Can agriculture help us adapt to climate change? These architects think so
As the world’s population increases, the natural resources used to produce food are increasingly threatened by climate change, and urban sprawl continues to supplant agricultural land, with more creative solutions for cultivating, distributing and consume the foods we urgently need. A crucial group on which we must lean to build a more secure future? Architects and town planners.
For several years, the Internet has been full of utopian representations of futuristic cities populated by farms of skyscrapers. Although inspiring, they tend to miss the mark of pragmatism. From a financial, technical and even horticultural point of view, the majority of these concepts would never be viable. And if they are not viable, how can they be sustainable? Answering this nagging question is what inspired the first entrepreneur Henry gordon smith to start writing about the intersection of architecture and agriculture in 2011, under the name Agriculture.
“Agriculture and architecture have been closely linked since the dawn of human settlement,” says Gordon-Smith. “But in recent history, we have lost that connection. “Agritecture” is about re-establishing that connection and making it work for a modern society through smart planning and data-driven solutions. “
By educating start-up entrepreneurs and better preparing them for the realities of running an urban agriculture business, Agritecture has become the world leader in urban agriculture consulting, with more than 130 clients in more than 50 cities.
Today, Agritecture has broadened its field of action thanks to the launch of a new software platform, Agriculture designer.
Designate helps people in any part of the world plan viable urban farms through educational lessons and financial modeling tools, all based on best practices and data collected over many years. A growing network of equipment and funding partners then help connect these project developers with the technology and capital needed to jumpstart their plans.
This year, Agritecture launched a call for architects and designers to address several challenges relating to future urban food scenarios, using Agriculture designer for best practices and data models to make their solutions more viable. Here are some highlights of these innovative concepts. Which of these would you most like to see come true?
Future of the autonomous vehicle / Concept by Eugene Gurevich, Charles Huang, Ted Klingensmith, Athmane Aouchiche from RAND Engineering & Architecture
With the need for parking spaces diminishing, the RAND team considered reallocating the 200,000 square foot IKEA concrete parking lot in Paramus, New Jersey, for local food production. Designer allowed them to explore the viability of a gradual conversion of this large parking lot using a mix of greenhouses, vertical trusses and outdoor community spaces showcasing the retailer’s products. RAND hopes to present this concept to IKEA soon.
Retail Apocalypse / Concept by Zeynab Matar, Andrea Baraggia, Mohamed Adel El-Begermie
The abandoned Ex-Macello site in Milan was once a 15 hectare municipal slaughterhouse. Eager to modernize the site by integrating innovative food production with a new shopping experience, this team of architects used Designer to define the finances, use of resources and returns of their grand vision.
Future City Food Hub / Concept by Chris Jones of Feeding Cities and Brian McCarthy of Cork Rooftop Farm
Taking inspiration from the real world of Cork’s rooftop farm, this concept imagines the conversion of a multi-story parking lot in the city center into a food hub, with an indoor vertical farm and a rooftop greenhouse in the same building as food processing and retail space. With Designer, Jones was able to determine which crops would be the most practical to grow on vertical farms versus greenhouses versus raised beds, producing a total annual yield of over 100,000 pounds on site.
Urban drought / Concept by Jorge Gerini of Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos
85% of Mexico is currently in a period of drought, threatening the ability of farmers to produce food. Altozano Querétaro is a mixed-use development with a steep slope, allowing panoramic views, sunlight and shaded areas. Using realistic financial calculations derived from Designer, Jorge’s team plans to create a community-driven model focused on resilient food production and green spaces, with two greenhouses at each end of a central linear park and a farm. vertical in the same building as a farm. table restaurant.
Remote northern communities / Concept by Hala Al Amine
Al Amine focused his concept on geographically isolated communities suffering from harsh weather conditions and a short growing season. The igloo-inspired “Arctic Eye” is a geodesic dome creating a greenhouse at its periphery and a vertical farm at its center, cultivating products that support healthy eating and cold tolerance. The designer estimated a substantial annual return of over 160,000 pounds per year.
Are you an architect, designer or project developer looking to integrate realistic agricultural concepts into the built environment? Take the next step with Agritecture and explore the Designer platform, here.