When it comes to sustainable urban living, the only option for designers is to plan vertically. With populations rising and urban living becoming more popular than ever before, density in cities is an issue that can make going green a major challenge.
Global concepts that aim to tackle this issue include vertical farming, vertical waste dumps and vertical gardens and forests. Each of these sustainability-driven architectural concepts offer to aid in the evolution of cities, helping them to live within their own means in terms of resources and therefore eliminating the need for extensive reliance on grid energy use.
However, while these ideas have been formulated, and have even progressed into construction stage, very few of them offer a holistically sustainable urban solution.
Designer Brandon Martella is looking to change that with his concept for the San Diego Farm Tower. While the site’s title may suggest a simple food and farming focus, the skyscraper actually aims to offer a vertical community experience.
The design serves as a new model for the residential community that involves urban farming, living, education and community, all in one vertical space.
Structurally, the building is situated on an untreated, poured concrete frame. A steel diagrid frame network will separate the residential and farm areas, with 150 1,000 square foot apartments and 100 600-800 square foot apartments taking up the residential space. An additional 727,295 square feet will be set aside for farming purposes. In addition to this, the tower will also include a market space that will foster a sense of community and even encourage tourism, as groups are expected to travel through the farmed areas for educational purposes.
In terms of the design concept’s façade, an ETFE pillow will protect the urban farm, with a dual low-e exterior for the residential and market areas.
The three basic design principles for the outcome of the development are ‘live, grow share’, with a strong focus on creating a holistically sustainable environment in the midst of an urban metropolis.
From food growth to community orientation, greywater systems and water storage tanks, the San Diego Farm Tower represents a remarkably sustainable idea, a utopian living environment for the sustainable urban lifestyle. Most importantly, the concept is not unrealistic to see coming off the page and into the built environment.