Posts tagged with "Food Banks":

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Wheeler Kearns brings sensitivity and light to one of Chicago’s largest and oldest food pantries

For 47 years, the Lakeview Pantry on Chicago’s North Side has provided for the poor and hungry. Through food distribution and self-help initiatives and programs, the pantry has become a staple of its immediate neighbors as well as the greater Chicago community. When it came to establishing its first permanent space, the much-lauded organization turned to local firm Wheeler Kearns.

Originally known as the People’s Pantry of Lakeview, the organization was spread out among a variety of buildings throughout the neighborhood, often with administrations and operations in separate spaces. An adaptive reuse project, the new Lakeview Pantry brings the entire operation under one roof a few blocks from Lake Michigan, nestled up against the overhead L tracks.

Wheeler Kearns’s design for the 7,500-square-foot two-story space brings together the Pantry’s food distribution and social services programs, as well as the administrative staff, with connected spaces and natural light. The lower level includes the waiting area with a distribution counter, walk-in freezer-cooler, dry storage, and sorting room. The goal of the public face of project was to match the Pantry’s own mission by providing a dignified space for those in need. The bright front space serves over 8,000 people a year, with over 800 tons of food distributed in the form of 14-day supplies, so the front of house sees a lot of traffic and a lot of food.

Bathed in sunlight, a wood staircase leads to the upper level. Efficiently laid out offices fill the majority of the upstairs. Much-needed private meeting spaces, a conference room, a shared lunchroom, and open staff office space are lit from above and from the two ends of the thin building.

While the project was only recently finished, it has already been recognized with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, an annual award given to outstanding built community-design projects in Chicago.

“When you work with an organization whose mission is so powerful and important, and they approach that mission with such vigor and earnestness, it is pretty easy to get behind it,” said project architect Danny Wick when he received the Driehaus award at the end of February. “Asking for help can be a pretty undignified thing to have to do. To try and bring a dignified experience to that, and recognize that good design is not only reserved for the wealthy, but that everybody can gain from design, was always the goal.”

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The bold proposal to transform the USPS into tool for fighting food insecurity

Graduate students from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the Brown School at the Washington University in St. Louis have been named the winners of the UrbanSOS: Fair Share Competition. The competition, led by AECOM and the Van Alen Institute, asked entrants to design for the sharing economy while addressing critical urban issues. The winning entry, First Class Meal, proposes to revitalize an underutilized United States Postal Service (USPS) post office, turning it into a resource for storing and redistributing surplus food. The proposal calls for a pairing of mobile technology with the distribution network of the USPS. “We want to connect underutilized capacity within the postal system—building space, trucks and human capital resources—with the desire for increased reach and food storage capacity within food banks and agencies,” explained architecture and urban design master’s candidate Anu Samarajiva in a press release. The project “has the potential to reinvigorate the USPS and more strongly define its role as a community resource while strengthening the existing network of community food providers.” The location of the proposal was the Market Station Post office in downtown Los Angeles. The team chose to center their project in Los Angeles for its active food culture, access to California’s farmlands, and the more than 1 million residents that lack food security. Nonprofits, who lack storage space and distribution capabilities, are the ones working with the large population of those in need. First Class Meal aims to address both of these issues while providing a new use for the many post offices which may be facing closure of consolidation in the near future. The UrbanSOS competition drew 80 teams form 31 countries. The Washington University team received a $7,500 prize along with up to $25,000 in cash and in-kind staff support for implementing the proposal. The competition's other recognized projects focused on producing crowd-sourced resource maps in Ecuador, waste management and temporary housing in South Africa, and pop-up restaurants and markets to serve refugee, residents, and tourists in Athens, Greece.
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Just Can-Tastic: RTKL wins Canstruction LA 2011

When you see architects working feverishly into the night to arrange food cans into strange sculptures it can only mean one thing: CANstruction is back again! This year CANstruction LA took place at Westfield Culver City and featured creative designs from the likes of RTKL, HKS, Callison, and several other architecture and engineering firms. This year's big winner was "Take a Bite out of Huger," by RTKL, made of beans emerging from water waves to feast on tiny goldfish, but other fun designs included UFOs, abstract sculptures, and even food trucks. The event was organized by the Society for Design Administration, and all cans used go to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. If you want to vote for the Peoples' Choice award, go to Westfield Culver City's Facebook page.