Harlem Community Rooftop Farm

New York, NY | 6,200 sq ft. | 2011

Awards: Urban Design Institute: By The City/For The City Competition Winner 2011

Services: Architecture
Grow Studio

EOA designed the Harlem Community Rooftop Farm in response to an RFP for a residential building on 126th Street in Harlem. EOA saw the opportunity to enrich the basic program by integrating a publicly accessible farm and gathering place on the roof of the adjacent 2-storey building. This combined affordable housing development and community garden also provides much-needed green space and a reprieve from the busy streets below. This community garden in Harlem redevelops the existing roofscape above the Citarella grocery store to include farming that is publically accessible via a wide stair leading up from 126th Street. The stair is constructed of concrete and reclaimed redwood marking the transition from sidewalk to elevated garden. Once at the top there is a deck of reclaimed redwood shaded by small fruit trees that leads to a gradual downward slope with spacious low steps and benches for sitting, gathering and observing busy 125th Street. Rooftop planter boxes that are open for use by the community are supplemented by vertical farming walls which are maintained by residents of the affordable housing units in the adjacent building. The vertical farming panels are made of stainless steel and are accessible via balconies running the entire length of the south-west facing façade. In 2011, the Harlem Community Rooftop Farm was chosen as one of ten winners of By the City/For the City. The competition, sponsored by the Urban Design Institute, asked designers to respond to ideas for city improvements submitted by citizens of the five boroughs.