In 2008, we first looked at this Eco-Laboratory concept for a living building, which won the Natural Design Talent Competition in 2008. Designed by a team from Weber Thompson, the Eco-Laboratory is now featured in a short film that explains the benefits of vertical farming.
While urban farming is growing in popularity, vertical farming still is quite nascent and controversial. AlterNet recently published an article on the topic and said vertical farms won't solve the most pressing agricultural problems we face.
Eco-Laboratory uses a mock downtown Seattle block to create a mixed-use concept with farming, dwelling units, a community garden, and a neighborhood market. Indoor spaces are used to grow food within integrated systems that recycled and clean water, promote natural ventilation, and minimize solar heat gain.
Eco-Laboratory is self-sufficient — food is grown for the community, air and water is cleaned and reused, and necessary energy is generated on site.
The new film, developed with input from Dickson Despommier, an advocate of vertical farming and author of a new book on the subject, is part of the "Why Design Now" series by the Cooper-Hewitt Natural Design Museum.
Rendering credits: Weber Thompson.