This week we have been preparing for a talk we are giving at the University of Brighton for the Brighton Interior Architecture and Architecture Society, about the work of the studio and stuff that inspires us. One such element is the integration and development of the edible city and how this can inform public landscaping and workplace design.
When putting together the lecture, we were aware of just how many concepts there are for the integration of food growing, particularly beautifully rendered, high technology concepts, but just how little are actually built.
Is it that we are just thinking about the edible city but have just not got around to building it yet?
Also, the vast majority of the concepts are new build projects, usually in the vertical format. Towers, Sky Farms, layered buildings with horticulture and agriculture combined.
There is, of course a certain amount of building efficiency which can be planned into a new structure, but it does not necessarily mean that our existing buildings cannot be adapted to integrate localised growing into their footprints.
We wrote about one such project here – the FARM: shop project by Something and Son in Dalston, London, which uses a standard retail location to produce fish through aquaponics, salads and even eggs from rooftop chickens – all of which is used in the on site cafe. They also run educational programs to encourage other people to grow.
But thinking of the larger, city workplace format, there is one project which is a very interesting example of what the future of our offices could be – and not in a new structure.
The Pasona HQ in Tokyo is based in a retrofitted 50 year old building, which has been adapted to be not only a working environment, but an urban farm.
Designed by Kono Designs, the building grows most of the food required to feed its employees, from broccoli, squash, tomatoes and even rice, through a variety of interior and exterior growing methods.
There are growing areas included throughout the building, from the main lobby to private offices and meeting rooms, with both soil based and hydroponic systems being employed.
Outside, the exterior of the building has a living facade which includes orange trees, which provides valuable seasonal solar shading and improves the air quality as well as being productive.
What is also great about the Pasona HQ is that the employees actually tend to the crops themselves and are encouraged to spread the word about growing to other city goers through education – leading by example. The sight of someone cutting the rice paddy in the office reception is a welcome change to the usual piece of sculpture.
Overall, this existing building has been redesigned to include 43,000 square feet of ‘farmland’ with over 200 species being grown.
Could this become a model for the development of our edible city and workplaces?
(images via Inhabitat fron Kono Designs)