Gallery: Agro-Housing for a Sustainable Urban China

 

In an era of globalization and significant rural-urban migration, Israel-based Knafo Klimor Architects offer a new ‘urban and social vision that will address problems of chaotic urbanization’. The Agro-Housing prefab concept is a modern housing solution that integrates green building practices, smart growth principles and traditional values to create sustainable urban communities within China’s growing metropolises.

The UN estimates that 50% of the population in China are going to reside in cities by 2010. This massive urbanization can potentially fragment communities, severely deplete natural resources, lead to considerable unemployment, undermine existing traditions, and increase air and soil pollution. Agro-Housing is designed to help avoid these negative impacts, and the importance of the project has been recognized worldwide – it won the 2nd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Housing.

Agro-Housing tackles the looming statistics with a high-rise apartment complex concept that incorporates a vertical greenhouse, creating compact homes that also enable families to grow their own organic produce. Other communal spaces are also built-in, such as a kindergarten on the ground floor, a ‘sky club’ on the building’s green roof, and flexible spaces for professional meetings and informal gatherings.

The building will be constructed with a number of sustainable building techniques: the gardens reduce carbon dioxide and provide natural cooling and shade, drip irrigation from the existing high water table is used to water the plants and grey water is recycled for gardening. The materials used for paving are recycled and there is ample bicycle parking in the shade. Other heating and cooling comes from passive solar energy and ground source heat pump systems.

The direct benefits to inhabitants will include greater freedom, better health and additional income, as well as creating a sense of community and preserving rural traditions. Urban growth becomes less expensive in the closer-knit communities with less investment in infrastructures and transportation systems needed. The level of time committed to commuting is reduced, and the community becomes more aware of the benefits and importance of sustainability.

Agro-Housing’s main structure is composed of steel, which is prefabricated and installed on site, enabling flexible spaces to be constructed. The steel, like the aluminum, glass and terracotta the building uses, can be recycled should the building be deconstructed. The estimated cost of construction per square meter is about €200 ($28 USD/square foot).

+ Knafo Klimor Architects + Agro-Housing

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12 Comments

  1. Garrett September 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    In response to Erik – This could be taken to the next level if they’d use Hemp instead of steel for construction. Stronger, better for the environment (in every way), and definitely won’t be hot :)

  2. Links for 2008-03-01 : ... March 22, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    [...] Agro-Housing for a Sustainable Urban China A new ‘urban and social vision addresses problems of chaotic urbanization’. The Agro-Housing prefab concept is a modern housing solution that integrates green building practices, smart growth principles and traditional values to create sustainable ur (tags: architecture design) Posted by francisanderson Filed in Uncategorized [...]

  3. Phil March 5, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Not a completely new concept.
    Check out http://www.verticalfarm.com/ for a more extensive look into growing stuff in the sky.

  4. Hugo March 3, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Loads of different stories here. Isn’t China that country that is still gouverned by the Chinese Communist Party? And the country that violates human rights on a large scale? With such polluting industries that they are an exception to allmost all environmental treaties?

    Jim, I agree on you when you say that your press lies to you, leaving the majority (or at least a large part) of the Americans with a twisted world image. But private tours always show high-end problem solutions and other state-of-the-art designs. It does not reflect the reality and disguises other (social) problems.

    That 200 euro / m^2 is number based on the very low wages of the location. So not an option for first world countries…

  5. architecture - Winners ... March 3, 2008 at 2:33 am

    [...] 03/3/2008 Winners of the 2nd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Housing.Kategorie: Architektur u. Städtebau    Von Val_der_Ama um 07:30 Heute c&p: The UN estimates that 50% of the population in China are going to reside in cities by 2010. This massive urbanization can potentially fragment communities, severely deplete natural resources, lead to considerable unemployment, undermine existing traditions, and increase air and soil pollution. Agro-Housing is designed to help avoid these negative impacts, and the importance of the project has been recognized worldwide (…). The building will be constructed with a number of sustainable building techniques: the gardens reduce carbon dioxide and provide natural cooling and shade, drip irrigation from the existing high water table is used to water the plants and grey water is recycled for gardening. usw.usf… Ganz genau schauen. Via. [...]

  6. Sunny March 2, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    The average Chinese bureaucrats in the Government aren’t very knowledgeable. Many of them need examples to follow. This agro housing is an excellent example to demonstrate the concepts. Great work. I hope the private sector will follow.

  7. jeff March 2, 2008 at 11:55 am

    wow, really? i m from china and i never noticed stuff like that, It will be great if u can provide us some of the locations.

  8. jim March 1, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I invite all of you to take a private tour of China as I did. (Plus on a seperate trip I was honored to be one of America’s delegates to the World Focus on Housing Conference held in China.) You would be amazed as to how far they are ahead of the U.S. in almost every field including entrpreneurship, clean water, cleaning the air AND POLITICS. It shocked us until two Americans living in Hong Kong invited us to take 7 international newspapers and compare them to the American press. This vividly illustrated how our press lies to us..(Plus I have been accidently caught in the midst of actual world events and was shocked to return home to see how our press twisted events to suite their interest. I have been in over 50 countries and the greatest example of community design is a tower city in the middle of an agricultural field in China. Almost every floor had large play/park areas with greens in abundance. With the high speed train passing adjacent to it, there was no need for cars. Architecturally, as well as in other respects, it is the most exciting country in the world.

  9. Nick Simpson March 1, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Richie, why do they need to convert this sort of housing into low-rise, low density, presumably detached housing? Surely that’s moving in the wrong direction..?

  10. Erik van Lennep March 1, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Just curious: there have been a number of articles over the past few years reporting high levels of nuclear contamination showing up in (among other places) steel framework for housing in China and Korea. Apparently the USA has been exporting its”hot” scrap for sometime to be recycled in China. Add to this other waste streams from closer to home.I remember reading one report of apartment buildings in North Korea with such high levels of radiation in the steel beams that it had to be evacuated. Other articles have discussed Chinese steel children’s toys being returned by US importers due to radioactivity.

    So, this is an issue. I am wondering how the cost savings of using recycled steel framing sits against a possible cancer factory scenario. Anybody testing or measuring the radiation levels in this project? Anybody else even thinking about it?

  11. Richie March 1, 2008 at 4:33 am

    $28 per square foot cost of construction ? YES ! Finally…the ‘Holy Grail’ of modern, prefab, architecture is achieved ? Now break it out into a series of 1 and 2 story personal dwelling units… and something marvellous is achieved !!!!!!

    Let’s GO !

  12. Jason Macosa February 29, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Very nice design, howver the Chinese should be concerned about providing clean drinking water and clean air to its people. China is a global environmental disaster in the making.

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