P.F.1: a monument to the urban farm
I recently visited P.F.1 (Public Farm One) at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens. P.S.1 ran an architectural competition to create a social landscape in their courtyard. The winning entry by WORK Architecture Company is an urban farm/mega-container garden.
The main garden structure is a massive flying-V composed of a honeycomb of large cardboard tubes reaching several stories high above a wading pool. Most tubes are fitted with a small planting bed on top; others are left open. The planting list includes 51 varieties of veg, fruit, herbs, and flowers. Smaller clusters of tubes provide seating, bars, solar ipod recharging docks (seriously), portals showing videos of farm animals. An adjacent area serves as a chicken coop.
Sustainability is built into the project. Materials are recyclable and compostable. The sun powers the project from the irrigation system (which captures and redistributes rainwater) to the ipod chargers. Over the summer, pickers harvest the crops and sell them at a farmers’ market on site or use them in the P.S.1 cafe.
With edible plants sprouting from a neatly arranged mesh of tubes, the result is both utopian and organic. Architects Amale Andraos and Dan Wood took inspiration from the uprisings of 1968, when French workers staked their right to leisure and liberation by reclaiming the beach as their space. At P.F.1, the architects invite us to reclaim the urban landscape. They say: “P.F.1 is an architectural and urban manifesto to engage play and reinvent our cities, and our world, once again.”