What are we trying to solve?
In modern education, one of the greatest challenges educators often face is how to engage children– how do we get kids to use their brains, rather than just mindlessly following a program? And in modern health, we face another massive challenge: how do we combat the rise of diabetes as people eat more and more foods laced with salt, fat, and sugar?
The idea is rather simple: we can solve both problems with an efficient, well-planned implementation of a greenhouse. With a greenhouse, a teacher can allow students to directly experience the lessons they learn in their biology classes, all the while getting the excitement of growing the plants to be used for next fall’s lunches. Thus, the greenhouse gets to become a hands-on learning experience for students, while also saving the school money by reducing the later cost of purchasing fresh fruits and vegatables to make lunch meals. At the same time, in the fall, students get greater access to these fresh fruits and vegatables, giving them the opportunity to eat healthier.
Pre-Planning: How do we go about this?
In preparation for the initial design, I focused on two things: one, the ideas that I could borrow from existing greenhouse, and two, how to coordinate the design of the greenhouse with the rest of the school building.
The next step was to find a suitable site to build on, as well as devise a site plan:
The idea was to create a centralized space, making the greenhouse a place kids could even visit in their free time, or so that kids from the lower schools could visit by walking from the plaza. Additionally, the greenhouse can connect underused parts of campus, as the back-side trail of the school is often forgotten.
Designing: What can we come up with?
One of the most difficult issues with this project was managing to maximize the amount of usable space in the greenhouse, as it was rather easy to want to over-crowd the greenhouse with new, innovative ideas when the plot available for use is only 45 feet by 40 feet.
Above was a preliminary design, but it quickly became apparent that this design was too space inefficient and would not fit in the rather small plot available. However, the general exterior outline seemed good, as the light maximizing aspect was there.
Interested? Learn more about greenhouses below: