SEEDS Community Center

SEEDS is a local nonprofit community center, garden, and teaching kitchen located in Durham. Throughout its 100-year history, SEEDS’ existing facility has served multiple functions in the community, including a grocery store, funeral parlor, mortuary, and church before it became home to SEEDS’ administrative and educational programs.

Years of neglect contributed to significant building issues, including a failing roof and a rear wall that was separating from the building, as well as obsolete plumbing and mechanical systems. MHAworks was hired by SEEDS to examine the building and assess whether the structure was salvageable or better demolished for new construction.

Through our study, we found that it would be more beneficial to renovate the existing structure through adaptive reuse. In architecture, adaptive reuse is the process of repurposing an existing structure for new use and has many benefits to the client and community including lower costs of construction, historic preservation, mitigating zoning challenges, and is a more sustainable alternative to new construction.

For SEEDS, our decision to renovate the existing structure allowed for the building to remain in its existing location, created a continuity of scale and materials between the newly renovated structure and surrounding buildings, minimized disturbances to SEEDS’ garden, and reduced construction waste.

Throughout the assessment and design process, our team worked closely with the owner design committee to help develop a cohesive project program and scope of work that served as a roadmap for further development of SEEDS. Based on the feedback we received from various stakeholders, our team learned that two major elements needed to be included in the renovation work.
To increase the connection between the building and the garden and other natural resources on site.
Add a functional teaching kitchen to be used by staff, classes, and caterers.

In keeping with SEEDS’ mission, our goal throughout the design process was to create a building that would become an asset to the teaching garden and educational programs and would serve as a community resource and meeting place. Our mission was to design an attractive and inviting building that blended well with the surrounding community and did not overwhelm the landscape.

The newly renovated SEEDS building was completed in 2014. The new 7,000-square-foot building includes event space, a full teaching kitchen with a walk-in cooler, office space, and a conference room. The project also includes exterior amenities including gardens and a back patio overlooking the scenic view that makes the space an ideal location for community event rentals.

As sustainability is one of the core values of SEEDS, our team knew how important incorporating sustainable design would be throughout the life of the project. The new SEEDS building features many sustainable design elements including a reflective white roof to reduce interior temperatures, high-performance window glazing to reduce interior heat loss, and many other energy-saving features were installed in a way that co-mingled with the design aesthetic SEEDS was looking for.

South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces (SEEDS)
Durham, NC
Community Support
Building Envelope
Capital Campaign Support
Construction Administration
Interior Design
Space Management
Sustainability Design & Certification