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The Gibbs House
The Gibbs House
Last updated:
4503 Parkview Ave., Kalamazoo, Michigan, US
Climate zone:
Cool Temperate

PJ Chmiel
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The Gibbs House

Project Type

Urban, Residential, School Projects, Demonstration, Educational

Project Summary

Cedar Creek Permaculture is working with Western Michigan University on developing a comprehensive master plan for their 1.75 acre environmental research house call the Gibbs House. Located in the City of Kalamazoo, the Gibbs House is a 150+ year old farm house and is the oldest building owned by Western.

Project Description

"Gibbs House Fellowships are year-long opportunities open to all students who pay the sustainability fee. Fellows participate in leadership and discovery-driven learning opportunities and are paid to research and work on campus sustainability projects and policies. Fellows live in the 150 year old Gibbs House across from Asylum Lake, which also serves as a community sustainability resource center."


Construction of a new business facility in the BTR park displaced the land that was being used for the WMU Student Farm.

"In addition to producing local food for campus, the farm serves as a living laboratory for research on sustainable food systems, ecology, biology, composting, and permaculture. Campus and community groups are encouraged to book educational tours or volunteer on the farm from early spring through late fall."


Additional land was gifted to the site on either side for the student farm to relocate onto.  The Office for Sustainability has asked me to create a comprehensive site plan for the Gibbs House property and student farm.

The project has plans for up to 4 hoop house greenhouses for seed starting and controlled spaces to do composting research, biodigestion, and aquaponics systems.  There is also an outdoor education spacebuilt using local materials located within the gardens.  Hugelkulture swales with fruiting shrubs and perennials harvest rainwater and provide habbitat and microclimates.  There is also a native plant garden with educational signs and descriptions.  Along the West side of the property will be a small demonstration food forest of eddible nuts and fruits, shrubs, vines, and ground cover.  

The house will be retrofitted with a solar hot water system, rainwater collection, a 10kw solar PV system, and grey water treatment (living machine style).


Courses Taught Here!
Project Badges
Urban Residential School Demonstration Educational
Joshua Shultz - Admin
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