Concepts for vertical forests and farms have grown in popularity due to the sustainable future they represent. Not only does the idea of creating vertical high-rise buildings that include trees and vegetation seem like an innovative and interesting idea, but the stylised renderings submitted by the industry’s best also help to create the urban paradise image. That is however, also their downfall.
Here at Designbuild Source we’re always interested unique concepts and outside-the-box thinking, but there is also a sense of disappointment that sometimes comes when these concepts can’t make it off the page. It is fantastic that sustainable concepts are being created, but even better when they come to fruition, in the fashion of Stefano Boeri’s ‘Bosco Verticale’.
So while vertical farm concepts are to be applauded, their construction deserves much more.
New York has been the focus of intensive urban planning, especially in relation to urban farming. Fantastic concepts have been designed that create imagery of giant lush vertical forests, and amazing futuristic spaces, all of which have a very distinct focus on the US city. Perhaps because of its chic nature, stereotypically trendy population and dense population, New York has become something of a Mecca for urban farm concepts.
What some designers are missing in the maze of bright greens and blues of stylish concept images, is that for some time now, New Yorkers have been making the most of their extensive rooftop space and creating their own ground up rooftop farming systems.
New York’s Riverpark Farm is one of the city’s largest, most iconic, ‘most urban’ rooftop farms. Built as a retrofit of 15,000 square feet of high rise roof space at the Alexandria Centre, the farm is the brainchild of Sisha Ortúzar, along with co-founders Jeffrey Zurofsky and Scarlet Shore.
The farm is a testament to sustainability on the ground level. Not only does it have positive green roof aspects which include building insulation and pollution filtering, it also completely provides fresh produce to Ortúzar’s restaurant Riverpark.
It is not simply the fact that this urban farm has been undertaken, but its sheer scale. The farm has a daily production of 50-100 pounds of cucumbers alone. Michael Grady Robertson, adviser to the farm as well as owner of his own ‘Grady’s Farm’, as seen in the video above, is positive that the New York city climate will offer a completely new opportunity for a strong growth in plants that would not be suited to traditional farming environments.
It is just that simple. Buying and shipping costs are eliminated and the chef has complete control of pesticides (in this case none are used), the fruits and vegetables needed and the quality of produce. As with most sustainability initiatives, urban farming just makes sense. No miraculous renderings. No state of the art equipment. Just three people, with one simple idea.