La Tour Vivante
The French architecture firm Atelier SOA has proposed a thirty-floor mixed-use vertical farm—Tour Vivante (Living Tower)—that houses farming, residences, office spaces, restaurants, and retail. The concept evokes the sense of a self-contained vertical neighborhood that enjoys autonomy and reduces travel needs between the rural and the urban by bringing together the activities of production and consumption into one space . People who live and work in the tower can enjoy proximity to fresh, ripe, and preservative-free produce, and the tower’s tenants provide a constant income that supports the farms. It is also possible that residents of the tower could be employed in the building to reduce travel times between home and work. Additionally, combining farming, housing, and office spaces brings together the traditionally distant rural farming experience close to residents, reconnecting them with nature. The tower’s architects explain that “the separation between city and countryside, urban planning and natural areas, places of living, consumption, and production is increasingly problematic for sustainable land management. ... The concept of Tour Vivante aims to combine agricultural production, housing and activities in a single system” .
The interweaving of these functions and activities aims to provide a symbiotic relationship between the inhabitants and the farming environment. For example, food waste from restaurants and residents will be collected and processed to be used as a liquid fertilizer to fruits and vegetables. Similarly, the oxygen produced by plants will be channeled to tenants, whereas the CO, produced by the tenants will be transferred to plants. Rainwater from the roof and the facades will be collected, filtered, and used in the farm, and the waste generated by the farm and other functions (housing, offices) will be collected and used to generate power for the tower .
Blackwater produced by the tower will be recycled and purified to feed and fertilize the plants. The Tour Vivante also embraces renewable energy by employing two large wind turbines, as well as photovoltaic panels, placed on the southern facade of the building and its roof. The tower will also be constructed from recycled and recyclable materials. A thermal concrete shaft at the core of the building will help to control solar gain and humidity in the building while facilitating natural ventilation through the “chimney effect” and the application of a double skin facade. Overall, the tower explores possibilities of blending architecture with agriculture, merging food production and consumption into one place .
Harvest Green Tower
The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, expects to face rapid urban growth in the coming decades that would result in substantial demands on food. Romses Architects has recently proposed a multifunctional vertical farm in Vancouver in support of the city’s 2030 challenge of reducing carbon emissions. The project, named “Harvest Green Tower,” provides space for a mix of uses including residences, offices, entertainment, retail, restaurants, and vertical farming that will produce vegetables, herbs, fruits, fish, egg-laying chickens, goat cheese, and sheep dairy. The project also connects well with the city’s public mass-transit system. The main sections of the tower are described as follows .
- • Underground. A parking lot and shared car co-op.
- • Street level. A grocery store, farmer’s market, restaurants, and a transit hub.
- • Lower floors. A livestock grazing plain, bird habitat, goat cheese, and sheep dairy facility.
- • Middle floors. A space for producing fruits, vegetables, and fish.
- • Upper floors. Residential units.
- • Tower’s top. A large rainwater cistern.
The tower will harness renewable energy by installing rooftop mounted wind turbines on the roof, photovoltaic glazing on the facade, a geothermal station underground, and bioenergy from the compost of plants and animals. All of these combined factors provide the possibility of selling surplus power back to the grid. Rainwater will be collected in a cistern atop the tower and used to irrigate plants through the downward pull of gravity. The project was a winning entry in Vancouver’s 2030 challenge given that it addressed climate change through the promotion of high-density mixed- use developments in the urban core, thereby curtailing sprawl .
Designed by architect Gordon Graff, the Skyfarm is a fifty-nine-floor vertical farm proposed for downtown Toronto, Canada. This tower embraces the hydroponic method for growing food, using an area totaling about 743,224 m2 (8,000,000 ft2). It is predicted that the Skyfarm will produce the equivalent of a thousand-acre rural farm, feeding about 35,000-50,000 people per year . The building will be equipped with its biogas plant that contains an anaerobic digester to produce methane from its waste, which is then burned to generate electricity. The system can also reclaim the waste and sewage by diverting it to the Skyfarm’s anaerobic digester to produce the methane necessary to generate electricity. Furthermore, the liquid slurry extracted by the anaerobic digesters could be used by rural farms as fertilizer .
Architecture professor Eric Ellingsen and Microbiology and Public Health professor Dickson Despommier have proposed a self-sustaining thirty-story “Pyramid Farm” to produce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as fish and poultry farm that will feed about 50,000 people annually. The project embraces a closed-loop agricultural ecosystem where nearly every element of the farming process—including water and nutrients—is recycled and reused, minimizing waste drastically. The farm will include a heating and pressurization system that splits sewage into water and carbon, fueling machinery and electrifying lighting. Overall, the proposed farm will be efficient because it will use only 10% of the water used in traditional farming techniques and only 5% of the space of a traditional farm. Finally, the visual quality of the pyramid is appealing and would fit well into an urban area .
Vertical Farm in Philippine
A recent visionary project proposed a vertical aeroponic farm that offers high yields of rice in the Philippines, a country that faces food insecurity and lacks farmland. Rice is a particularly valuable food not only in the Philippines but also across the globe, given that half of the world’s population relies on rice as a major food source. Jin Ho Kim has proposed using aeroponics technology that uses minimal water to grow rice compactly on a terraced vertical farm to be constructed by an array of bamboo parallelograms. The project will create local jobs, supply local food, and lead to significant savings in transportation, storage, refrigeration, and packaging, eventually incorporating spaces for social gatherings and children [70,71].