Living Food Project

The city as farm, market, kitchen and dining room.

This scheme was for the design of a chef school to be located in the run-down, East City precinct of Cape Town.

For most people living in the city, the production and delivery of food has become covert. I decided not to view food as a product, but as a process. My design explored the growing, harvesting, selling, preparation and eating of food. It aimed to make these processes overt and interactive. It endeavoured to bring community and social interaction into the milieu of food production and purchase. This interaction has been lost in most urbanites’ relationship to the covert process of the modern food chain.

The scheme aimed to create a liberated zone that offers an alternative food experience to the sanitised, sterilised and consumerist relationship to food that prevails.

The programme included a chef school, restaurant, café, conference rooms, community hall and a fresh produce market. The urban agriculture component included hydroponic growing troughs, a herbarium and a germination nursery.

The movement systems encouraged a visual and physical interaction with all aspects of the food process.

The design process began with extensive mapping of the east city and its land-use, heritage and trajectory. The site analysis looked at all the essentials like bulk, coverage, orientation, movement, street connection etc. This formed part of a feasibility study.

Unfortunately the site has subsequently been used for a 17 floor residential tower that is totally insensitive to the site, the location and history. Besides lacking any design integrity, as far as I can work out it grossly contravenes the bulk and coverage requirements in the zoning regulations.