The feedback I received was exactly what I wanted and needed to hear. In terms of constructive criticism, the most important point, to me, was to really go all out and let one topic drive the design versus trying to incorporate so many different uses into the project. The other major point that was made was to try to hold back from designing the building around program, but rather let program inform my design decisions. I relate this back to the original point, where I was attempting to fit too many program types, each with its own strategy, resulting in a decent idea but one without much specific interest or WOW factor (not that a WOW factor is necessary).
As I move forward with my new idea, I will be focusing my efforts strictly on an institution designed around development and innovation in Urban Agriculture and Sustainable Food Production. I have also decided to move away from the courtyard massing idea (honestly I don’t know why I was so attached to that idea in the first place!). Some of the positive feedback I received related to the relationship with the outdoors, and to move forward with the communal kitchen idea and really utilize that idea as a true anchor in the development of this community. The building should also continue to express how it is being used and should reflect what is going onside, whether that is through transparency or some other strategy.