Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter Wonderland

A fresh foot of snow fell in the backyard last night.  We're only a little month into the season and the snow keeps a comin!

Pete takes a look at some fire extinguishers which are being made into a table base.

Bryan and SPX work on the lettering for the Arts Summit banners.  The Arts Summit has been moved to Feburary 2, and is still being held at the

And the day is finished up with some healthy food on the table!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Bryan trying his hand at creating soil ,

removing extraneous plastic/noncompostable bits from scrap cardboard

clearing a space

getting down to bare earth

laying down flat dead trees

covering with fluffy rain

waiting on moma nature...

Roebling Building 101 - Alternative Use Proposal

Posterous link

We've heard in recent weeks of HHG's plans to develop block 3 of the Wire Rope District, specifically building 101, into a 135-unit luxury-loft residential apartment building.

For those who are unfamiliar with Trenton and the Wire Rope District, here are some aerial photographs of the site.

The first image shows the outline of the overall Wire Rope District, with the Trenton Transit Center on the upper right, which is North, and the Wire Rope District to the left, which is South.

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]The next two aerial photographs highlight major transportation corridors in shades of green (NE Corridor and RiverLine), as well as standard road transportation routes in shades of red (Route 1, Route 129, Route 29, Clinton)

[[posterous-content:pid___1]][[posterous-content:pid___2]]Next, we take a closer look at building 101.


Building Information:
Clark Street Rope Shop Building 101
21-71 Clark St.Block 15901, Lot 1
Length: 300ft
Width: 90ftHeight: 4 Stories


[[posterous-content:pid___6]]An Alternative Proposal

Our forward-thinking proposal is to reconsider the development of the 4 story Clark Street Rope Shop, which is part of Project 23 - “Roebling Block 3” in grid F07 of the City of Trenton Development Projects Map. Rather than converting the warehouse into residential units with amazing views overlooking other abandoned buildings, extensive parking lots, a railroad, a highway, and an arena, this 4-story, windows on all sides buildings could be converted into a vertical farm, this first of its scale in the country - an eco-tourism magnet and green-jobs creator for local Trentonians.

The vertical farm/indoor agriculture approach being developed all over the country, with a successful warehouse conversion called SweetWater Organics operating in Milwaukee - producing fresh mircrogreens and kale, as well as a number of fish species. “Sweet Water Organics is an urban farm located in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee that has re-purposed unused industrial building space; growing fresh, safe produce and fish for local Milwaukee residents, restaurants and groceries." The following pictures show the SweetWater Organics warehouse conversion and growing operations underway.



The total cost for indoor farming conversion would probably lie within $5-10 million, as opposed to the $25million expected to create the residential units, which Trenton already has plenty of. Trenton already has plenty of housing stock which is available for rent, as well as a plethora of residential housing developments (Miller Homes, thousands of vacant residential sites being auctioned off by the City) that could be rehabilitated before this building is considered for residential development.

Plus, there would be local buyers for the produce - Roebling Market, local restaurants, and potentially another business who may be moving in to another nearby converted warehouse. The below image shows just how close these locations are - drastically reducing shipping costs and transportation losses of the produce.[[posterous-content:pid___9]]

According to a 2007 analysis by the City of Trenton, 30% of the total vacant properties are owned by the City, and the City owns over 2700 vacant properties, meaning there are over 4500 total vacant properties in the City of Trenton. There are many other housing options available in the downtown area, including high-rises and other housing projects that were abandoned in 2008 that could be completed before this warehouse is converted into even more unused housing stock.
The market for housing, especially luxury condominiums like the ones currently being proposed for this building, are probably the last thing Trenton needs or wants. These luxury condominiums will probably not be fully occupied, if ever. The views from the building are of the RiverLine railway, major highway Rt 129, a Sports Arena, parking lots, low-income neighborhoods, and other dilapidated abandoned warehouses.

Basic cost analysis:(very rough estimate - need resources and info regarding estimation)

  • Roof = $2,150,000
    • Demo - 30,000sf @ $50/sf = $1,500,000
    • Disposal - 30,000sf x 1ft = 30,000 cubic foot volume = @1200 cubic yards
      • $1000 per 30 yard dumpster = $40,000
      • round up to $50,000
    • Build - 30,000sf @ $20/sf = $600,000
  • Finalize cleanup/remediation - $300,000
    • Powerwash interior from top-down after roof removal
  • Energy - $1,000,000
    • Solar-thermal heating systems
    • Solar reflectors on exterior of building to reflect additional sunlight inside 1st, 2nd, 3rd floors
      • mount mirrors just under bottom of windowsills to reflect light inside
      • angled to allow most light into building without tracking
    • Heat-generation plant on bottom floor (aerobic digestion of compostables?)
      • heat flows up to
    • Anaerobic digestion on bottom floor with methane collection
  • Electricity - $1,000,000
    • Solar panels installed on south-facing side of building
    • vertical axis wind-turbines on corners of building
  • Water System - $100,000
    • Collection from rooftop - 1” rainfall over 30k sf = 2,500cf = 18,700 gallons
      • plenty of water, but a closed recirculating system would require almost no additional water
    • Storage tanks internal on 4th or 3rd floor (high for gravity/pressure system)
    • Recirculation system requires pumps - solar powered
  • Windows - ($500,000)
    • @230 window sections, with @90 panes per section, @ 2sf per pane
    • at 10$ per square foot of glass
    • about $500,000
  • Growing Systems - $300,000
    • vertical growing systems inside constructed from organic materials such as lumber and bamboo
    • pipes needed for water delivery system

Other planned vertical farming operations. (3)

  • Big Box Farms - Maine (plans for Brooklyn, Chicago, Philladelphia)
    • “Jordan Motzkin, 22, of New York, has won grants from National Science Foundation and the College of the Atlantic for his startup, __Big Box Farms__, which finished testing a prototype in Maine and plans to open an indoor farm in an old Brooklyn warehouse early next year. He expects the farm to grow millions of pounds of organic lettuce and basil. Motzkin then hopes to replicate it, first with farms in Chicago and Philadelphia, then elsewhere in the nation.”
  • Gotham Green - Brooklyn, NY
    • “Another new company, __Gotham Greens__, will use hydroponics to grow everything from bok choy to basil in an enclosed rooftop greenhouse in the middle of Brooklyn. The company raised $2 million from investors and should finish the 15,000-square-foot greenhouse this spring, producing 40 tons of crops a year, most of which will be sold to a local Whole Foods store.”
  • CityScape Farms - SanFransisco, CA
    • “In San Francisco, __Cityscape Farms__ plans to grow lettuce and herbs and raise fish in water-based aquaponics systems in greenhouses set up on urban rooftops and vacant lots. Cityscape CEO Mike Yohay predicts that by eliminating transportation costs and fertilizer, a 10,000-square-foot greenhouse could produce $500,000 in profit and 20 to 30 tons of food a year for local supermarkets and corporate cafeterias.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fire and Ice

A quick check-up on Building 114 and the B Home revealed recent activity at the former industrial building, whose primary use has now become a storage area for dirt from the motocross events at the Sun Bank Arena.

Graham and Bryan man the FireBowls outside the New Hope Arts Center at the Fire and Ice Ball.

Crazy bearded man carved a sculpture from 5 blocks of ice at the event.

Ice Sculpture ensues

Pete discovered someone left the A/C on in the bathroom downstairs...

Bryan works on a design for a rather interesting PineApple FireScreen.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lights Camera Action

Busy day at 220 Allen.

Terracycle stopped by to create a cigarette butt collection unit made from old fire extinguishers.



Bryan performed some engraving on plagues for some sculptures to be auctioned off at the Trenton Saint Patrick's Day Parade fund raiser at Notre Dame High School.


While gram worked on the B Home. design.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

moving and groovin

Bryan working on Ebb and Flow

now on view at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Eco-sculpture at the Princeton Library

Pete puts the finishing touches on his sculpture "Spring to Life"

Graham's "Configuration"

Erik's "Dali"

The Grouping


Trenton Atelier - 220 Allen St. Trenton, NJ

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yet Another Busy Day

Pete making...something.

Bryan grinding away at one of the sculptures.

Weldy weldy weld...

Hey, it's Dox again. The shop was teeming with life today as the little worker bees buzzed around doing the things that we do around the shop. Both Pete and Bry were working on some abstractions for the Environmental Film Festival that's coming up tomorrow. I was up and down making jewelry when my friend Andrew posted a status on his Facebook that read: "SNOW PHOTO SHOOT ANYONE?????" Having extensive space at the shop, I decided to hit him up. A few hours later, there was a great shoot featuring some of our friends and some of my jewelry.

Keep your fingers crossed for the Trenton Arts Summit and the Environmental Film Festival.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

walk in the woods

Pete took a hike on the Appalachian Trail yesterday,reminiced about his brush with hypotermia when he was 16, and got his nature on.

Now its back to the grind, getting pieces ready for the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, staying a foot ahead of the snow and generally just trying to stay warm

Sunday, January 9, 2011

609n it

A stop by the Small World Coffee roastery last week - picked up some brown gold... yeah... and a bag full of coffee husks (dunno what we'll do with them yet)

The coffee is A M A Z I N G - keeps us running here at the TA.


We then swung by the Double Brook Farm to size a firescreen (The Meat Screen) for a rather large and shallow fireplace. 

The firescreen will be designed so as to throttle back the top of the opening, preventing smoke from blowing back into the room.


We also took a look at the brand-new farming operations out back - 200 head of cattle, new barns, and bio-diesel powered equipment.

Above Pete takes a look-see at the hay-lift tractor stacking some bayles for the next few months of winter.


Finally, on Saturday the Princeton EPICS class presented on the B Home.  

Some more work is needed on the fine details of the design, but progress is definitely being made.


Stay tuned this week - many updates to come as we clean up and organize the shop, prepare some artworks for the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, rebuild the HeliShuttle frame (maybe), and welcome some new members at the Atelier.




Friday, January 7, 2011

Love from Linowitz

A wonderful surprise in the mail
Marc Linowitz
Of the Rose and Louis Charitable Foundation
Dropped some seed monies our way
This will be used to formulate a partnership plan with oursep and the Trenton Board of Education to provide a space to explore ,experiment and exhibit

The Linowitz Foundation has been a dedicated and generous supporter of childrens activities in the Trenton area for generations.
Thank you

Monday, January 3, 2011

Trenton Atelier HeliShuttle at W&B Airlines NYE 2011

The Albert Wilkin's comissioned Trenton Atelier HeliShuttle successfully completed it's first flight at the Wilkins and Balktick W&B Airline Maiden Voyage NYE 2011 Bash.
Featured in New York Metromix photo-essay by Gabi Porter, the HeliShuttle can be seen in action.

Following the crazy all night flight, the HeliShuttle made a crash landing.  After some quick repairs, the HeliShuttle was back in action for cleanup missions the next day.