I was browsing through Dickson Despomier’s vertical farm blog (now moved here) and stumbled upon this simple and beautiful vertical garden concept. The structure is designed to support community agriculture practices and because of its vertical construction, could store significantly more plots than traditional gardens. I really like the circular ramp that winds up the structure because it facilitates synergy among the garden plots. Also, the ramp makes it easier to use non-mechanical equipment to transport tools and harvested plants up and down the building on wheelbarrows or carts. Although not explicitly stated by the project architects, a ramp design like this could improve water use by designing an irrigation system that flows down and around the structure through each of the plots. Finally, the ramp design and open space in the middle makes the “Spiral Garden” a singular community space for the gardeners so that they can see one another, work together, and socialize.
This is what the designers themselves had to say about the “Spiral Garden”:
We wanted to build a new environmentally-friendly town where the environment is considered as an important part of everyday life. We propose ‘spiral garden system’: a public sustainable place like a green heart, easy to maintain and self-sufficient, created by a joint population that will stimulate social interaction among neighbors. A light, spiral structure protected by a transparent and suggestive mesh, the project encourages the city to create sustainable exchange spaces in different ways. This spiral contains an ascending garden where native vegetation can coexist with urban orchards, shared and planted for the neighbors for easy maintenance and serving also as a green outdoor walk. The ‘spiral garden system’ increases social interaction between people, provides a place for exchanging natural products, and becomes a way for local residents to get involved with their neighborhood. To sum up, we propose an ecological project in a way to give sustainable change to daily city lives, where humans and nature can coexist.
I really like how they integrate community use of the plots contained as part of their design concept. Here are some technical images of the building:
The light mesh outside envelope seems to allow a lot of light into the gardens but have neither seen nor read anything about artificial lighting, something which would most certainly be required to produce yields worth investing in such a project. Here are some images of the interior of the structure:
The team also presented one image of the structure in a dense urban center. I prefer the idea of a “Spiral Garden” being placed in a park or natural area mainly because this is a community Agritecture solution, not a commercial one. If it were commercial and located in what looks like downtown Tokyo, as the image below is proposing, then it would require a lot of artificial lighting and security systems to protect it. In a park or residential area on the other hand, community gardeners could be the guardians and it would be less likely to be vandalized. Furthermore, the open mesh outside layer as it is designed (without artificial lighting) would require wide space between the “Spiral Garden” and other structures so that natural light would never be blocked.
A very cool Agritecture concept that reminds me of a less expensive, hippie version of Plantagon’s vertical farm that also uses a spiral technique. I tip my hat to the Spanish design team that came up with this creative idea for producing food in urban areas, winning them 2nd place in the iida awards 2010. Now, let’s make it happen!
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