Architecture is primarily used as shelter from the elements, but what if it could also be used to combat world hunger? X-TU Architects explores this revolutionary idea with plans for a latticed market that will use hydroponics to grow hops, herbs, and vegetables on its timber façade, as well as harvest and serve them for consumption on-the-spot. This competition-winning design will serve as the French pavilion for the 2015 World Expo in Milan, which follows the expo theme "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life."
X-TU Architects describe the scheme as a “reversed and spectacular landscape,” in that food is grown on the vaulted ceiling and walls rather than on the ground. The French pavilion innovates upon the traditional market model, and adds on-site food production and consumption to the typical exchange of food. The ground floor will serve as an exhibition space where visitors can learn and exchange ideas about France’s rich agricultural history and see the different types of hops and aromatic herbs grown on the ceilings and terraces. Upstairs, vegetables will be grown at a restaurant, which will also serve the produce to diners.
The pavilion’s undulating timber frame will be digitally fabricated and made to look like a seamless upside down landscape of rolling vegetated hills. The tall vaulted ceilings and checkered skylights give the pavilion an airy, light filled appearance, that when doubled with the hanging greenery will make the pavilion feel like “a cool breath of air in the summer heat.” At the end of the expo, the pavilion will also host a celebratory event to harvest the hops.
Images via X-TU Architects