Vertical farm building in China feeds 40,000 people
Carlo Ratti Associati published the design for an office tower in Shenzhen, China, the entire facade of which will be a vertical hydroponic urban farm. The Jian Mu Tower was designed to fill the latest building stock opened in the central business district of Shenzhen. It was also entered in the building design competition of the Chinese supermarket chain Wumart.
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“Small-scale urban agriculture is taking place in cities around the world – from Paris to New York to Singapore,” said Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “However, Jian Mu Tower takes it to the next level. Such an approach has the potential to play a major role in the design of future cities as it engages one of the most pressing architectural challenges of today: how to integrate the natural world into the design of buildings. In addition to producing food, the Jian Mu Tower farm contributes to sun protection, a key issue in high-rise buildings.
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The tower is 218 meters high and devotes 10,000 square meters of its surface to cultivation space. A vertical farm in such a space could produce around 270,000 kilograms of food per year, which would feed 40,000 people. Growing, harvesting, selling and consuming of food must take place in the same building to reduce waste and pollution of the supply chain. The tower will also house offices, a food court and a supermarket.
“Jian Mu” is a mythical Chinese tree that reaches the sky. To reflect the traditional Chinese belief that the sky is round while the earth is square, the Jian Mu Tower is designed to slowly grow from a rectangular base to a rounded tubular top.
It is full of green spaces that also want to be beautiful. Outdoor landscaped terraces fed by sustainable irrigation at different levels will host lychees, water lilies and ferns. Interior gardens will be open to office spaces inside the building. Workers will be able to use a phone app to adjust microclimates in their offices, which will lead to two-story green spaces created to minimize the need for air conditioning.
Images via Carlo Ratti Associati