Info AIA Austin Annual Ideas Competition
Team Juan Acosta, Italia Aguilera, Gable Bostic, Stefan Brits
Date 2020

Entry Video

Good Grazing

            The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates extant health and economic disparities that disadvantage minorities in the United States, compromising health, living environments, access to nutrition, and educational resources. The crisis also reveals supply chain deficiencies in which goods and services were initially scarce and difficult to transport, leaving such communities especially vulnerable. When nonessential businesses closed, farmers who had already harvested their crops could not find new buyers before their perishable product rotted. Additionally, the American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that only about eight percent of farms in the United States supply food locally. While there is enough food available, it is not reaching those that need it most.

            The Govalle neighborhood represents these national trends in conjunction with a racist legacy through urban planning and development via policies that enforced segregation, displacing and relocating Mexican and Black residents from west and central Austin into east Austin. Gentrification continues to marginalize these groups. This legacy is apparent in Govalle’s inflated walk score, with liquor stores and similar businesses considered in that valuation. We look to the neighborhood’s namesake for a remedy that decreases health disparities, increases supply chain resiliency, and transforms people’s relationship with food while providing a long-term adaptable asset to this diverse community.

            A quotidian building strategy of corrugated metal barrel vaults alludes to the project’s pastoral aspirations. Inspired by the Mexican tianguis and state-sponsored fixed markets, this approach legitimizes informal economies via a hybrid function as market and demonstrative farm where visitors of all ages develop an understanding of agriculture, food production, and land stewardship. The project is organized around a flexible community hall with rings of complimentary programs, infrastructure, and circulation circumscribing it. A network of these highly localized food production and distribution centers can easily shift from distributing food and culture to other essential resources.