Linked by Michael Levenston
Integration of urban farming within the future city
Student project by Jack O’Reilly
graduate Ba(Hons) Architecture from the University of Manchester
“My project tried to push the boundaries of the hybrid building by combining an urban farm with a television studio as an attempt at broadcasting the need for sustainability both physically and in the media.”
The programme proposed provides for the sustainable Manchester. It is centred around food cultures and media networks. Sustainability can be improved by the production of food in urban spaces, sourcing local foods and selling the produce of local farmers.
In essence sustainability cannot survive without promotion, promoted mainly through current media outputs. Therefore Manchester requires a scheme that produces its own food and has the capabilities to promote this action through media, such as TV broadcasts.
This program is known as: URBAN F.@.M.I.N (Urban farming and media interactive networks). Vegetables and fruit are grown hydroponically using water from the canal, which mainly serves as a transport route. The crop produced is sold back to Manchester reducing the cities reliance on importing foreign goods and generates an income to sustain the project. The crop is used in the restaurant, which in turn promotes the urban farming and sustainability to the user.
To reach the widest possible audience a TV studio is integrated which produces programmes based around food cultures and sustainability. One of the key points of the scheme is to teach people about sustainable approaches to living. An exhibition space with a ‘hands on learning experience’ allows people of all ages to learn about possible new technologies for the ‘future city’ before seeing them in use on either the farm or TV studio.
The strength of Jack O’Reilly’s project lies in the success with which it assembles a convincing and sophisticated hybrid urban model that responds to a real, contemporary urban context. This was built upon the platform of rigorous data lead investigations central from the outset of the unit.
The project fuses elements of programme as disparate as industrial farming processes and glamorous media production, demonstrating how the information age and coincident climate change presents an opportunity to evolve traditionally accepted modes of urban living.
The variation in programme across the scheme is articulated in the language of the architecture and its relationships with immediate site context. The functional infrastructure of mechanical, industrial food production becomes digital media communications with appropriately iconic visual forms that function as part of the regenerative role of the scheme, rather than a purely wilful gesture.
Our unit this year explored the notion of an emergent urbanism that exploits contingency and redundancy within the post industrial landscape, providing sustainable solutions to urban problems through data driven design processes and integrated computational design methodologies.
Jack’s project exemplifies this approach and is also conceptually sophisticated, has a high degree of technical resolution and is beautifully presented and illustrated.