Inspired by the ecological system of giant trees, the Urban Skyfarm is a prototype vertical urban farm project. Designed to support local food production and distribution, it also improves environmental quality through water and air filtration and renewable energy production.
Urban Skyfarm Places First in Concept Category
First Place Winner in the 2013 Green Dot AwardsConcept category, The Urban Skyfarm is a vertical farm design proposal for a site located in downtown Seoul. Conceived of by Aprilli Design Studio, the proposed site is adjacent to the Cheonggyecheon stream, which is a heavily populated, dense urban area within the central business district of Seoul, Korea.
Designing Alternative Urban Solutions With Better Strategies
Aprilli Design Studio is an architectural design firm focusing on research, design and implementation of sustainable design and planning strategies which improve the quality of human life, society and surrounding environments. They believe design can be a powerful tool to provide alternative solutions and develop better strategies for rapidly transforming social, economical and environmental needs.
The following is an excerpt of the many photos and details of the Urban Skyfarm from Aprilli’s website:
“Through lifting the main food production field high up in the air, the vegetation gains more exposure toward the natural sunlight and fresh air while the ground level becomes more freed up with nicely shaded open spaces which could be enjoyed by the urban public.
“The bio mimicry of the tree form gives many structural and environmental advantages to form a light weight efficient space frame which could host diverse farming activities. The four major components which are the root, trunk, branch and leaf each have their own spatial characteristics which are suitable for various farming conditions.”
“Environmentally, the Urban Skyfarm acts as a living machine which helps improving the environmental quality by filtering water and air, providing green, and producing renewable energy. The dense urban development will benefit from the additional green space by having reduced heat accumulation, storm water runoff and carbon dioxide. The Urban Skyfarm is a net zero facility which operates only with the renewable energy produced by solar and wind energy.”
“The vegetations and plantations will consistently convert carbon dioxide into oxygen which will help the city become low carbon. The water processing system includes water collection, water filtering and final processing facilities which filter the grey water or storm water, process it and either distribute it for irrigation or give it back to the Cheonggyecheon stream.”
“In order to gain maximum exposure toward sun light, the vertical garden lifts the main outdoor vegetation area higher up in the air which is called the leaf portion where mostly medium based hydroponic fruit trees and larger scale vegetables needing more exposure toward outside air and sunlight can be produced.
“The lower portions are controlled indoor environments using solution based hydroponic farming with artificial lighting which are more suitable for indoor products such as basil, arugula or bok choy etc. The Urban Skyfarm provides 44,000 m2 outdoor farming deck space in the leaf portion and 28,000m2 for the indoor farming on the lower portion along with 3,200 m2 solar PV panel area for renewable energy production.”
“The Urban Skyfarm acts as a community garden hub where people can easily visit, grow their vegetations and participate in the final production by either bringing it home or selling it back to the local community. The central food market will host local mobile farmer markets around the neighborhood which will circulate through the city to facilitate producing and trading local food products grown by the local roof gardens within the community.”
“The Tree-like form creates a strong iconic figure in the prominent location and becomes a symbol of well being and sustainable development. By creating more cultivation space through vertical stacking of farming decks, the dense urban development will gain more balance in between the urban development and ecology.
“Together with the Cheonggyecheon stream, the Urban Skyfarm will become a nice destination place for people seeking for fresh food, air and relaxation within their busy urban life.”
The Annual Green Dot Awards
Established in 2008 by Farmani Group, the Green Dot Awards is one of the world’s most prestigious green awards. It was established with the intention to recognize outstanding products and services which are manufactured and delivered in an environmentally friendly manner.
Farmani group has founded many charities, businesses, and organizations including the award-winning VUE magazine, The Lucie Awards (the Oscars of photography), Focus on AIDS, International Photography Awards, Le Prix de la Photographie Paris, Farmani Gallery, aNet Communications, Design Awards and FYIdesign.
Awarding Excellence In Environmentally Sustainable Practices
The winners of the 2013 Green Dot Awards were announced last July. The Earlybird deadline for 2014 submissions is November 1. Although the Green Dot Awards are worthy unto themselves, they are also a consumer guide to excellence in environmentally sustainable practices.
According to Aprilli Design Studio, “Our goal is to create a living platform that can adapt to the changing social dynamics and use the advanced technology to provide a better living environment for the contemporary society. We are highly interested in future energy issues, food problems and environmental sustainability.”
Visit Aprilli Design Studio for more photos and details of this extraordinary award-winning concept, and also don’t miss the Urban Skyfarm on YouTube:
Aisha Abdelhamid is a freelance lifestyle and environmental science writer currently living in Vancouver, BC. Her interests include environmental conservation, climate science, renewable energy, faith-based environmental activism, green building, sustainable economics, corporate social responsibility, creative lifestyles, and healthy living.