Students design, build structure to house farmers’ market in Bryan

Ahmed Ali

Ben Bigelow

For the green of thumb who gather under tents in downtown Bryan, Texas, every Saturday morning to sell their locally grown fruits and vegetables at the Brazos Valley Farmers Market, a group of Texas A&M students have designed and built an alternative, more stylish and permanent vending space.

The students created “the Tree,” a large pergola-type structure with a multilayered roof. It is the prototype for a proposed series of similar sections that, when placed side by side, create a row of farmers’ market stalls.

Constructed at the College of Architecture’s Riverside Campus facility, each section, or “tree,” provides 8-by-12 feet of vendor space supported by four 6-by-6-inch posts. The outdoor market structure was designed and built by environmental design and construction science students led by Ahmed Ali, assistant professor of architecture, and Ben Bigelow, assistant professor of construction science.

Gessner Engineering provided pro bono engineering services for the project.

The effort was part of Real Projects, a College of Architecture community outreach initiative engaging students from multiple disciplines in efforts benefiting Brazos Valley residents.

Three graduate landscape architecture students who also participated in the project designed master plans for the city block that surrounds and includes the farmer’s market site, located two blocks east of downtown Bryan on property donated to the city by the Coulter and Lilly Rush Hoppess Foundation.

The foundation’s president, Karl Hoppess, and a group of city of Bryan officials who viewed the prototype “tree” section and reviewed the students’ master plans, are formulating a long-term plan for the block that captures the vision of the Hoppess family. The block includes two of Bryan’s oldest buildings, a house and carriage shed, built by Hoppess’ ancestors in 1872.

Past Real Projects initiatives have included the design of a home in Bryan, along with student development of construction cost estimates and landscape designs for the home, and a weeklong charrette planning the future of University Drive in College Station between Texas Avenue and College Avenue.

posted July 22, 2016