We are a team of MSc students scattered around the world with backgrounds in Agricultural sciences, Architecture, Economics, Anthropology, Data Science, Machine Learning, Mathematics.
All of our team members have either worked on building a startup company in the past or are pioneers in their academic research at their University.
We are passionate and driven people who can sustain a lot of stress and chaos.
Passion about finding real sustainability and reversing the negative impact of the human race on the planet.
What we want to achieve
Feed people sufficiently without having a negative impact on the planet.
Introduce nature and farming back to our daily lives.
Produce systems that make economical and environmental sense.
What are the main starting points of our concept?
Apart from creating a building or a greenhouse, we wanted to create an agricultural Brand that would represent and promote the following values:
5. sustainable economic growth
6. respect for human life and nature
7. solidarity and coexistence among employees, clients, residents, and the local environment.
8. environmental restoration and protection
– Educating farmers: Farmers can learn about new farming methods and how to optimize their own methods or how to start an urban farm.
– Grow for the Brand: After getting through the educational part, farmers can start growing in the areas and methods provided.
– Export food to Restaurants and Hotels: The crops produced are sold to Restaurants (on-or-off-site) and Hotels (off-site).
– Tours and Educational Activities: Farmers will provide tours and classes for visitors.
– Experience the Brand: A limited number of visitors can live the experience end-to-end from production to consumption.
– On-site Restaurant and Market (Food Hall): In the dedicated restaurant area, visitors can experience the stages and process of turning raw matter into traditional dishes. After tasting traditional dishes (made from local materials produced in the park), visitors can buy ingredients or full dishes from the Market. Knowing the ingredients means visitors can look for them when they are back home.
What are the main functions of our building?
Rooftop Greenhouse & Vertical Farm (Growing stronger)
The main purpose of our building is crop production with minimum environmental damage. For this reason, we chose a hydroponic rooftop greenhouse. The greenhouse act as a landmark, representing the building and the urban farming movement. Visitors can take a tour in the greenhouse and experience the growing process. The greenhouse is used for growing fruit-bearing crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries.
Furthermore, a plant factory with artificial lighting is located on the ground floor and basement of the building. In the plant factory leafy greens, herbs and microgreens are grown. Visitors can also book a tour of the vertical farm.
Research facilities for scientific experiments and regular farm-related tests are also included in our design. The research facility is used for tests like soil analysis of the basic farmland, quality measurements, and scientific research to further improve our growing methods. The research facility opens a door for cooperation with local universities and research centers.
Storage rooms for material and supplies are also included in the building close to the greenhouse area. Moreover, an anaerobic digestion facility is located underground along with the PFAL for biogas production. The biogas is then used for climate control for the greenhouse, and perhaps even the building.
Accommodation (Grow for the brand-Get the full experience of the Park)
The accommodation area is connected to the greenhouse through an aerial ramp. Micro-farmers (Persona 1) who want to learn about new growing methods and get hands-on experience can stay in one of the available rooms for a certain period of time. Our goal while designing the accommodation area was to improve the living conditions of farmers but also to set an example for sustainable design.
It is clear to us, that the neighborhoods of the future should be intertwined with “greenhouses” and life support systems. It is certain that environmentally friendly housing units in urban areas are key to a safe and sustainable future. Furthermore, we imagine that perhaps in the future people will have to leave the cities and expand in previously forgotten areas that might either be bursting with life, or dead as the Sahara Desert. Therefore, accommodation should be combined with environmental protection and restoration.
Moreover, tourists (persona 3) who want to fully experience the park and perhaps even join our growers on their daily routines, can also rent a limited number of rooms, for agro-tourism purposes. In order for the brand to be more inclusive, we wanted to give the chance to locals or foreigners to experience the brand “from the inside” therefore we used some of our available space to accommodate visitors.
Exhibition area, Food-hall, and amphitheater (Enhancing Knowledge)
In order to enhance knowledge transfer and best practices, new production and technical expertise seminars (targeted to persona 1) will be held in the exhibition and amphitheater areas. These events can be co-organized with local Universities and Research, communicating knowledge to each other but also to the public.
Cultural events that promote local traditions and help visitors to get involved in food production processes, or the annual gastronomy events (persona 2 & 3) can also take place in the Food-hall in combination to the other areas. Moreover, guided tours to our technologically advanced facilities and experiential workshops, are also included in our planning and can either start from or are held in the exhibition area or the amphitheater.
Restaurant and Market (Seize the taste)
The Food-Hall area consists of a Restaurant-Café (RE.CA) and a marketplace. The RE.CA. the facility will provide customers the opportunity to eat or try different local specialties, and follow the whole preparation procedure from farm to fork. All the crops that are produced in the Park can be sold through this RE.CA facility, as raw materials or as prepared dishes. This way, visitors can buy their favorite products after tasting or eating them here, tourists can bring raw materials back to their home-towns, or look for them in their local grocery store. The RE.CA area is also ideal for the annual gourmet festival to be held, as well as lunches or dinners of various symposiums and expos that can be held on-site.
This is probably the most important part of our building since it facilitates the “whole park” through its products.
A Logistic area is also located near the RE.Ca area, in order to store the products before they are sold on-site or exported in nearby restaurants and markets.
What are the unique selling points of our concept?
The strongest aspect of our concept is the creation of the Agricultural Brand. Both a farm, a greenhouse, and a plant factory are limited by their area and location whereas a Brand can facilitate many “farms” and sell their products throughout China. This Brand can also represent the Park and the urban farming movement along with its core values (sustainable economic growth, respect for human life and nature, solidarity and coexistence among employees, clients, residents, and the local environment, environmental restoration and protection).
The accommodation facility acts as a way to recruit and train farmers, promoting education and better living conditions. The people working on the farm, are the face of the Brand, creating a feeling of unity and inclusivity. By providing superior living and working facilities to micro-farmers and locals who want to get into the farming business, the Brand can further expand through them, making the Park just a starting point.
The Restaurant-Market area (also mentioned as Food-hall, or Restaurant-Café, RE.CA) is perhaps, our strongest selling point. The RE.CA area, allows us to utilize the whole Parks’ products, preparing them and serving them as dishes to locals, visitors, and tourists. In the Restaurant, visitors can experience the whole procedure of raw materials being turned into traditional dishes. This allows us to promote and enhance tradition, get locals excited about cooking and introduce new cooking materials and recipes to foreigners who can seek those materials when they get back to their countries. By allowing visitors to see the whole preparation process of each recipe, our products are sold as something more than raw materials, they are sold as memories from the Park and the time spent in our proposed building.
The Research facilities along with the areas that can be used for conferences, symposiums, and other events, can all act as a connection to society. This connection further enhances the values and the inclusivity of the Brand.
Considering the farming methods, both the hydroponic greenhouse and the vertical farm are considered high-tech, sustainable farming solutions. The by-products of these facilities, organic matter from non-salable parts of the crops, remaining nutrient solution, etc, can be used as fertilizers and soil enhancers for the basic farmland area, where methods of permaculture and agro-ecology are applied. We propose a coexistence between high-tech methods, such as plant factories and low-tech methods such as permaculture since each one of them has advantages and disadvantages and neither of them can be the sole solution that is going to “save the world”.
Through the plant factory, we can produce year-round, high yields of certain crops (mostly leafy greens, herbs and microgreens) which are not enough to fulfill people's hunger. Through the greenhouse, we can also produce year-round, the same crops as in the plant factory but in smaller quantities, but also fruit-bearing crops which are not economically feasible to grow in a plant factory. For this reason, the greenhouse complements the plant factory. Furthermore, the basic farmland complements both of the previous systems by allowing the cultivation of crops that can’t be grown soilless, or require more light. Moreover, the basic farmland provides a more hand-on, inclusive experience to visitors since it lacks strict environmental control and safety protocols, such as disinfected shoes-hands-uniforms. Therefore the combination of these three methods covers a spectrum of experiences, each of which serves a certain purpose.
Artist impressions of the facade and the building
Konstantinos Saitas Zarkias
Stavronia Niovi Mazaraki