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After graduating from culinary school, aspiring professional chefs have started their own businesses in the streets of downtown los angeles in the state of california. They are converting the santa-fe freight depot into a culinary community loft known as the chopping block. Cooking is a type of work that boosts social performance and brings the community together within the urban environment.
This project provides a shared kitchen space as well as private living units for the residents. In order to promote their culinary skills, the professional culinary chefs start their own organic urban farm located on the building’s rooftop. The rooftop farm contains native california plants including spinach, eggplant, arugula, tomatoes, corn, squash, asparagus and many more. These native plants are prepared by the chefs, creating homemade and organic meals, such as eggplant sandwiches, arugula salads, cucumber spinach salads, lemon braised artichokes, and even fig and goat cheese pizza. The possibilities are endless! These plants are watered with recycled grey water from the building as well as collected rainwater generated and powered by the smart solar system embedded within the glass bands prevalent throughout the building. The water being used for irrigation is pumped up through the demising unit walls. These glass bands also serve as shade for the plants below.
In addition, a public space is set up in the center of the building where the demonstration kitchen is located. The demonstration kitchen gives the public the opportunity to participate in cooking lessons, socialize and eat organic, homemade meals, and to simply enjoy the creations of these amazing professional chefs in residence. There is a mezzanine level where customers can sit and dine, while having a view of the downtown skyline and the sierra mountains. The public can also take a tour via the grand staircases to the rooftop urban farm. Here, the public is able to see the chefs growing organic food, thereby promoting healthy eating and living. The path circulating on the roof serves as a bridge connecting the two private living areas with the public community space.
The aesthetics of the building are specifically catered towards the culinary community in relation to food preparation, more specifically the rhythm created when food is being chopped. Not only do these glass bands power specific functions within the building, but they also turn and convert into furniture pieces and casework, which allow a seamless flow throughout. As the use of the existing concrete and innovative glass bands create a clear relationship between the old and the new features of the building. Other professional chefs may join this movement and, in the future, the entire length of the existing building may be occupied by this new urban typology.
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