Map from 1904
Map from 1904
In the early 1900’s, Greylock Mills diverted a portion of the Hoosic River to harness hydropower via a Flume, which drove a network of belts that turned hundreds of cotton-spinning looms with renewable energy. Constructed with huge granite slabs, the Wheel Room, Belt Room, and barrel-vaulted Tail Race lie below the Main Mill and traverse under Route 2 to a vacant parcel of land along the waterfront. This inspirational infrastructure has since been contaminated by subsequent uses – primarily aluminum processing.
Rather than viewing the Flume as a contaminated liability, we view it as an extraordinary asset – latent with the compelling story of its hydro-power past – to inspire action to address the cultural and environmental imperatives of our time. It is our challenge and opportunity to re-conceive what a FLUME could look like today.
The vision to revitalize this nine-acre campus grew out of an appreciation for the Berkshires. We’re responding to the community’s clear desire, outlined in the City of North Adams’ Vision 2030 Plan, to spur economic development while safeguarding the region’s core characteristics of mills, farming, and cultural vitality. We’re fostering artisanal food production as a cultural complement to the bounty of fine arts, performances, and liberal arts education that are already so abundant in this natural landscape.
The movement to safeguard healthy regional food systems is growing. Our programming strives to increase access to nutrition, engage multiple generations through convivial interaction around the terroir of the region, train a hospitality workforce, and help support a philosophy that values the intellect, the arts, and the natural environment.
Food as Culture is a medium for education, sustenance, and pleasure. It entices tourism, provides an anchor for locals, celebrates diversity, and nourishes collegial networks.
As architects, we leverage design with regional research to create inspiring places to work and gather as a catalyst for economic development. We have collaborated with the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College to conduct feasibility studies for value-added food and beverage production that expands the viability of local agriculture. Thus far, topics have included hard cider production and related long-term planning with collaborating orchards, rooftop farming and a related CSA, as well as an indoor aquaponics facility that avoids the use of plastics and builds year-round resiliency of a continuous growth cycle fueled by solar power.
We are dedicating BUILDING 11 – a magnificent ± 10,000 square foot heavy-timber truss roof structure – to be a permanent nonprofit facility focused on interpretive sciences that fortify an ECOLOGY of FOOD.
Greylock FLUME. There is a commitment to advocating for the regional food ecosystem, as well as a capacity to translate deep collaborative research into actionable programs that improve one’s direct interaction with nature and food. Diverse cultures can be celebrated through flavor. Gardens are classrooms for interdependency, resilience, and healthy growth. Soil is a laboratory for sustainable living.
At its core, this is a project seeking balance and synergy, setting a tangible example for how an ecosystem can operate. Along the way, it’s helping to catalyze a sense of optimism that new purpose can be uncovered on fallow ground.
MARKETS + ADVOCACY
Over 50,000 people visit Greylock WORKS annually. In our main event venue, our FESTIVE Holiday Market draws about 2,000 people for a two-day event. In response to increasing popularity, we commenced a weekly Mini Maker Market in the summer of 2022, which offers makers a consistent platform to share their artisanal goods with the community. We prioritize a Farm + Food program, featuring workshops and agricultural advocacy in our Culinary LAB.
We have designated and preserved Building 11 as a home for cultural programming. Located at the southwest corner surrounded by hundreds of native plantings, this ± 10,000 SF open space has a magnificent heavy timber-truss roof, century-old brick construction and sits adjacent to an intimate exterior courtyard at the heart of the campus.
Having completed extensive upgrades to the roof structure and waterproofing system, we are embarking on a planning phase to determine the ideal cultural use of Building 11.
1. Barnes & Farnham. ITEM #US5484 North Adams 2, Greylock, Blackinton. Historic Map Works Rare Historic Maps Collection. 1904. https://www.historicmapworks.com/
2. McIntyre, Scott. “In New England, Hard Cider Stages A Comeback.” NPR News, 16 November 2009, https://www.kpcc.org/npr-news.
3. Gigli, Ogden. “Berkshire Apple Orchard.” Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism, 25 September 2013, https://www.flickr.com/photos/masstravel/.
4. OsterGRO. https://www.oestergro.dk/
5. OsterGRO. https://www.oestergro.dk/
6. GrowHaus and Colorado Aquaponics. “GrowHaus: Growing Food, Growing Minds, Growing Community.” Aquaponic Source, https://www.theaquaponicsource.com/
7. Kenkel, Trevor. “Using fish waste as fertilizer, Springworks Farm sells vegetables to over 30 local restaurants and clients in Maine.” Scienceline, 03 April 2017, https://scienceline.org/
8. Kurland, Justine. “Alice Waters in the schoolyard with workers.” The Edible Schoolyard by Alice Waters, Vol. 29, No. 1 – Winter 2005, https://smallfarmersjournal.com/.
9. Mhmood, Fatma. Gladstar Farm and Food Workshop at Greylock Works Culinary Lab. 28 July 2018.
10. Matejcek, Julia. Kitchen Garden Farm at Heirloom Farm and Food Market at Greylock Works Weave Shed. 28 July 2018
11. Cochran, Nina. Festive Holiday Market at Greylock Works Weave Shed. 17 November 2018.