Ohio State University Design Team

Our team

Our team is composed of an interdisciplinary group of Ohio State students including architecture, engineering, and horticulture backgrounds enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs.

Xuan is a Chinese international student majoring in architecture bachelor degree program and I am a senior student. Like making physical models and making miniature models is my favorite leisure time hobby! Interested in most recent issues related to environment and sustainability that architects could contribute into.

Evan is an Electrical Engineering student interested in commercial indoor, vertical, vegetable production.

Gio is a Horticulture and Crop Science Masters student interested in urban farming and production.

Grace is an undergraduate Architecture student.

John is a Horticulture and Crop Science MS student interested in controlled environment agriculture and commercial vegetable production.

Samantha is a City and Regional Planning student interested in integrating nature and city, with special emphasis on sustainability.

Usoshi is a graduate Food Engineering student with experience in project management and design and has an interest in sustainable infrastructure and controlling/recycling waste streams.

Claire is a Geographic Information Sciences student interested in community development and sustainability.

Our strengths

Our strengths lie in our team members. We have a diverse group with different perspectives and skill sets. This adds tremendously to our design and allows us to submit an overall solid design. Having our team based within the same institution, The Ohio State University, makes cooperation and collaboration seamless, ensuring our progress to be steady and productive.

Our drive

Our drive is to push greenhouse agriculture and controlled environment agriculture forward. Implementing this in communities and creating a community around it will advance the idea of growing produce indoors.

What we want to achieve

Our team is extremely well versed with background experience in city/regional planning, controlled environment agriculture, and completing design challenges. Due to this, our goal is to create a realistic, innovative, and forward looking design that is able to meet the needs of the community and push greenhouse food production forward. Our team is focused on putting out the best design we can and end up in the final group of teams asked to present at Wageningen University.

What are the main starting points of our concept?

In the pursuit of circularity, sustainability, and food production, the following designs were created. The goals of this group was to provide a location that is both a model and proponent of circularity in the Guangdong province. Encouraging education, sustainable food production, energy efficiency, and public accessibility to local and healthy food were all major focus points for this design. Incorporation of public accessibility in the plans is critical to encourage adoption of green practices and circular lifestyles. In an effort to further encourage adoption; research and educational areas are incorporated into this design. A focus on these concepts will help to turn the Guangdong province agricultural zone into a center for innovation, education, sustainability, and circularity.

The 4,609 square meter greenhouse space located on the Challenge Site will be occupied by one multi-story building made up of four distinct parts. Around the building, native plant gardens will be landscaped to beautify the space and encourage agro-tourism. This large building that consists of a growing facility, event space, and interactive exhibits are intended to be the focal point of the futuristic portion of the challenge site. The four parts of the main building will all have specific functions with each area having different dimensions that relate to their functionality. The parts are divided into production, laboratory, interactive, and event/market areas that when combined form the greenhouse design.

What are the main functions of our building?

Production Area
The production area is an 8-story production center for large scale, high production, hydroponically grown crops. This space features nutrient film technique (NFT) and deep water culture (DWC) systems that grow hydroponic herbs, lettuce, microgreens, and other leafy vegetables. The practices used in this area will be tried and true hydroponic growing techniques that produce maximum yield. It also has a service elevator, harvest room, germination room, production floor, and tourist walkways for first-hand observation of indoor food production. Glass windows will be used so tourists in the park and in the event space can see the different levels. The rooftop of this plant factory includes a greenhouse that will be used for vining crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Glass windows surrounding the building will help to minimize lighting requirements, especially on the greenhouse roof. Within the building, individual floors will be assessed for lighting requirements, and supplemental lighting will be included when necessary. The produce that is grown in this facility will supplement the greenhouse restaurant, local markets, vendors, and direct-to-public sales.

Laboratory Area
The laboratory area is a 4-story space for innovative research and quality controls. Here, research will be conducted to streamline the functionality of the production center. Equipped with lighting, postharvest, germination, and quality control labs, this research center will ensure functionality and efficiency requirements are met to maintain the circular vision of this site. Additionally, it allows the facility to perform internal testing for food safety and quality controls that ensure the best and safest products are grown. This space also can double as a teaching lab for those looking for employment at the facility, or want to be trained in greenhouse or indoor plant production at any of the controlled environment agriculture centers in China. Being employable in this space is valuable, as China has over 203,000 acres of controlled environment production. This is the largest amount of production area under some form of protection of any country, and it’s valuable to train individuals in this space.

Interactive Area
The interactive area is a 2-story space for classroom learning, public outreach, and education. This space features stunning views of the surrounding agricultural land, as well as classrooms for education and office space for staff. The area is designed to encourage learning and open-mindedness, and is placed between both the production center and lab space for easy access to firsthand educational resources and tours of the site features. The second floor will be a large interactive area for tourists of all ages to get hands on and work with hydroponic systems. Similar to a science museum, there will be multiple interactive exhibits to use and learn from. This area will extend out to the roof of the lab area.

Event and Market Area
The event and market area is an open atrium on the ground floor of the facility that is built for large and small scale events. The space features a restaurant that is accessible to the public outside of event programming, and has a focus on healthy and sustainable eating with beautiful displays for viewing. The food used in the market area is supplemented by the production center and the surrounding local farmland. The entire space is equipped for public rental and can be divided into sections for events. Educational programs can be held in this area, and the facility is able to encourage visitation by using this space as a catalyst. When events are not in operation, the area is open to the public to explore some of the internal agro-tourism features. These would include art pieces, hydroponic plant demonstrations, and informative displays to educate and inspire. This portion of the greenhouse will also give visitors an opportunity to purchase produce featured during tours of the production facility.

The large plot of farmland located next to the greenhouse will be used to experiment with and test new farming technology and methods in a field like atmosphere. There will be a few paths around the fields for equipment to be transported and people to freely move throughout the site. The research will be an extension of the lab area and the lab space inside the greenhouse will be used as offices for scientists working in the fields.

What are the unique selling points of our concept?

Our concept accomplishes the goals set forth in our main starting points for the greenhouse. Our design is an amazing tourist attraction that contains both interactive spaces and event/market spaces. It also truly exhibits and accomplishes the circularity, sustainability, and food production goals throughout the building. Our greenhouse design is an amazing focal point for the futuristic section of the Marina Bay Central Agricultural Park with it's futuristic and aesthetically pleasing interior and exterior designs.

Artist impressions of the facade and the building


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Ohio State University Design Team


Team info

Evan Berry
Samantha Lehr
Xuan Zhang
John Ertle
Omar Alvarado
Usoshi Chatterjee
Grace Brott
Broderick Ball
Claire Mei
Giovanni Papio
Owen Si