Years of urban development in the harbor area of the Merwehaven in the Netherlands have led to decline of traditional trade in the area, especially in the agricultural sector. However, thanks to the Dutch firm, Goldsmith Company, the harbor is now home to a floating dairy farm that brings sustainably-sourced milk and dairy products to the locals.
The Merwehaven area is a bustling port that drives most of the region’s economy. However, due to the ever-growing nautical presence, the agricultural sector in the area has been diminishing for years. With the addition of the floating dairy for client Floating Farm Holding BV, the locals are now able to appreciate locally-sourced, sustainable milk and other dairy products.
According to the architects, the design of the floating farm is based on nautical principles. Built on three connected concrete pontoons and coming in at a whopping 21,527 square feet, the structure’s layout, structural principles and materials were carefully designed to enhance the farm’s buoyancy and stability.
The production of fruits used to produce yogurt is found on the bottom floor, which is equipped with a rain and wastewater recycling system. The upper factory floor houses the milk and yogurt processing, feeding system and manure handling and retail.
The upper, open-air floor is where 40 blissful bovines live in a covered cow garden. The area is equipped with a manure cleaning robot, along with a milking robot. In fact, the garden boasts state-of-the-art systems that were strategic in enhancing the animals’ welfare, including as a series of green towers that ensure cooling.
In addition to the animal-centered architecture and technology, the farm was also built on full-cycle sustainability principles. Urban waste flows are upgraded from residual product to create feed for the animals. Brewers grains, potato scraps and grass clippings from the nearby Feyenoord football stadium are used to create a daily feast for the bovines, who in return produce healthy sustainable milk to sell back into the local market.
Photography by Ruben Dario Kleimeer