Increasing urbanisation and strong population growth with increasingly higher demand on fresh and high-quality food - produced environmentally friendly and in a sustainable manner - requires new solutions regarding crop cultivation and a strong programmatic densification of urban areas. One of these solutions is a resilient and liveable urban design through intensification in urban vertical food production. Strong reductions in land consumption for urban food production and an increase in the overall energy efficiency of cities have to be achieved.
For this purpose, the Institute for Buildings and Energy, Graz University of Technology together with the vertical farm institute in Vienna has set up a multidisciplinary consortium partnership with the Department of Crop Science, Division of Vegetables and Ornamentals at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna and SIEMENS as the industrial partner.
This exploratory study is defined as the preparation for a prototypical Vertical Farm in Vienna. The main research goal is to unveil the principles which are essential to develop a Vertical Farm within an urban context beyond a cooperative R&D-project. Investigations within this project are touching all crucial influencing parameters in plant physiology as well as typological questions which are related to architectural questions. Climatic conditions, conceptual investigations in building services as well as communication technology and control engineering make part of this exploratory research project.
Based on a crop catalogue which will be developed for this project, cultivation methods and growing conditions get elaborated and translated as required indoor climate conditions, serving the simulation software so that the energy performance of the Vertical Farm can be evaluated. Based on the crop needs, basic typological parameters get developed and evaluated. The building form with the most promising potentials sequentially gets developed and more deeply investigated on energy consumption.
The building concept will be sketched by requirements such as construction, fire safety, building physics, energy performance and building services. A concept for building services will be developed based on heating and cooling supply, ventilation, lighting, power supply, elevator technology, sanitary devices, communication technology and control engineering.
These determining data and numbers enable to reveal the possibility to quantify the potential of Vertical Farming, in particular regarding its increase of efficiency in use of natural resources. Sustainability aspects related to ecology, economy and sociology will be outlined.
Institute for Buildings and Energy, Graz University of Technology
Mag.arch.Dr.techn. Daniel Podmirseg