, materials, and their connection to design through full-scale building exercises, critical discussions, field trips, and preparation of construction drawings and other means of representation. I gained insight into collaboration with the client and other partners to finalize direction in considerations of all project goals (program, public use, budget, timeline). Working with the project contractor, our summer studio played a part in constructing significant components of the building. I developed masonry skills, as masonry consisted of 75% of this course.
Through this studio, I gained increased understanding of the tools and logistics of construction, as well as an understanding of complex issues inherent to architecture through the design/build/evaluate process. I learned a lot about issues of professional practice, and I further developed skills of idea-sharing and teamwork.