On December 4th, the team from Professor Kevin Jones' 4th-year Integrative Design Lab held their final review. This semester’s project challenged students to propose new futures for urban infill and culturally-focused community revitalization on an underutilized site in downtown Pearisburg, VA. The effort focused on food, community engagement, and the celebration of Appalachian foodways. The designs featured spaces for culinary training in regional cuisine, farm-to-table dining, affordable housing and food access, and community gardening. Outside, the architecture attempted to engage the historic downtown district adjacent to the site while including space for a community garden and greenhouse. The Pearisburg Community Kitchen is imagined as an expansion of ongoing efforts by the Giles Community Garden to provide education and access surrounding themes of gardening, food production, and health outcomes.

Each student worked individually on their project and attempted to meet the challenge of the Integrative lab by balancing both the poetic and the technical in their work. As a group, the team engaged directly with members of the community, including Charlie Herbert, director of the Giles Community Garden. Charlie hosted us in his garden "office" during a site visit early in the semester and visited campus several times to participate in both midterm and final design reviews. His real-world insights, support, and humor were appreciated by all.