Dreamscapes of Paris. 
Vincent Callebaut, Belgium architect. 

Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut’s fantastical structures and futuristic urban landscapes are not to everyone’s liking, but one thing is for sure: They always get the internet talking. His latest images are a case in point, portraying Paris as an über green metropolis, populated with vertical farms, towers powered by photosynthesis and apartments made up of tessellating honeycomb modules, fused with traditional residential blocks.

Inhabitable bridges soar across the Seine, whilst tree-like structures entwined with mangrove plants spiral overhead. Weaving between the luscious high-rises, a spiderweb of monorails completes Callebaut’s outrageously utopian vision of sustainable architecture and infrastructure.

Given Parisian resistance to tall buildings following the debacle that was Tour Montparnasse — a tower voted the second ugliest building in the world on Virtual Tourist in 2008 — it seems far-fetched in the extreme to imagine that the concept designer’s forest of skyscrapers could possibly become reality, no matter how green they may be.

Nevertheless, much of Callebaut’s work is intended to get people talking about environmental issues within the built environment, and on this point alone, his renderings must be considered a huge success. His work follows in the footsteps of many architects and visual artists who create playfully absurd worlds, intended not as feasible proposals but rather to provoke debate and encourage us to ask: “What if?"

Consider working on your poster visualization in a similar style, showing the before and after, the possibility of a beautiful green city that can feed itself. 


Cosmo, winner of MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program.
Andrés Jaque.

Spanish architect Andrés Jaque has won this year's MoMA PS1Young Architects Program contest, with plans to turn the courtyard of the New York gallery into a water filtration plant.

Named Cosmo, the structure will comprise a huge pipe network, engineered to filter and purify 3,000 gallons of water every four days. The purifying cycle will involve eliminating suspended particles and nitrates, balancing the PH, and increasing the level of dissolved oxygen. When each cycle is complete, the structure will light up in celebration.

According to Jaque, the project will highlight a statistic put forward by the United Nations – that by 2025 approximately two thirds of the global population will live in countries that lack sufficient water. His "moveable artefact" has also been designed to be easily reproduced, potentially giving people all around the world access to clean drinking water.

Where will the water come from if I am to install urban farms? London's climate provides adequate rainfall but perhaps storage of rainwater should be taken into consideration? A large part of the sustainability comes from the provision of water and energy so this needs to be looked at. 


SK Yee Healthy Life Centre.

It demonstrates an exceptional example of the integration of sustainable design into healthcare architecture.

The Centre is 100-percent naturally lit and ventilated. The interior was designed with cross-ventilated windows which allow patients to have control over their environment, creating a place of comfort, respect and dignity. The naturally-ventilated interiors greatly improve indoor air quality, promoting a healthy interior environment which brings additional low-carbon benefits.

Its integrated green roof and wall design creates a greenery coverage ratio of over 57 percent. Its extensive green roofs and walls not only reduce air-conditioner loading, but also offer a landscape that both the patients and surrounding neighbors can enjoy. 

TO CONSIDER: How can urban farms reduce the energy load on buildings? 


MoMA PS1 pavilion, by The Living

New York studio The Living has completed this year's MoMA PS1 gallery pavilion – a cluster of circular towers built from bricks that have been grown from corn stalks and mushrooms.

Designed by The Living principal David Benjamin, the structure is built from entirely from biodegradable materials.

Each of the bricks used to construct it were grown rather than manufactured, using a combination of agricultural byproducts and mushroom mycelium – a kind of natural digestive glue.Specially designed moulds were used to cultivate the bio-bricks. These were coated in a light-refracting film developed by materials firm 3M and some were then built into the structure around the top, helping to bounce light down inside. 

Gaps in the brickwork also help to naturally ventilate the interior using the stack effect, drawing cool air in at the bottom and pushing hot air out at the top.

Will urban farms require other structures to be built? What will these structures be made of? How well does this biobrick stand up to the elements? 


Shigeharu Shimamura, GE LED Light Farm.

The purple lighting mimics night time while the more white spectrum lighting, just like the Super Grow LED are adjusted slowly over the entire day to mimic the sun moving throughout the sky. 

‘We want to achieve the best combination of photosynthesis during the day and breathing at night by controlling the lighting and the environment.’

The special LED fixtures were developed by GE and emit a perfect spectrum for plant growth and the plant opened in July 2014 and is producing 10,000 lettuce per day. The GE LEDs were tuned to emit the optimal spectrum for growth, according to TreeHugger.com; it doesn’t say whether the light formula is particular to the variety of lettuce being grown. “I knew how to grow good vegetables biologically and I wanted to integrate that knowledge with hardware to make things happen,” Shimamura says. The concept took off in 2011, when GE approached Shimamura with an idea for using advanced LED lights to illuminate the farm.

Shimamura can control every aspect of the light, day and night to slow or accelerate growth so that he can grow vitamin rich lettuce 2.5 times faster than the equivalent outdoor farm and the discarded produce is down from 50% to only 10% so all in all the productivity has been increased 100 fold. Then by controlling the temperature, humidity and irrigation perfectly he has cut the use of water to just 1% of what an outdoor farm uses, amazing.

These LED lights consume around 40% less electricity than the already lean CFL’s. GE used their own technology to make the lights thin for racks whilst still providing uniform light and maintain working within high humidity grow areas. ‘That way, we can put in more growing racks and increase productivity dramatically,’ said Tomoaki Kimura, country manager for GE Lighting Japan. Mirai and GE are already working on ‘plant factories’ in Hong Kong and the Far East of Russia and the team are keen to help solve food shortages in the world.


Vertical Farming: can urban agriculture feed a hungry world?
By Fabian Kretschmer and Malte E. Kollenberg.

-Vertical farming has the potential to feed up to 10 billion people. The catch is that vertical farms require huge amounts of energy. 
-The benefits of indoor farming: 
1. Less land use while still producing the same amount. 
2. Independent from weather conditions meaning there is a (almost) guaranteed regularity and food security. 
3. More efficient due to regulations of temperature, light, humidity, etc. 
4. Generally uses a lot less water than the conventional farm. 
-The consequences of indoor farming:
1. The replacement of sunlight, a free natural resources, with LEDs. 
(For example, "if you wanted to replace all of the wheat cultivation in the US for an entire year using vertical farming, you would need eight times the amount of electricity generated by all the power plants in the US over a single year - and that is just for powering the lighting.")
2. Reliance on renewable energy requires a complete change in our energy production methods today which will take a long time. 
("At the moment, renewable energy sources only generate about 2 percent of all power in the US. Accordingly, the sector would have to be expanded 400-fold to create enough energy to illuminate indoor wheat crops for an entire year.")
-The model imitates the rice terraces in East Asia. 
-I understand logically how vertical farming has the potential to meet all of our needs as the population grows and therefore demand for food grows. But in my opinion, it is still a temporary fix; the temporary term has just ended to perhaps a few more decades. I think this type of farming will continue to perpetuate the average city dweller's dissonance with nature and with food production. If this continues, a change in our consumption and our understanding will not occur and I think that is the key to fixing the problem at the root. I think one of the few ways for this to happen is for people to farm themselves; to understand the act of giving and taking from the earth. 


Urban Skyfarm. 
By Aprilli Design Studio. 

-Inspired by the ecological system of giant trees. 
-Their theory is that building vertically will allow for more exposure of the plants to sunlight while freeing up land on the ground for shaded public space. 
-The use of the tree as their inspiration for the design is very effective but I worry that their approach is more dropping an interesting, functional structure onto a site that fits with it instead of responding to the needs of the site. As in, this design could have been placed anywhere because it is not integrated with what exists which has its pros and cons. 
-Urban Skyfarm is designed to be a net zero facility operating only on solar and wind energy. 
-Uses a combination of outdoor and indoor (hydroponic) farming. 
-What is the farm made of? Is it sustainably constructed? 
-The functionality of each part (base, trunk, branches, leaves) of the design is very well thought out. 
-The video rendering was very helpful in understanding the atmosphere of the structure. 


Farming Cuba, urban agriculture from the ground up. By Carey Clouse.
Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 2014.

-Urban farming offers people logical, affordable, and accessible food. It gives people the power to choose the food they produce, the seeds they save, etc. 

-Benefits of urban farming:
1. Reduction in physical distance between space of production and consumption.
2. Reduction in the dependence on corresponding energy-intensive systems (ex. Refrigeration, storage, distribution, and transportation.)
3. Small land parcels reduces a crop's vulnerability to diseases and pests.
4. Small land parcels reduces demands for broad-scale inputs.
5. Small land parcels reduces demand for heavy machinery (reduction in dependency of oil).
6. Small land parcels reduces demand for large scale irrigation.
7. Encourages productive use of vacant/underused areas of the city.
8. Promotes a healthy eating culture (increased consumption of fresh food).
9. Promotes physical activity and mental well being.
10. Elimination of informal dumpsites.
11. Increase in green space which therefore improves water management and air quality.
12. Gives people control over quality and quantity of their food.
13. Reduces the urban heat-island effect.

-The negatives of urban farming:
1. Possible environmental pollution and urban toxins from salvaged materials, contaminated soils, and motorized vehicles could compromise the health of food products.
2. Irrigation, access to clean and plentiful water, becomes a difficult problem to address.
3. The climate of the country dictates the amount of food production.
-86,450 acres of urban Cuban land was dedicated to intensive farming by 2002, after the almost overnight loss of food imports in 1989 from the Soviet Union (which accounts for approximately 1/3 of their daily calories).

-"A decade after the food crisis, +50% of the perishable produce consumed in Havana was also produced in Havana."
-The support through policy and provision of supplies from the Cuban government (Fidel Castro) was a big factor that allowed citizens to move forward in this urban farming revolution. (page 41-42)
-Fixed salaries and the fact that it is illegal to engage in most other forms of private entrepreneurship, (a type of handcuffed capitalism), made farming very popular in Cuba.
-1999: approximately 22, 781 agricultural labourers alone. The job was becoming more popular.
-Small plots in dense, central, and the oldest part of Havana. Medium-sized plots in the residential, suburb areas just outside the central core. Largest growing spaces occur in the peri-urban zones.
-Must consider the ownership of the land. In Havana, much of the land is state owned meaning the laws passed by the government allow for farmers to step in if the land has been abandoned.
-Make note of how my design would be resistant to natural disasters. If no time to address this, mention that this would need to be taken into consideration before the design is actually implemented.
-Havana's crops include: vegetables, herbs, medicinal and ornamental plants, flowers, fruit, -plantains, coffee, cocoa, roots and tubers, oilseeds, rice, beans, corn and sorghum.
-Havana's livestock includes: poultry, rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep, goats, pigs and cows. Few aquaculture and apiaries can be found within city limits.

-Non physical factors that play a part in Cuba's progressive urban agriculture:
1. Government support in agrotechnology, economic incentives, land tenure and use, social programs, research, and education.
2. Government provision of technical farming assistance at agricultural stores, veterinary clinics, compost centres, artisanal pest control centres, seed houses, state-sponsored workshops, and informal gardening clubs.
3. Infrastructure like seed banks and markets allow for improved access to resources, information, physical space between growers as well as strong partnerships between people and the government and each other.
4. Decentralized distribution network to state agricultural markets, free markets, child-care centres, schools, hospitals, and sales to the tourism industry.

-Water and soil testing of the land and area in which you are growing food.
-Farmers are highly regarded in Cuba. Because of the free education system, you can meet farmers with a wide range of degrees, from a Bachelors to a PhD.  Fidel Castro's intention was to "convert farming into one of the most honored, promoted, and appreciated professions."

-Reasons people in Cuba farm:
1. Access to and control over an independent food source.
2. Higher social status.
3. Gratifying work.
4. Competitive salaries.

-Cuba relies a lot on it's government and foreign aid from NGOs to provide the resources needed to sustain this type of urban agriculture.
-"Urban agriculture is a city function, like housing, but gardens should be properly designed." While guerilla gardening is great and revolutionary and all, the initiatives, the farms that will survive long term are the ones that are well planned and well designed.

-Havana's current office of urban agriculture prescribes these design mandates:
1. Agroecology: the study of ecological processes that operate in agricultural production systems.
2. Sustainable agriculture.
3. Production diversity.
4. Small-scale crops for state, cooperative and private groups.
5. Economic adequacy.
6. Preserving harmony with the urban environment.
7. Preservation of the goals of the Revolution.

-Farming is very political. Cuba's agricultural programs might flounder under other less autocratic forms of government.

Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls, by Nigel Dunnett and Noël Kingsbury
Timber Press, Inc. 2008
-Why build green roofs? (page 41)
-Has the potential to increase biodiversity and habitats for animals in an urban environment. 
-Green roofs help to manage storm water: plants absorb some of the water and transpire it back into the atmosphere while the soil absorbs the majority of the rest. This can greatly help to combat the negative effects of heavy runoff water like flooding. 
-Trees and large vegetation in urban areas can filter out fine airborne particles like those produced primarily by vehicles to reduce air pollution. 
-Foliage can also absorb gaseous pollutants, sequestering the material in their tissues. 
-Carbon sequestration: capturing CO2 from the atmosphere or capturing anthropogenic (human) CO2 from large-scale stationary sources like power plants before it is released into the atmosphere. Once captured, it is put into long term storage. 
-Terrestrial Sequestration: using plants to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and then storing it as carbon in the stems and roots and the soil. 
-Geological Sequestration: putting CO2 into long-term storage in geologic zones deep underground. This method is not as sustainable or practical. 
Above referenced from: http://www.undeerc.org/pcor/sequestration/whatissequestration.aspx
-Green roofs have the potential to be carbon sinks for the city. 
-Green roofs also help to reduce increased temperatures in urban environments that can potentially lead to smog formation. This is done through the natural process of evapotranspiration, (the movement of water through the plant from the roots to its release to the atmosphere from the leaves as water vapour), and the evaporation of water from the soil and vegetation surfaces. The energy is then retained within the water vapour and is prevented from being converted into heat at the surface directly improving climate quality. 
-Hard urban surfaces tend to reflect sound while green roofs can absorb sound and reduce noise pollution. 
-Green roofs provide cooling in the summer and insulation in the winter for a building, improving energy efficiency and reducing cost. 
-Research: Fairmount Hotel, Vancourver, Canada. Rooftop garden provides all the herbs for the hotel saving an estimated C$25,000  - $30,000. 
-Research: New York City's Earth Pledge. Horticulture challenges. 
-Herb species perform best in free-draining soils in sunny situations. Alpine strawberries will grow in shady /damper areas at the base of a sloping roof. 
-Rooftop crops will require 30-40cm of depth in soil and irrigation. As well, the weight bearing capacity of the roof will have to be considered. 
-Lightweight media, rooftop greenhouses and hydroponic techniques can widen the potential for rooftop 'farms'. 
-Constructing Green Roofs (page 91)
-The load-bearing capacity of each modified rooftop must be taken into consideration. The load of a green roof should be measured when they are most compact and moist as these saturated weights of the materials will indicate their maximum loading. 
-Testing, Germany: standard test is applied that involves moistening a sample of the material, compressing it into a mould, soaking for 24 hours, draining for 1 hour, and then weighing. This saturated moisture content is usually around twice as high as normal field capacity, giving a clear indication of the maximum weight of the material. 
-Additional columns, beams and braces can be placed in existing buildings to bear the weight of the green roof. On smaller structures, a framework can be constructed around the building the enables the green roof to sit clear of the existing roof. 
-Each country or region will have its own building standards, catered specifically towards their weather conditions, that determine the minimum load-bearing capacity of a rooftop. 
-Newly constructed buildings can factor in the weight of a green roof/urban farm into the design. 
-The maximum possible slope of a rooftop is controlled by the friction coefficient between the two most slippery materials in the green-roof profile. Most green roofs have membrane interface at root barriers or sheet drains at which the slippage will occur the most. With additional stabilization measures, (horizontal strapping, laths, battens, or grids), it is unwise to design on roofs steeper than 2:12 (9.5 degrees). 
-To combat wind, a strip of gravel, stones, or pavers around the edge of the roof can prevent such wind damage. These strips can also act as vegetation barriers, preventing damage by plants to the edges of roofs. 
-Irrigation methods:

  1. Drip and tube method pegged to the surface or buried in the substrate. Sub-irrigation systems direct the water only to plant roots, lose less water to evaporation and are not visible. Buried pipes are more efficient that surface pipes. If the substrate surface is kept dry, weed seeds are less likely to germinate.
  2. Capillary systems are porous mats that deliver water to the base of the substrate and are ideal for shallower systems (20cm or less in depth). Water introduced at just a few locations can be distributed evenly through the use of a capillary mat.
  3. Stranding-water systems maintain a layer of water at the base of the roof. These systems can be self-regulating, being filled by percolating rainfall. They can also be maintained by floating control devices.

-Green roofs reduce the risk of fire compared to a traditional biomass/bitumen roof, as tested in Germany. 
-Layers of a green roof: roof deck, thermal insulation, waterproof/root-proof membrane, drainage layer, filter mat, substrate/growing medium. 
-As with all construction, a life cycle cost analysis and environmental impact assessment will document and analyze the environmental impacts of the fabrication, transportation, installation, operation, maintenance and disposal of a green roof system. 
-Types of waterproof membranes:

  1. Single-ply membrane: rolled sheets of inorganic plastic or synthetic rubber material that are overlapped at the joints and sealed with heat. Seams and bonds between the sheets and tiles can form weak points that may be exploited by plant roots that may lead to leaks.
  2. Fluid-applied membrane: available in hot or cold liquid form that is sprayed or painted on to the surface of the roof and forms a complete seal when set, eliminating joint problems.

-Root protection barrier made of rolls of PVC that performs multiple functions, is long-lasting, easily recycled and eliminates the need for additional materials and costs. As well, the sheets are welded together leaving no gaps to be exploited by plant roots. 
-Drainage layer:

  1. Granular materials: gravel, stone chips, broken clay tiles, clinker, scoria (lava rock), pumice, expanded shale, or expanded clay granules contain large amounts of air or pore space between them when packed together in a layer or space allowing water to move into it from the vegetation and substrate layers above. Very low-tech but not always even in terms of drainage. Gives more room for plant roots to grow.
  2. Porous mats: sponge-like mats constructed from a range of materials (ex. Recycled materials like clothing and car seats) that absorb water. Can be too absorbent, sucking water from plants.
  3. Lightweight plastic or polystyrene: thinner than 2.5cm, differ greatly in design and appearance. They provide permanent free-flowing light weight drainage layer beneath the planting medium. Some are designed to store water.

-Filter mat: a semi-permeable polypropylene fabric laid loosely over the drainage layer to prevent fine materials from being washed into the drainage and blocking pore space. 

A Vision for a Self-Reliant New York
Michael Sorkin

The project is in fact a “thought-experiment” to design a version of New York that is completely self reliant, creating its own food, energy and everything else within its own borders.
The key idea behind the project is to create a sustainable society from the bottom up – rather than relying on government to impose one from the top down – by applying autarky, a political concept which describes a completely closed system. This system resonates well with many established notions of sustainability: ideas such as ‘cradle-to-cradle‘ or ‘net zero’ often demand closed loops or minimal outside influence.
Autarky: economic independence or self-sufficiency 

Using a variety of skyscraper farms, and reclaiming streets and under-utilized city blocks, Terreform has calculated that it would be technically possible to produce 2,500 calories per person, per day. Combining this with a sophisticated distribution network would give each resident access to enough food. A plan as dramatic as this obviously brings drawbacks: the first iteration of the design was calculated to require 25 nuclear power stations to generate the energy required to produce all this food, a result that was “somewhat at odds with our larger intentions.”
The truly desirable solution to environmental crisis and social inequality will lie somewhere between our current situation and the designs of Terreform. But without their investigation pushing the boundaries of what is feasibly possible – and showing us just how different our urban environment could be – then our quest for sustainability would be limited, and therefore incomplete.


Pasona Tokyo Headquarters, Tokyo. Kono Designs. 

-A 215,000 square foot corporate office building for a Japanese recruitment company.
-Double skinned green facade, offices, an auditorium, cafeterias, a rooftop garden and urban farming facilities integrated within the building.
-Includes 200 species of a mixture of fruit, vegetables and rice that is harvested, prepared and served at the cafeterias within the building. Perhaps it should be the responsibility of each building to provide enough food for all its inhabitants while still maintaining net-zero energy or as close to it as possible. 
-Uses both hydroponic and soil based farming. Certain indoor crops are equipped with HEFL, fluorescent and LED lamps and an automatic irrigation system. An intelligent climate control monitors humidity, temperature and breeze to balance human comfort and optimize crop group after work hours. 
-All crops are harvested by employees with the help of an agricultural specialist. 
-Crops and workers share a common space


Grow Dat Youth Farm. 
New Orleans, U.S.A.
SEEDocs: Mini-Documentaries on the Power of Public-Interest Design.
Design Corps and SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design).

-I found it interesting how this project focused on the problem of food leftover after the damage of Hurricane Katrina instead of looking towards the problem of food as a whole (as in for the entire population). This is a fresh perspective that I find really useful because it reminds me to take into consideration the local supermarkets, shops and restaurants in my site that could potentially benefit or lose their business from my design. 
-This reminds me to take into consideration the walking distance from supermarkets to homes and the walking distance from the potential farms to homes. The accessibility of this project is a big factor as I find that a lot of the urban farming projects in London are located in very obscure places creating, as mentioned in the article, a "hierarchy of health" in which only the wealthy can afford to eat healthy.
-It also reminded me that I must take into consideration the fact that I need to educate people to be farmers. This is something I must factor into my design. I also need to take a look at how many 'educational facilities' need to built to teach people how to farm. I think I can factor in the fact that the existing city farms do focus on education so in that respect, our designs can function together. Once people have a larger need for the education (which I hope would come from access to their own farm), I believe their educational facilities will become more popular. 
-In their situation in New Orleans, a campus was designed by architecture students at Tulane University so that students and community members could work together. It includes an outdoor classroom, a teaching kitchen, locker rooms, administrative offices and a large post-harvest area. 


SEEDocs: Grow Dat Youth Farm.

-The organization Grow Dat hires teenagers, mainly in high school, to work on the farm. This is because they found that a lot of high school students work their first jobs at fast food restaurants which they saw as a waste of a first time work experience. So instead, they offered them the opportunity to work for them and to grow food. This organization works with the architects to make the program of the farming infrastructure they're creating.
-So my question becomes, do I need an organization to facilitate the employment of people on the urban farms I am designing or would the families of the residences want/be willing to do the work themselves? What do I intend for this design?
-Their method of employment can also be applied to this area in Hackney as there are at least two university students residences (Will Wyatt and University of Westminster's residence), three after the Scape residence is built. As well, there are a lot of high school students in the area that I see hanging out at the fried chicken joint on Pitfield Street. 

How would I go about finding out whether it is more successful for the families to work or for the students (youth) to work? Maybe the two are integrated in the sense that if you send one person from your family to farm, then you get ___ amount of the food produced for your household. 

-In their program, 50% of the work of the employed students is physical labor while the other 50% is in lessons and discussions on growing, their personal lives, etc. The latter half is in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster and the high level of crime in the area. The organization Grow Dat focuses a lot on creating a safe space for youth. 

Environmental Tectonics: Forming Climatic Change. Edited by Steve Hardy.
Architectural Association and the Authors, 2008.

-Orchid Water Garden. Vincent Young. Site: Hong Kong.
-A series of floating orchid greenhouses where the public can come to relax and enjoy a flower market.
-Water underneath the floating greenhouses regulates their internal temperature. In summer, the water cools the interior while in winter, the water's high thermal mass keeps helps to keep the interior temperature stable. Energy requirements for climate control are reduced by 40%.
-Uses intelligent pneumatic solar control system, a device that works like the aperture of a camera lens, controlling the amount of sunlight passing through into the structure.

-Fogharvester. Toby Burgess. Site: Walvis Bay, Namibia.
-Lightweight, nomadic structure built using simple construction techniques and local materials.
-A hydrophilic surface of Raschel mesh enables fog particles to coalesce and fall to the ground below.
-Structure is inspired by the native onymacris unguicularis beetle, which collects water from fog on its shell.
-Low tech and very cheap to construct.
-Also helps to modulate light underneath the canopy.
-Allows for crops to grow beneath, even in the desert conditions (128 foggy days a year in their region, often affected by flooding).
-Through contraction of hundreds of moisture-activated, hydroscopic, low-tech muscles, composed of super absorbent polymer, the project is able to constantly realign itself, adjusting its curvature to maximise the amount of water it collects.
-I am very interested in this structure and technology because the weather patterns, (the excessive fog), is quite similar to London's late fall to early spring meaning this design could be incorporated into an urban farm.

-Vertical Farm. Chung Yin Ho. Site: London, England.
-Over 80% of arable land around the world is already in use.
-About 15% of this land has been laid to waste by poor management practises in farming.
-His design has the potential to produce yields 30-50 times greater than those of a traditional farm on the same footprint.
-A super-reflective sunpipe façade system bounces light across the inner core of the tower into the depths of the building.
-Spiral form of the building allows a continuous pathway for machines to travel vertically through the farm.
-Mix of farm and office space.
-I find the form of this structure to be particularly attractive in comparison to the other types of urban vertical farms I've come across in my research.

-Re-sustenance. Richard Saunders, Akram Fahmi. Site: Desert Wasteland.
-A machine that is at one with nature.
-Mobile farming platform that uses an oil based, inflammable solution, pumped through rubber 'hairs', to increase pressure and create a thermal mass.

-CPULS4TG2016. Katrin Bohn, Andreas Viljoen, Jorge Peña Díaz. Site: London, UK.
-This project leans more towards urban planning and a study of infrastructure.
-It aims to provide a wide range of social, environmental and health benefits through creating new pedestrian and cycle routes and outdoor areas for leisure activities and urban agriculture in the Thames Gateway area.
-Introduces commercially viable market gardens alongside existing allotments to reduce negative effects of food transportation.

Orchid Water Garden.


Vertical Farm.



Nature City. 
Keizer Station, Oregon. 2012.
Work AC.

Housing Typologies
-Reinventing the American dream.
-Providing different types of suburban housing; rethinking the single family home. 
-Revealing the devastating effects of suburban sprawl on the environment and on the affordability of homes.
-What if we could live sustainably and close to nature? 


Philadelphia, PA.
Front Studio Architects.

-Proposes to transform the urban environment by introducing bucolic farmlands into the city’s urban fabric.
-Transforming abandoned parcels of land and decrepit buildings into farm structures.
-Creates an organic transformation of history that contributes to the present day fabric.
-The irony of the farm and the city ceases to be a paradox as both function as one integral machine, combining the pleasure of open sky and land with the richness of city living.


URBANANA. Prospective research studies on urban farming.
Paris, France. 2006-2012. 
SOA Architects. 

-Urban farm producing a wide variety of bananas currently unavailable on the European market due to ripening and transport constraints. 
-Primarily a façade project. 
-The farm uses aerial gangways allowing it to be unconstrained by floors. This means it can use natural or artificial light. There is an exhibition space and an area for harvesting and waste management on the ground floor which is open to the public. 
-The transparency and absence of floors adds a sensation of space and depth to the dense and restricted space of the typical Parisian street; a vertical park. 
-This project considers the social, economical and historical impact of making foreign foods a regular part of our diet. 


Fifth street farm green roof. 
New York, NY. 
Handel Architects. 

-Developed a design that perches a green deck directly onto the columns below the roof to account for the weight of the soil. 
-Required them to 'stub up' selected columns from below.
-Designed a pitch pocket waterproofing detail to wrap the base of these short columns.
-Built a steal framed deck to rest on the columns. 
-Standard deck that rests on columns serve as the foundation for anything from planters to a greenhouse. 
-Can be easily replicated on other buildings where rooftops cannot carry the weight of a farmable green roof. 


Bright dawn farm. Open House. 
Levittown, NY. 
Freecell Architecture. 

-Reconsidering the primacy of the lawn and replacing grass with agriculture that can be eaten and/or sold back to the community. 
-Creating a suburban farm. 
-Suburban homeowners supplement their income and develop a new vocation by offering homemade services and facilities to the public. 
-Creating a residential marketplace in a neighbourhood to increase capital, density, and social cohesion through service exchange. 


Stand-alone greenhouse. Plantagon.

-Building dedicated to industrial production of food.
-Structure: outer glazed shell acts as envelop to wrap around a truncated cone helix extending it to the ground and completing it with the functional tower avoiding double curved surfaces (service tower).
-Service tower is physically connected to the helix on all levels for the inspection of the crops and service access. 
-A greenhouse skyscaper. 


Multi-functional greenhouse. Plantagon. 

-A building hosting an integration of the industrial process together with out functions.
-The transparent part of the greenhouse (where the growing occurs) is no longer the biggest volume of the building. Instead it is compressed (to optimize volume), to a façade system. 
-This façade can have a depth of 3-6 metres. 
-Uses parallel conveyors to carry vegetable plots.
-Integrate water and energy systems. 
-Lead CO2 to the plants from the part of the building occupied by people and lead O2 released from the plants to the people. 
-Can be adapted to every type of real estate development project including a high rise. 


Plantawall façade system. Plantagon. 

-A parasitic structure used for retrofitting existing buildings with an integrated industrial cultivation process.
-Modular system that can be attached to the whole building or parts of it. 
-PlantWall façade provides soundproofing, healthier work environment and heating insulation. 


Windowfarmers R&D-I-Y: An Open Source Community Developing Hydroponic Edible Gardens For Urban Windows.
On how to build a mini windowfarm hydroponic grower.

Windowfarms let you grow food year-round inside while maximizing space. They are vertical food-growing gardens that use a dirt-free technique called hydroponics. You can buy a kit or build your own using low-impact or recycled local materials. Having a windowfarm is more about the activity and experience of windowfarming, these are living systems, not just a pretty thing to look at.

This site is the online community of windowfarmers around the world. Together, we are continually getting better at growing food in the local conditions of our own homes. We are contributing to the “green revolution” as non-experts. We call it R&D-I-Y, or Research Develop IYourself. We use this site to collaborate on evolving designs for these vertical hydroponic systems– proposing experiments, testing techniques, and developing a shared knowledge base around the many variables involved in building and maintaining a farm inside a city apartment. 


1. The cords for you pump, all lights, and any other electrical equipment near your windowfarm should make a “U-shape” dip before before coming back up to the outlet to ensure that water will never reach the wall plug under any circumstances. In this configuration, if a water droplet lands on the cord, gravity will drag it down the bottom of the dip and it will go to the floor instead of going into the electrical socket . This is called a drip-loop (Click the link for more information).
2. Water containers should never be located directly above a wall plug.


Brooklyn Grange Farm.

-Includes two rooftop vegetable farms, totaling 2.5 acres and producing over 50,000 lbs of organically-grown vegetables each year.
-Also operates an apiary, with over 30 naturally-managed honey bee hives, located on roofs throughout NYC.
-Composting is an important component of our farms, and as we expand our footprint in NYC we’re also expanding the scope and locations of our composting. We collect food waste from individuals and restaurants, as well as wood chips from local tree services, and wood shavings from furniture and carpentry shops. Since we opened in 2010, we’ve diverted and recycled hundreds of tons of waste, putting it to use as nutrient-rich fertilizer for our farm.
-Brooklyn Grange is New York’s leading urban farm education centre, and has trained hundreds of young farmers since we opened in 2010. We are committed to sharing our knowledge with others, and to preparing the next generation of urban farmers for success by teaching important skills through a hands-on education program.
-Certain courses are student specific, targeting youth, immigrants and refugees. 


ELIOOO. Grow your food. Or how to go to Ikea and build a device to grow salad in your apartment. 

By following the instructions in this book, you will become the manufacturer of an idea.
This book is an instruction manual for a product that only exists if you build it. Here are the instructions. I have designed this device so that you can produce your own food, using some inexpensive ikea boxes and the directions in this book.
This system uses hydroponics, a farming technique that can be used to grow plants in water instead of soil. 
The system I have designed combines different hydroponics techniques. These are adapted to make them easy to use at home. 
I believe that the ultimate object of design is knowledge. As a designer, I visualize quantities and dimensions, I organize briefs, I explain procedures. Sometimes this has more to do with storytelling than with technical drawings. These stories and their illustrations are traditionally given to artisans who turn them into concrete things. But as a designer, I like to design things that anyone can make. Today design can turn the world’s population into the biggest creative industry ever known: a crowd factory. Rather than mindlessly producing new stuff, distributing it, and reinventing new production and distribution chains, I think we should find new ways of assembling what we already have. For this reason, I decided to design eliooo using items from ikea. 
Eliooo is designed so that you can play around with the different setups I suggest in the book, with or without the use of ikea components.

ABOUT THE BOOK: The book will contain hand drawn illustrations, showing you how to build and run ELIOOO step by step. It contain instructions for about how to build and run six different types and sizes of hydroponic devices.

WHY HYDROPONICS: Hydroponics is a clean, sustainable, and efficient way to grow vegetables using water instead of soil. Hydroponics has enormous advantages compared to traditional agricultural methods. It uses only 10% of the water needed with traditional agriculture, allowing for higher production in smaller spaces. Plants get nourishment directly from a nutrient solution mixed into the water. Consequently, the risk of pests present in the soil is avoided and plants receive the exact nourishment needed for  optimal growth. With hydroponics you do not have to water your plants; you can maintain ideal conditions for growth, without worrying about watering and getting dirty.

WHY IKEA: I think we need to find new ways to assemble what we already have, rather than to produce new stuff. This is the reason why I have decided to design ELIOO using IKEA components. IKEA is a quality supplier available almost everywhere in the world. Everybody knows where to find an IKEA store and how much the components will cost.

WHY YOU: With ELIOOO you will be able to have quick access to indoor hydroponics and start growing your own food right away. You will receive a full spectrum of options according to your needs and possibilities. You can build one hydroponic device at a price far more convenient and affordable than any other hydroponic system available in the market. 


Orto Perpetuo. A year-round edible garden module in your apartment. 
Urban agriculture survival kit. Milano, 2014.

-A year-round indoor edible garden that grows fruit and leaf vegetables. 
Combines ELIOOO (an hydroponic system made out of IKEA boxes designed by Antonio Scarponi) and the LED lamp Quadra(14W) produced by BULBO.
-Its modular characteristic allows to scale the size of the growing area. A module (65×95 cm) can grow up to 24 plants at once consuming less than 50 watt.


Hive-Inn™ City Farm. OVA Studio.

-A modular farming structure that aims to bring fresh and locally grown greens to urban centres.
-Constructed out of shipping containers stacked together like a colorful tower of Jenga blocks, the vertical farm acts as an ecosystem, in which each shipping container is designed for a specific function, from food and energy production to water and waste recycling.
-Each unit can be owned or rented by local restaurants, private kitchens, or major organic brands.


Text box

Fish from the sky with vegetables. 
Globe/Hedron a rooftop farm. 

-A bamboo greenhouse designed to organically grow fish and vegetables on top of generic flat roofs. The design is optimized for aquaponic farming techniques: the fish’s water nourishes the plants and plants clean the water for the fish.
-Is optimized to feed four families of four all year round.
-Designed to be manufactured and retailed at a low cost. Easy-to-set-up units can be combined to scale up food production capacity.
-Using a geodesic dome, the load of the fish tank rests on the frame of the greenhouse and is redistributed to a larger surface. Because of this design, the aquaponic farm can be housed on more roofs without any structural building adaptation. 
-The dome structure is designed to be built with bamboo, so that it is biodegradable and organically farmed.


LUFA Farms.

-No new land is used; capturing rainwater; recirculating 100% of irrigation water and nutrients; reducing energy use; composting green waste; using biological controls instead of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides; and delivering produce to customers on the same day it’s harvested.
-Developing the expertise and technology to make this type of agriculture efficient, data-driven, and scalable. In doing so, we’re demonstrating that large urban and peri-urban rooftop farms are a commercially viable way to feed cities.
-Their vision is also to support and promote local food systems. This means we source from partner farms and food makers who share our values of providing fresh, local, responsible, and artisanal products to urban populations.
-Urban greenhouses, local partnerships, ecommerce platform, and fulfillment methodology together constitute an integrative solution for sustainably feeding cities worldwide.


How rooftop farming will change how we eat. 
Mohammed Hage. Tedx UdeM.

-Commercial rooftop greenhouse in Montreal. 
-Nothing about urban agriculture is revolutionary. It's just something that has been doing for ages. 
-The fresh food we find in the agriculture is only the foods that are tough and strong enough to transport well. They aren't chosen based on taste or nutrition. 
-The use of rooftops guarantees that no new land is occupied. 
-Half of the heating energy for the greenhouse on the rooftops from the building below.
-Closed loop system.
-Responsible agriculture: use good insects (ladybugs) to attack bad insects. 
-Entire greenhouse microclimate is managed by software.
-Take existing roof and keep the membrane.
-Put up structures using galvanized steel and glass. 
-Put up an energy curtain that is used at night time, enveloping the plants. 
-Able to feed 2000 people harvested in the same day. Never refrigerated. 
-Use half the energy, water, and nutrients. 
-Distribute to drop points including universities, cafes, etc.  
-Distributing directly to consumers at drops points with only $15 of fuel per day. 
-Connected the community; over 10000 visitors to the farm.
-People also connecting at drop points. 
-Provides good jobs for a large number of people.
-Imagine knowing your farmer and knowing your food. 

PF 1. 
Work AC. 2008.

Since 1999, New York’s Museum of Modern Art and its sister institution, the PS1 Contemporary Art Center has hosted the Young Architects Program (YAP) to design a temporary installation in the courtyards of PS1 in Queens, NY for their summer “Warm Up” parties. 

In 2008, 40 years after the Summer of ’68, the Urban Beach theme was left behind and the project became the Urban Farm — as a symbol of our generations’ preoccupations and hopes for a better and different future. 

Public Farm 1 (P.F.1) is an architectural and urban manifesto to engage play and reinvent our cities, and our world, once again.

1. Structure
Stemming from the desire to both embrace the grid as organizing pattern for the urban farm and working with a structural material that would be recyclable and biodegradable, cardboard tubes were chosen as the primary building material. The tubes serve as planters, preassembled in a “daisy” pattern of six tubes arranged in a hexagon around a seventh central tube. The central tube alternates either as a “picking hole” to access the crops or a structural column, extending to the ground.

2. Planting
51 varieties of herbs, fruit and vegetables were selected to thrive in the urban environment and planted to bloom in succession throughout the summer. The plants are also organized by the “daisy pattern,” each daisy planted with a single species.

3. Program
Each column is programmed to create a variety of experiences and interactions beneath the farm. These include a solar-powered juicer for fresh veggie cocktails, a periscope to provide close-up views of the fields, a towel column and a water-spouting column next to the pool, two columns joined together with a bench and enclosed by a curtain to provide privacy, a nighttime column of twinkling stars and cricket sounds and a solar-powered phone-charging column. In the smaller courtyard a series of experiential columns use video and sound to bring animal life to P.F.1

4. Power
P.F.1 is completely off-grid. The solar power system consists of an array of eighteen photovoltaic modules to power all of P.F.1’s power loads — videos screens, speakers, lights, cell phone chargers and all of the irrigation pumps.

5. Irrigation
A drip irrigation system was designed to deliver a controlled amount of water to each planter-tube, fed by a cistern which collected more than 6,000 gallons of rainwater over the course of the summer.

6. Chickens
Unbeknownst to MoMA, the “tool shed” we were building was actually a chicken coop! On the day of the opening we brought 6 mature chickens and a dozen peeping chicks. The chickens had the run of the grounds during the week and produced eggs all summer long.


Generic architecture as strategic design for rooftop urban agriculture: aquaponic farm in Basel for urban farmers. 
Antonio Scarponi, Architect and principal of Conceptual Devices. Stefano Massa, Senior Architect at Conceptual Devices.

Large, flat, homogeneous and unused industrial rooftops offer great possibilities to install urban farms and provide food within the city. Industrial areas building codes normally do not constrain heights, so farming activities are a concrete opportunity to capitalize the unused industrial rooftop spaces. Urban farming has a lot to do with the use of unexpressed potential of the city space. It is a tool to turn them productive. It is a tool – I say – to grow the city. To cultivate it from all the possible aspects as a living environment.

The aquaponic rooftop farm designed for Urban Farmers in Basel consists of a strategic design to make that happen. The farm is precisely conceived as an urban device to grow the city. It is a generic architecture that consist of two pre-fab modules that correspond to the two main feature of the farming program: the greenhouse for the production of fish and vegetables, and the containers for all the other activities, administration, storage, dressing rooms, etc. Both modules can be “dropped” on the rooftop and be organized in different layouts according to the needs, size and other specificity of the site. In other words it is a generic building for a specific need: to engage the possibility to grow food on top of any flat industrial building.

The architecture consists in the organization of the program into the modular layout that these two simple elements can offer. A third element, namely a the fire security staircase, is needed to be attached to the existing building for direct rooftop security evacuation. The Urban Farmers rooftop farm consists of a 400 square meters industrial installation able to grow fish and vegetables thanks to the so called aquaponic technique. A system in which fish nourish the vegetables and the vegetables clean the water for the fish. Fish and vegetables lives in a balanced environment. This project investigate the possibility to stretch this analogy between the farm and the city itself and overcome the historical dichotomy between city and country side.


Vertical farm.
Prague, Czech Republic.
Michaela Dejdarova and Michal Votruba. 

Vertical farms seem to be one of the best solutions for encouraging agriculture in the cities. They are a smart solution where transportation costs and pollutants are reduced. This proposal is intended to be a communal farm for the city.
-The structure consists of clusters of tetrahedrons grouped to create an exoskeleton that peels from the ground and supports hundreds of green terraces for agriculture.
-It could be developed in stages because of the modularity of all the components. It could grow and spread according to demands and could also be easily dismantled and transported to other locations.
-This project uses rainwater collection systems and solar panels as its main source of water and energy.


Renovation of a housing block.
Tour Bois-le-Pretre. 2005. 

Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton, and Jean Philippe Vassal.

-Alternative to demolition: one that would give each apartment more natural light, more space and cut energy costs. 
-Tour Bois-le-Pretre was designed by the French architect Raymond Lopez and completed in the early 1960s. It is 50 metres high and has 16 storeys. The tower originally had 96 apartments but the recent renovation has added another four units.
-In 1990 the original facade was unsympathetically renovated to improve insulation. Not only did this the give the building an unattractive appearance, more severely it reduced the amount of natural light entering each apartment. (To minimise heat loss, apartments were fitted with smaller windows.)
-Then in 2005, Paris Habitat, the Paris Office for Public Housing, ran a competition to renovate the building. One of the competition constraints was that the building could not be expanded to take up more land: any renovation would need to keep to the building’s existing footprint.
-Proposal, (winner of a competition), to remove the facade of each apartment and bolting on glass balconies or “winter gardens” (similar to a conservatory). The winter gardens measure 7.5 by 3 metres and have been attached to the outside of the tower block without altering the original structure.
-In each apartment the living room has been fitted with floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors. These doors lead into the winter garden. The result is an increase in the amount of natural light and the amount of usable space. 
-Remarkably, all this cost less than demolishing the tower and building again from scratch. The final cost of the renovation was €11.2 million. It was estimated that demolition and building a new structure would have cost at least €20 million.
-The architects involved the residents closely with the new design and uniquely the residents remained in the tower block during renovation instead of being re-housed elsewhere.
-Here in Britain, the parallels are obvious. We have many unloved 1960s and 70s housing estates that prompt the same question: can renovation rehabilitate these estates, or do we demolish them?


Images below from:  
Small scale big change; new architecture of social engagement. 
Andres Lepik, Birkhäuser Basel. 
The Museum of Modern Art New York, 2010.

Sustaining tower blocks. 
Price & Myers Sustainability. 

-Create space for a garden.
-Create space for a balcony. 
-Create live-work units.
-Change layout to ensure that all flats receive solar gains.


Food maps and other things.
Growing People. 

An analysis of food in relation to London.


HK Farm Local.
Industrial building. Ngau Tau Kok. 

-Growing local organic food on Hong Kong's rooftops. 
-An ideal city for all year round rooftop farming. 
-Crops include vegetables, fruits, herbs, honey. 
-Composting methods used. 


Value Farm. 
Shenzhen, China. 5 March 2014. 

Tris Kee, project curator. 

-The remains of the interior of a huge defunct glass factory in a port in Shenzhen, China is transformed into an urban farm.
-Over 20,000 square feet.
-Uses existing brick walls to separate plots of vegetables including kale and bok choy. The bases of old stairs have been turned into platforms and pavilions for events. A newly built pond taps into a natural underground water source to irrigate the plants.
-Other parts of the abandoned glass manufacturing site, still intact as buildings, have been transformed into a place to produce culture instead of products. "To complement that idea, we reworked a piece of open ground within the factory premises to produce ‘nature,’" says Tris Kee, one of the project’s curators.
-Shenzhen residents were invited to help plant the space, and then come back to harvest and taste the food
-Though the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Biennale that this farm was designed for has just closed, and plants have been harvested, the space will likely stay a garden. Kee says the chief curator wants to turn it into a public park.


Adelaide Wharf. 
London, UK. 2007. 
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

-Interesting balcony design; specifically the way the supporting poles extend from the top of the building to the bottom.


Transforming Milwaukee's vacant lots into a new agricultural economy. 
18 Oct 2013.

When the foreclosure crisis hit Milwaukee, the city was already reeling from the loss of 70,000 manufacturing jobs and a poverty rate that pushed 30 percent. Yet an opportunity emerged when the financial crisis met the local food movement.

As head of the Home Gr/own initiativeTim McCollow, a city government program manager, is turning Milwaukee's thousands of vacant lots and idled citizens into a source of food and jobs.

"We're trying to do a paradigm shift with how cities deal with their real estate," says McCollow. Through the program, some of Milwaukee's 2,700 vacant lots and 1,300 foreclosed homes are now being repurposed for local food production, processing, and distribution, rather than mothballed and sold during the next boom. "We want to put local food economy on steroids and connect all the dots," he says.

Home Gr/own is pulling together 10 to 20 disparate food and farming related programs in the city such as Growing PowerWalnut Way, and Central Greens. The city-led effort is aimed at transforming multiple problems—unemployment, foreclosures, urban decay—into fertile ground for a new food economy. The city will supply new grower training, small stipends, business development assistance, tools, and water access, and encourage local food producers to sell their harvest directly through farm stands, restaurants, and stores. Foreclosed properties will serve as the new home for some of these endeavors. "We want to give the land back to the people and stimulate a local food economy," says McCollow.

Although many cities are now retooling for urban agriculture, making room for rooftop farming, multi-story farms, and indoor aquaponics is not easy. For example, Detroit, once a promising upstart, has fallen behind its goals amid land right battles, organizational quarrels, and bureaucratic delays, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Milwaukee plans to build out its urban agricultural economy in some of its poorest areas as part of its 10-year urban sustainability plan. It has early proof that it can raise property values and start solving its financial and health challenges by getting foreclosed homes off the city's books and turning them into food growing and distribution centres.

"We're finding, even in the toughest neighborhoods, people really care about their block and their neighborhoods," says McCollow. So far, this year, the city has helped incubate five projects, and more are planned for 2014.

"It's alive and real," he says. "It's people getting dirty."

-The fact that they are targeting the poorest areas is what inspired to me to focus on social housing as a parameter for my project, instead of trying to tackle the entire city. Perhaps I can change the paradigm of social housing to include urban farming which would provide health benefits as well as reducing the amount residences spend on food. 


Whole Foods set to build first commercial-sale greenhouse on Brooklyn rooftop. 

Whole Foods has teamed up with New York’s local organic grower, Gotham Greens, to build the first commercial-scale greenhouse attached to a supermarket. The 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, expected to open in Brooklyn this Fall, will provide locally grown produce year-round to nine Whole Foods stores in New York City area. 

-The idea that local farms and greenhouses can team up with local supermarkets that are already plugged into the community and provide fresh food to them which in turn gets to local residences. 


Modular urban farm lets anyone raise their own food.
Studio Segers.

-Provides space to grow vegetables, raise chickens, make compost and store tools.
-Modules allow you to pick and choose from the provided usages.
-Flexible configuration and placement. 
-When put together forms a compact, mini, efficient farm. 
-Project can encourage residents of an apartment building or a general community to purchase and use together to supplement their nutritional needs.
-Units can be flat packed to ship at low cost. 



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