The Cactus Store in Los Angeles is a small 400 sq/ft storefront and education center that focuses on rare and bizarre desert plants. An opportunity arose to temporarily expand the store’s operations to a vacant lot in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, across from Seward Park on the Chinatown border.
Two prefabricated aluminum structures were designed as temples to the plants, which are globally sourced and range in age from seedlings to specimens several hundreds of years old. Situated in the rear of the lot, they maximize sun exposure while retaining a sizable front yard that acts as a semi-public park hosting screenings, lectures, workshops, dinners, or simply an area to relax.
The structures are monolithically wrapped in a fabric-reinforced poly-film to obscure their full scale and mask the objects within; entering is a dramatic sensory shift to the arid climate and topography of the plants. The footprint is organized around a simple grid, and several columns were removed while others enlarged to optimize interior circulation and display. Additional product is hung on three aluminum mesh panels, which also assist in shear stabilization.
Modular furniture was designed for stacking and repeated rearrangement as stock shifts, and also serve as exterior benches when not in use for display.
As the winter months approach, the structure will be broken down and driven to another location yet to be determined.
PROJECT: New York Greenhouse
DESIGN: Part Office and Cactus Store
LOCATION: New York, New York USA
SIZE: 385 sq/ft (main building), 150 sq/ft (auxiliary building).