Although vertical agricultural farms, which were developed to meet the increasing food demand with population growth, are still a new technology, it is now possible to come across new examples in many countries. In this situation, the necessity soilless agriculture aka aka of hydroponic agriculture means that it is now beginning to replace traditional agriculture.
Hydroponic vertical farms are being trialled with different designs and in different environments, and their results are shaping our future.
Another example of hydroponic vertical farms comes from China.
International design and innovation office CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati has published the design of an office tower in Shenzhen, China, which will be an entire facade vertical hydroponic urban farm. Located in Shenzhen, southern China, the Jian Mu Tower was designed for an international competition hosted by leading Chinese supermarket chain Wumart.
The design introduces a new type of skyscraper where the natural and the artificial closely overlap. The design of the building makes it possible for building tenants to grow, buy and consume fresh vegetables and fruits directly inside the tower.
Carlo Ratti, co-founder of the CRA and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: “Small-scale urban agriculture is happening in cities all over the world, from Paris to New York to Singapore. But Jian Mu Tower takes this design idea to the next level. Because this type of approach addresses one of today's most pressing architectural challenges. has the potential to play an important role in the design of the cities of the future. Besides producing food, Jian Mu Tower's farm also helps with sunshades, which is an important issue in high-rise buildings.” said.
The name of the tower is derived from the mythical symbol of the "jian mu tree" connecting heaven and earth in ancient Chinese folklore. According to traditional belief, heaven is round while the earth is square. The skyscraper reflects this principle with its rectangular base that gradually turns into a tubular shape as it rises. The tower offers 51 square feet of space with 90.000 floors.
Food needs of 40.000 people will be met
Vertical hydroponic farm, will produce about 270.000 kilograms of food per year, enough to meet the needs of around 40.000 people. Jian Mu Tower is a self-sustaining food supply chain that includes growing, harvesting, selling and consuming crops within the same building. The tower will also contain offices, a supermarket and a food court.
Working with ZERO, an Italian-based company specializing in innovative approaches to agriculture, tower's farm is optimized to produce everything from salad greens to fruit and aromatic herbs while remaining productive and sustainable. An AI-powered “virtual agronomist” takes care of the daily operations of the farm, irrigation, feeding conditions and more.
Besides the vertical farm, the natural and artificial elements of the building work side by side in many different ways. Outside the tower, a series of landscape terraces are home to a wide variety of vegetation such as water lilies, ferns and lychees. These terraces benefit from Shenzhen's abundant rainfall in sustainable irrigation systems while promoting biodiversity.
Also, office workers inside Jian Mu Tower can use the inner gardens for relaxation and social interaction. The gardens are designed to integrate seamlessly into the interior spaces, allowing the tenants to feel in a natural setting. The prominence of greenery on the surface of the building effectively reduces indoor solar radiation and the need for air conditioning. In addition, employees can use a mobile application to customize the microclimate conditions of their offices.
Jian Mu Tower stands out as the latest example of MKK's efforts to incorporate natural and agricultural systems into urban structures. Projects that share a similar sensibility include VITAE, a building complex currently under construction for Covivio in Milan, anchored by a 200-metre-long vineyard open to the public. In Singapore, the studio is collaborating with BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group to build the CapitaSpring Tower for CapitaLand. The 2021-meter-high building, scheduled to open in late 280, features a covered forest spanning several floors.
Finally, before the smart supermarket proposal of the Shenzhen skyscraper, the Future Food District at the 2015 Milan World Fair was opened, designed by the CRA for Italy's leading supermarket chain Coop Italia.