You might think the future of urban farming would take a vertical form, but Terreform ONE believes it could look much more spherical in shape. The Brooklyn-based design studio recently unveiled a prototype for the Urban Farm Pod, a futuristic food production capsule that “plugs in ecology” into areas where agriculture is scarce. Described as a “living cabin,” this inhabitable capsule follows the principle of Agronomy to allow urban nuclear families to grow their own food, while simultaneously producing energy.
Like much of Terreform ONE’s work, the Urban Farm Pod explores the concept of living architecture by using active biological processes to build furniture. Built in the shape of a rotegrity sphere, the robotically milled pod was constructed from reclaimed flat-packed materials folded into parametrically designed flower-like shapes. Each pod panel contains two types of planters: the central gravity-fed planter that grows more traditional plants, like wheat grass and tomatoes; and the three secondary planters that surround the central pot and are used to grow cell culture or micropropagation. That process, called “DIY agronomy tissue culture,” is a technique that uses plant cells for propagation rather than seeds or saplings. Once they reach a certain age, they can be removed and seeded inside the central planter.
In addition to the built-in irrigation system, the Urban Farm Pod is equipped with a digital monitoring platform that collects and transmits information about the plants’ health to the web. Each pod can also be adapted to serve as a bioluminescent light source or used for algal energy production. The Urban Farm Pod can easily be scaled to fit different sizes, and because it’s made up of flat-pack modules, can be quickly shipped and set up just about anywhere in the world.
“The vision of the project is to bring back the relationship between human and nature,” write the designers. “Let’s grow our own food inside an urban space, be it living room, balcony or roof top of your home or in an urban park for large scale production. The future pods will have a new form of mediated arboreal culture, to integrate the biological and mechanical elements more closely, to transform the object into one that grows and changes symbiotically. The Plug-In Ecology project sets out a direction for healthy biological exchanges with urban inhabitants, and to contribute to the life of urban ecosystems.”
Images via Terreform ONE, photos by Micaela Rossato