Skygardeners

Our team

We are a team of twelve students from Wageningen University and Research. We are from China, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, and Spain. We have backgrounds in Plant Sciences, Landscape design, Environmental Sciences, Organic agriculture, Biobased sciences, Social Sciences. The following part is a short introduction of each one of us:

Wenying Huo
My name is Wenying, from China and I am studying greenhouse horticulture. I am eager to find any possibilities to make a sustainable agricultural production system.

Orfeas Petropoulos
My name is Orfeas and I am studying the MSc Biobased Sciences, from a plant production perspective. I am especially interested in Circularity and Sustainability in the context of intensive agriculture and resource utilization.

Xiao Zhang
I am Xiao, a student in MSc Landscape architecture and spatial planning. I have experience in Landscape Design. I think that designing the structure and appearance of greenhouse, including the functional layout inside, are main two parts of my interest.

Clara Bosch
My name is Clara and I am studying Organic Agriculture. And I have a background in ecology. I like to explore different systems and how to make them more sustainable that is why I think this is a great challenge for me.

Shengkai Wang
I am Shengkai Wang, a student in MSc Environmental Sciences, with specialization in Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality, from China. Formerly BSc at Wuhan University University majoring in environmental technology.

Giulia De Fusco
I'm a MSc student of International Development Studies at Wageningen University. I am passionate about the socio-political dimensions of the water-food-energy nexus. As a social scientist focused on environmental policy, I tend to have a systemic perspective and I am a strong advocate of transdisciplinarity and breaking out of silos.

Mengxiao
My name is Mengxiao from the Master of Plant Sciences with greenhouse horticulture specialization. I am interested in urban farming and I really want to apply the knowledge I learn from lectures into this greenhouse design challenge. I also expect to bring more new ideas about urban farming in China.

Ruizhe Li
I am Ruizhe Li, a master student of Environmental sciences in Wageningen University. As a Msc student, now I focus on the atmosphere quality and want to make my study link to plants and soil. So, I tend to cooperate with team members who are from multi background. I believe we can make a sustainable greenhouse in such interdisciplinary team.


Paolo Pezzolla
I’m Paolo Pezzolla a student from Italy. I’m a student of the MSc in Plants sciences with a specialization in Greenhouse Horticulture. I like to explore new subjects and dive in new challenge about sustainability.


Dick Scholtus
I’m Dick, 1st year MLP architecture student Wageningen. I’m very interested in the intersection of people, climate & design. My thesis was about urban heat islands in the Dutch city of Breda. As a dutch person agricultural export is in my blood, this combined with a design which not only works but is also beautiful is very important I believe. In this context I’d like to contribute to the group. To design urban greenhouses that not only work, but amaze and inspire.

Tianhao Zhou
I am Tianhao, a master student from Wageningen university and research, studying Landscape architecture and spatial planning. I also have a background from an art school so I can provide some ideas from both design and art perspective.

Our strengths

We are diverse in culture and professional backgrounds and individually motivated to create wonderful ideas. Along with a strong friendship we aim to tackle any challenges with a positive attitude.

Our drive

To face the challenges of food and resource security, as well as human well-being in modern China.

It is necessary to redesign the environment we are living in. We want to harmonize urban areas with human needs with respect to nature.

We want to deliver a design that expands on the concepts of sustainability and circularity, while also bringing the field of Urban Agriculture to the next level.

What we want to achieve

We want to create an Urban Farming system model that is realistically feasible and an improvement of the current paradigms in Urban Agriculture.

We view sustainability and circularity as factors of value addition both from an economic viewpoint and a sociological perspective in food production. By designing this Urban Agriculture System we can bring forward changes and solutions both for the short- and long- term future and at the same time connecting tradition and future of chinese agricutlure.

What are the main starting points of our concept?

Our concept revolves around these three pillars:
1. To ensure the sustainability of Dongguan in the future. The project promotes environmental sustainability by applying circular solutions and promoting their further use to professionals and consumers alike. It secures and enhances the natural capital in the surrounding environment.

2. Secondly, it aims to strengthen the social cohesion of local society and provide recurring entertainment. Our building concept is an attempt to offset the negative externalities of urbanization by creating a healthy natural environment accessible to all.

3. Finally, the building will accelerate the transition of Dongguan into an innovation center within the field of sustainable agriculture and urban agriculture, linking people of all educational levels to the emerging job market by training them within this innovation hub.

What are the main functions of our building?

The building fulfills four main functions:

The first function is to familiarize visitors with the connection between nature and art as well as the traditional Chinese culture. The “Agri-art” and the “Foodways to China” areas will attract both one-time visitors and also hold recurring events to attract residents of Dongguan. At the same time visitors and locals will have the opportunity to relax in the “Magic Garden” and take a break from the city’s rhythms.

The second function is showcasing and teach about sustainability and circularity solutions to regular visitors but also more specifically to farmers and engineers interested in these solutions. The growing spaces and part of the circularity system can be seen by all visitors and more in detail under personalized tours.

Thirdly, the building will grow food and make it available to customers in an indoor market. This space will have the capacity to hold “Harvest” events to distribute harvest from inside the building as well as the rest of the Agricultural Park. In this way we reduce the distance of produce travels and so reduce the negative externalities that transport creates. By doing so we expect to lower prices making fresh and local produce available to more people. Furthermore, such events will be central in the greenhouse agenda further enhancing social interactions.

The fourth and final function of the building is to educate professionals and promote urban and sustainable agriculture in Dongguan and the rest of China. Workshops on urban agriculture, traditional forms of farming, combined with modern techniques and organic farming are examples of activities that will be organized. For those with a higher school education, trainings on business and vertical farming will provide them the tools to work in the CUBE or to start their own business. Partnerships with the local municipality and universities can be achieved as well as with private businesses wishing to train personnel.

What are the unique selling points of our concept?

The adaptability of the building to the social relationships, people are central in our building and they ‘make’ and co-create the space. It aims to strengthen the social cohesion of local society in recurrent events and at the art and market spaces. Next to this, the initiative of the New Farmers’ School creates the starting point for innovation and position the building in the center of an emerging network. Furthermore it provides new qualification opportunities to locals and migrants. In this way we expect multiple private-private partnerships to emerge as well as private-public that will catalyze innovation and generate revenue. Options include certification schemes for Farmers trained, start-up support for emerging urban farmers and networking opportunities towards creating a chain of Urban Agriculture and Vertical Farming Businesses with a common start point.

We aim to redirect financial profit to generate social profit by enhancing the quality of living of Dongguan residents and migrants . In this way Dongguan, within the field of sustainable and urban agriculture, will become a center where people will gather not only for short-term employment opportunities but employment opportunities that will improve their situation in the long-term. We expect that in this way we will not only enhance the business transition of Dongguan but also ensure the sustainability of farming and improve sufficiency in relation to food production.

Artist impressions of the facade and the building

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Team info

mengxiao wang
info
xiao Zhang
info
Shengkai Wang
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Orfeas Petropoulos
info
Tianhao Zhou
info
Giulia De Fusco
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Clara Bosch
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Ruizhe Li
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Wenying Huo
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Paolo Pezzolla
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Dick Scholtus
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Qiong Wu
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