by Callie

Build An Urban Garden Room

A winner of the 2016 Chart Art Fair Architecture competition, the urban garden room display caught a lot of attention late last summer. The structure didn’t attract just gardeners and local food fans. Fair attendees with diverse interests loved the experience of relaxing in a cocoon of live plants. The aromas of herbs and bright colored vegetables and flowers was a big hit. After sunset, the garden-wrapped pod became a social spot.

Completed DIY Urban Garden RoomAfter the fair, the collaborative Growroom pavilion exhibition was moved to the Space10 future-living lab in Copenhagen. It continued to draw interest in its new location. Recently, the architects who designed the garden sphere turned the concept into an open source building plan in the Space10 Ikea Lab. News of both the plans and free access was announced last week.

Now anyone can build their own urban garden room that merges vertical gardening and outdoor seating into one space. A great project to create a pocket park’s focal point, a social space in a community garden, or an uplifting element on institutional grounds. And that’s just a few placements that instantly came to mind.

It’s a pretty simple building project. The materials list for constructing the garden room is also short and sweet – just 17 sheets of plywood and some screws. You won’t need to gather an army of volunteers to build it because two people can put it together using a handful of inexpensive, commonly available tools. Cutting out the pieces does require a CNC milling machine with a large table, but MakerSpaces and Fab Labs will have such a machine. And if you lack access to such a place, try checking area technical schools, high schools, and colleges. There’s also the option of local businesses to investigate.

Space10 Urban Garden Room PartsYou might wonder why these architects would go to all this trouble, and then give the plans away to anyone. It just makes sense! The Growroom design was always about empowering “people to grow their own food much more locally in a beautiful and sustainable way.” And after the spherical garden spread everywhere last fall via the media and social connections, inquiries came in from around the world. Lots of people wanted to know how to get one.

They could have launched a crowdfunding campaign, gathered production money, and started shipping garden room units hither and yon. But that only empowers people and groups with a budget large enough to cover the cost. It certainly won’t help put fresher, more nutritious food in the hands of those who need it most. Shipping garden structures around the world isn’t sustainable food production.

The free garden room plans aren’t an exact copy of the art fair pavilion. They’ve been simplified in a way that empowers anyone, anywhere to be able to complete construction without special skills and investing a lot of money. And if their design isn’t perfect for your needs, you can modify it! As an open source project, you’re free to expand upon it and alter the plans and pattern to fit your needs.

Get a closer look at the original spherical garden pavilion on our post covering last year’s exhibit HERE.

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Only strangers knock on the door at Callie's house. People who know her don't bother if the sun is shining - they know to look in the garden.