Here at Inhabitat, we've written about several vertical farms that could solve the problem of providing fresh food in urban environments with minimal transportation. Many of these are merely concepts waiting for funding, but the Pasona HQ office building in Tokyo is one project that is already growing food for its employees. In what could be the first farm-to-desk project of its kind, the rehabilitated building designed by Kono Designs grows most of its own food -- from rice to broccoli, squash, tomatoes and much more. The living green skin on the exterior is more than just a pretty facade; it's also part of the elaborate urban farming scheme and it also helps reduce energy use, too. Through their urban farm and headquarters, the recruitment company is also supporting the education of Japan's next generation of farmers who work in internships to learn about food production.
Located in downtown Tokyo, Pasona HQ is a nine-story building for the Japanese recruitment company. Rather than build a brand-new building, the company took over a 50-year-old structure and renovated it into the urban farm and eco office you see now. Pasona elected to dedicate considerable space inside the building to hydroponic and soil-based farming, which is interspersed throughout the entire building — even in conference rooms and private offices. The exterior was drastically renovated with a living facade, which grows with seasonal flowers and orange trees in 3′ deep balconies. The benefits of such a system should be obvious — shading to reduce energy use and enhanced air quality to improve the health of the employees. Other renovations inside the building sought to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of the employees, including new lighting and an enhanced climate control system.
Pasona dedicated itself to creating this urban farm in part because of the growing reliance of foreign food. With a shortage of arable land in Japan (roughly only 12%, compared to 20% in the US and over 50% in Denmark), the country’s food supply is highly unsustainable. By having this urban farm, Pasona is working to encourage and educate new farmers, while exposing urban people to food while it is growing. Employees of the farm are also encouraged to take part in the care and cultivation of its crops, which are eaten on site in the office cafeteria. Employees can be seen working in the rice paddy or broccoli field, pruning fruit trees, tending to lettuces and harvesting veggies. The office has created 43,000 square feet of farmland with 200 species or fruits, vegetables and rice. This incredible office space is truly a vision of the future and hopefully what every office will be like someday.
Images ©Kono Designs