Food and Sustainability Education Community Space

GrowNYC, New York City’s longest-running sustainability focused Non-Profit, hired ORE to design  a space that would bring GrowNYC’s far-reaching programs under one roof.  GrowNYC runs 96 farmers  markets, dozens of recycling resource locations, has built hundreds of community gardens, and the educates over 30,000 children each year on meaningful interactions with the natural environment.  

ORE’s design for Farmhouse was steered by GrowNYC’s need for a transformative space to match their multi- directional mission.

What was once an unused space riddled with exposed infrastructure has been reimagined as a multifunctional community space, complete with a classroom, forum, educational kitchen, vertical hydroponic growing wall, and conference center, with all rooms coming together at once to function as a fundraising venue. During normal operating hours, large swing out panels separate the main hall into various break-out spaces, allowing many activities to take place simultaneously.

Educational Hydroponic Wall

ORE devised a ceiling design scheme of suspended acoustic baffles made from recycled water bottles to address the spatial challenges and creating a sense of unity throughout the environment. The angle of one half of the baffles align with the geometry of the back portion of the existing space; the other half align with the front. These two angles interlock and form the shape of the Gabled Farmhouse logo, which runs like an extrusion from the front of the space at the entry to the conference center’s feature wall of reservoir- salvaged wood. This feature wall is illuminated with sunlight brought in from an adjacent roof using reflective solar-tubes.

Boffi Demonstration Kitchen

GrowNYC Boardroom 

An existing mechanical shaft in the center of the room presented yet another unique hurdle in crafting spatial cohesion. It has been transformed into a mirrored jewel box for the space’s central feature, a donated vertical hydroponic wall. The educational kitchen, donated by Boffi, and the large storage closets were built below the existing firestair and create an additional projection surface.



Demonstration Kitchen Closed/Open

Unisex bathrooms


Client: GrowNYC/Union Square Hyatt Hotel
Location: Manhattan, New York
Program: Non-Profit Educational Venue
Area: 3,400 sf
Status: Completed 2016