The sky's the limit

17 Jun 2014

Brooklyn-based firm wins recognition with ambitious Urban Skyfarm concept for Seoul

Young New York firm Aprilli Design Studio has been awarded a Special Mention in the WT Smart City Award 2014 and recognised as Silver A’ Design Award Winner in the Futuristic Design Category (2013-14) for its Urban Skyfarm concept. The vertical agriculture scheme has been designed for Jung-gu, Seoul and incorporates a sky-farm, hydroponic farm, botanical gardens, viewing deck, farmers market, water filtration facility, renewable energy production facility and cafeteria.

WAN posted the project to its Facebook page on Monday to mixed responses. Some commentators questioned the feasibility of the tree-like structure while others applauded the design team for their creativity. Aprilli Design Studio reference Dr Dickson Despommier’s ‘The Vertical Farm’ as a starting point for their concept, finding further inspiration in the structure of trees.

The team explains: “The bio mimicry of the tree form gives many structural and environmental advantages to form a light weight 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.

“While the upper portions provide open to air farming decks for medium based vegetation, the lower portions enclosed by the structural skin provide more controlled environments for solution based leafy productions. During daytime the photovoltaic panels generate electricity to be used for night time lighting and heating to support farming.”

As such, the team envisions Urban Skyfarm to become an ecosystem in its own right. The complex would act as a food production and distribution centre, while encouraging passers-by to shelter from the hot sun in the shade created by its ‘leafy’ projections. The concept aims to promote social, environmental and economic activities through the medium of vertical agriculture. 

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