NATURE Lab: Community-Led Design in North Troy

In the summer of 2018, The Sanctuary for Independent Media began the design process for the new NATURE Lab Environmental Education Center. With the help of the Troy Architecture Project and input from the community, we are transforming a long-abandoned building in North Troy into a grassroots science resource for the neighborhood.

The process began when the 2018 Uptown Summer youth program was joined by architect Cameron Toler. They brainstormed how the design and programming of the new center could reflect the needs of the community. A long history of industrial pollution and decades of neglect have left Troy with a unique set of challenges. The youth mapped out these issues, then brainstormed ways the center could work to address them.

The Uptown Summer youth brainstorm challenges in Troy

Two weeks later, the youth brought these ideas to our Community Design Think Tank, where we opened our doors for input from the greater community. High school students, engineers, community organizers, politicians, and educators collaborated to come up with unique design solutions. Some notable guests included the Troy Boys and Girls Club, congressman Paul Tonko, architects from TAP Inc., and environmental activist Aaron Mair.

The design ideas were collected by Cameron Toler and used to generate preliminary prototypes for the new NATURE Lab Environmental Education Center. We are very excited to have all this input and support as we move forward!

Some features of the new center will include public green space, a science lab, and a community kitchen.

While the new center is under construction, we will continue with our open hours programming. Visit the NATURE Lab page to get involved!

Photos by Catie Rafferty. Videography by Chris Johnstone and Elizabeth Press.