Open the floodgates, the leak is out!

by Meagan Hodge

So there have been multiple leaks regarding the next big Emergent Structures project over the last month or so. Has everyone been paying attention?

It involves reclaimed materials (imagine that), cross-collaboration for the design & build (as always) and sustainable solutions to traditional construction methods (yes, indeed)! All brought together to create an innovative greenhouse for educational purposes!

Once upon a time, a seed was planted on a blighted piece of property by a courageous group of gardeners from Savannah High School’s Greenhouse Program. They nurtured the growth of this seed within this Eastside neighborhood at Southern Pine Company, and now a year later, Emergent Structures is facilitating the design and build of an innovative greenhouse at this off-campus location for the non-profit organization behind it all, Design for Ability.

Design for Ability

This newly founded Savannah non-profit works hand in hand with not only these youth of exceptional needs from Savannah High School, but with Chatham County public schools at large. They focus on vocational training methods within green emerging pockets of the construction, agriculture and artisan industries.

Through the construction stage of this project, the attending students of Design for Ability will be involved in every step of the building process, from salvaging the material, de-nailing lumber, material inventory, site preparation and construction of the greenhouse.

The original design is derived from my final Masters project in SCAD’s Design for Sustainability program. As Project Manager for Emergent Structures on this and past projects, and Program Director for Design for Ability, I founded the organization with an understaning of the need for such work in Savannah. I believe that through the completion of this project, there are multiple opportunities to educate the students about progressive building systems such as passive cooling and heating, photovoltaic energy production and rain-water harvesting.

Collaborative Partnerships

So, ya know how we believe in cross-collaboration amongst diverse sectors? Well, that is the exact key to getting this project completed. We have outsourced to multiple for-profit companies, non-profit groups as well as educational organizations to join the collaborative efforts.

We’ll talk a lot more about our sponsors and supporters as this project develops, but we have to give a shout-out to IKEA (and Dean Peterson, Sustainability Manager at their Port Wentworth Distribution Center) for leading the funding team with a generous $9,000 contribution. IKEA, of course, funded Emergent Structures efforts in creating the Shuman Elementary School pergola and garden.

Another call-out goes to Hardin Construction (and Hardin Project Manager Russ Aldridge) for their $2,000 contribution, and their commitment to ongoing support.

Southern Pine Company, meanwhile, continues to be an ardent Emergent Structures supporter, even after owner Ramsey Khalidi rolled off our board by providing logistical support, equipment, labor, and for providing economic and property support for Design for Abilities‘ operation.

Material Sources
  • Strathmore Estates: 35 sets of double hung wooden windows salvaged from the construction site of the Savannah Gardens redevelopment project. Yes, this redevelopment site that stimulated the founding of Emergent Structures in the first place, is still a source of harvested materials!
  • Southern Pine Company: heart pine lumber, structural wooden columns, foundation materials such as brick for permeable paving
  • Debra + Chuck Caldwell: over 1,400 board feet of yellow pine and a yet-as-to-be determined amount of red cedar shiplap siding. The caldwells are owners of the E. Jones Street house, whose materials have been used in almost a dozen of projects around town, including the Shuman Elementary pergola, and the Thrive outdoor eating area.
  • Jeanne Svendson: red wood columns and two pairs of french doors. Jeanne is the owner of the E. Taylor Street house, whose materials were integral in the construction of the Shuman Elementary School pergola.

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