Gallery: Plantagon Breaks Ground on its First ‘Plantscraper’ Vertical F...

The plants grow as the trays slowly migrate down the central core and are ready to be harvested once they reach the bottom.
The plants grow as the trays slowly migrate down the central core and are ready to be harvested once they reach the bottom.

Plantagon seems to have traded in its initial geodesic dome design for a sheer tower that both contains and showcases the plants growing inside. This prototype building will be called the International Centre of Excellence for Urban Agriculture, and it will be a place for scientists to test new technologies aimed at improving urban farming.

Inside the massive glass walls, vegetables will be grown in pots and then transitioned to trays positioned around a giant central helix. The plants grow as the trays slowly migrate down the central core and are ready to be harvested once they reach the bottom. Plant residue and manure will be collected along the way and transformed into biogas to run the heating and cooling systems of the greenhouse. Scientists want the vertical farm to not only grow food but also help in developing sustainable solutions for energy, heat, waste, and water issues of daily city life.

Construction on the company’s first enormous vertical greenhouse is expected to take 12 to 16 months.

+ Plantagon

Via treehugger


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  1. plateformeco May 16, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I have visited plantagon website and associated urban agriculture and could not find any reference to Permaculture, a now mainstream to be movement which is doing this for years : bring organic agriculture to cities … am I missing something ? Wouldn’t it be logical to cross expertises between building architects and permaculture architects ?

  2. Daniel Halsey March 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Ecologically Arrogant. An architectural response to a horticultural problem.

  3. Ashlesha kale February 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I think it is a great idea for highly urbanized cities with land scarcity,each building also should have vegetable organic farming.

  4. LawrenceHoppis February 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Now, if the would just add aquaponics….

  5. Vote4MattH February 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Some suggestions for the structure proposed.

    Create this East by Southeast facing structure in conjunction with a larger and equal height west facing commercial building.

    Create a channel under the eastern glass that through convection moves the heat to the top of the building controlled by automatic open/close vents at each level.

    Harness this heat energy to heat a boiler first, and above it a large hot water tank at the top of the building.

    These would then be used to provide radiator heating to both structures, hot water, and radiant floor heating for a mixed use indoor/outdoor facility (restaurant) at the top of the west side of the structure.

    This facility would be topped with a patio roof made of translucent solar collectors over a glass roof.
    (See similar structure in use at Directors Park in Portland, OR)

    The translucent solar collectors could be used on three sides of the building for energy collection as well. Possibly over the glass east side as well. The reduction of UV, visible light, and thermal energy coming into the farm portion of the structure would have to be calculated to determine if this would be cost effective versus the losses in the incoming solar energy by location.

    Harness grey water, gravity fed irrigation runoff, and condensation from the foliages aspiration into a large reservoir beneath the structure. This filtered grey water would be used primarily for three purposes.

    #1 To flush toilets in the structure utilizing the warmest top most grey water which would then exit into the sewage system.

    #2 The mid range temperature warm water from the middle portion of the tank would be re-used for irrigation again, boosting absorption and germination success percentages.

    #3 The bottom of the tanks water would be used as a heat sink for the cooling of the structure. If the reservoir became to warm the excess warm water would be released back into the river, and cool river water brought in to regulate the large reservoirs overall temperature.

    I would also suggest the rotation of plants be from the outer edge inward. For a few reasons.

    #1 This would provide warmer temperatures for better germination, and greater sunlight to seeds and seedlings.

    #2 This would boost growth rates for faster seed to harvest times.

    #3 Mature plants at the outer rim otherwise would block much needed sunlight through their foliages filtering and blocking effects.

    #4 This would be a step saver feature for both harvesting the crops, collection of plant materials for mulching, and restaging of the plant growing containers/materials.

    #5 a slight inward leaning of the eastern farm floors (2-5% ?) could be used for many benefits as well.

    A. to allow for gravity irrigation systems to be design to run floor to floor all the way down the structure. The more mature plants having a deeper root structure would benefit from this.

    B. The movement of plant units on rollers would be better facilitated this way as well.

    C. This would aid in the convection motion of the heated air towards the outer wall and up the glass face of the structure which would also keep the glass face dry from condensation allowing better light transmission.

    D. As a direct result of the above the inner harvest area would as a result be able to be kept cooler for the workers harvesting the plants.

    E. Step saver benefits for harvesting of the crops, as well as collecting the foliage debris, and restaging the plant containers/media for reuse.

    F. The incline would slightly direct the building load to the stronger central core. This would also provide a negligible amount of deflection, and a modest physical barrier to load bearing portions of the structure in the event of a blast/attack coming from outside as in the case of a car bomb.

    Just a few observations off the top of my head. Best of luck on the project.
    I would love the second of these be built in Portland, OR.
    We have a perfect location on the southeast edge of downtown, just south of the new OHSU tram along the Willamette river.

    Our weather here would be perfect for it. And you could use the sloping east face to collect a decent amount of rain water for drinking and irrigation as the majority of wind is westerly in direction here during rain showers.

    Thanks for listening,
    Matt “PappaSmurf” Honeycutt
    PappaSmurfPro (at Yahoo)

  6. SpectreWriter February 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    It’s beyond a “neat” idea and right on to brilliant! By using vertical growing, SEVERAL square feet will be put into one square foot of floorspace, and many floors per square feet of ground, so it’s an exponential development. Considering the cost and carbon footprint of bringing fresh vegetables up from the other hemisphere, this is VERY commercially viable. BRAVO!

  7. caeman February 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    It seems like a neat idea, but the cost per square foot would make any food grown not viable for market.

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