SIZE: 59,000 SF
Rooftop Farm Sustainability Consulting & Project Management
Strategy & Services: Though originally hired to investigate the feasibility of an NZE multifamily development, stok’s integrative approach and early discovery process allowed the project team to uncover the owner’s true objective for building a high density housing project with community benefits. With this deep understanding of the client’s goals, stok instead advised a hyper-local agricultural route that was more aligned with the project objectives and rich history of the local community, resulting in a student-oriented apartment and urban farming / green roof project located in the Southside neighborhood of Berkeley, California.
Design Details: Brought on by RAD Urban (formerly Nautilus Group) as sustainability consultant and project manager for the rooftop farm implementation, stok helped optimize and oversee the 16 of the complex’s 18 green roofs that sustain food-producing gardens. Additionally, stok provided energy modeling services for the project, and prepared design documents and business plan information to support the team in community meetings with the city prior to project approval. The project team collaborated on numerous human-centered sustainability initiatives, including using a locally constructed factory-built housing system that minimizes construction transportation and waste; optimizing a human-scale building layout that provides abundant daylight and natural ventilation; creating tenant gathering spaces at ground level and roof tops; prioritizing walking-oriented development located near the city center and community resources; using an on-site car-sharing hub and ample bike facilities that reduce neighborhood parking, traffic, and pollution; utilizing a high recycled content structural system; utilizing an existing brownfield; celebrating population diversity, including affordable housing; optimizing demolition materials reuse; and undergrounding power lines and planting 13 new street trees that beautify the neighborhood. Utilizing a factory-built housing approach, Garden Village’s modular building volumes were constructed off-site, reducing construction time, waste, and noise in the neighborhood.
“As a developer-designer-builder, I rely heavily on experts like stok to research and vet complicated building solutions and present them strategically and effectively. Where unique project problems require creative thinking, stok performs far outside the box of traditional sustainability consultants. Every request was delivered on time (often earlier), their communication was timely, and they always suggested alternative solutions to complex problems. As both a friend and a client, I recommend stok unconditionally.”
– Brian Caruso, Vice President of Development, RAD Urban
Outcome: The 80-unit housing complex establishes a contemporary living community by allocating a percentage of its units to low-income residents and integrating sustainable building tactics throughout its design and construction. The farms produce an estimated 16 tons of local, organic produce, while also providing employment, educational, and community engagement opportunities. With the architectural design of Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects, Inc., as well as landscape architecture and farming from Design Ecology, Garden Village is setting a new standard for affordable housing and urban farming.