Vertical Farm

Globalization or loss of identity? New York / United States / 2015

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The Vertical Farms are born in the XXI century to make up for the increase in population and the urbanization of the areas devoted to agriculture. The creator of this concept of building is Dickson Despommier, professor at Columbia University, who states, through the observation of actual agricultural resources and data estimated by the UN about the future growth of the world population (expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050), that we will not be able to guarantee the availability of food to such a large number of people, since about 80% of the areas available for agriculture have already been used, and the remaining 20% is not enough. Is born therefore the idea of including within cities that production part that once was part of the city itself and which has suffered a process of progressive exile. The Vertical Farms, however, are totally unrelated to the reality of the context in which they are located. They are conceived more as a mere technological object rather than an architecture work, which should be able to communicate with the surroundings and bring back to a specific territorial identity; a Vertical Farm should therefore be designed not as a new type of building, but as an evolution and an hybridization between agricultural one and urban one, with their morphological, typological and formal features, resulting from centuries of refinement.


The project intends to be an hybrid between a typical New York building and an American barn with the characteristics of both ones: the base as a simple extrusion of the plot and the terraced vertical development for the first one; the red wooden facade, the sloping roof and the wind turbine for the second one. Inside the base on the ground floor there will be a market and it will sell the products grown within the tower, while on the first underground floor there will be the research laboratories about the agricultural products and on the first floor the breeding farm. The part devoted to the farm will be surrounded along the entire perimeter by a tank of rainwater harvesting, will be developed for the entire height of 50 meters and will be divided into 12 levels that will host fields and residences. The spaces used for agriculture are placed along the South-West facade in order to take advantage of the sunlight that comes from outside, which together with the LED lamps allow plant growth. The energy needed to supply the artificial lighting system will be obtained through the use of the systems for the conversion of vegetable scraps obtained during the harvest, or through renewable energy systems with zero environmental impact, such as photovoltaic panels placed on the string courses or as wind turbines placed on the coverage. Within each floor of the Vertical Farm there will hydroponic crops, which allow the use of wastewater to feed the plants, using in this way so much less water for the ‘irrigation compared to a traditional crop (about 90% less). The method of hydroponic cultivation is also a natural system of water purification, since toxic substances and pollutants present in the fluid are absorbed by plants for their vital processes. The plants in this way will purify the water and will produce drinking water which will then be made available as a water resource within the various housing present in the complex.


The project stems from a combination of passive systems, related to Bioclimatic for energy savings and comfort of those living structure, from the farmer to the hen. We started with an analysis of the climate, extrapolating a psychrometric chart by it, to evaluate and expand the range of human comfort thanks to passive systems design as: Irradiance passive, Shading, passive ventilation, Rainfall and Evaporation. While the active systems such as wind turbine, solar and photovoltaic panels were implanted to have a higher yield on the structure according to an optimal orientation and an analysis of the prevailing winds. Annual of the area, with respective humidity and heavy with rain.

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    The Vertical Farms are born in the XXI century to make up for the increase in population and the urbanization of the areas devoted to agriculture. The creator of this concept of building is Dickson Despommier, professor at Columbia University, who states, through the observation of actual agricultural resources and data estimated by the UN about the future growth of the world population (expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050), that we will not be able to guarantee the availability of food...

    Project details
    • Year 2015
    • Status Competition works
    • Type Factories / Markets / Warehouses
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