Farm Tower Offers New Sustainable Solution

San Diego Farm Tower Brandon Martella

With urban centres becoming more and more crowded as the population increases, designers are often left with few options when planning for sustainable living.

Frequently, the only real choice is to build vertically, with solutions such as vertical gardens and forests, vertical farming and vertical waste dumps becoming the norm. Designed to boost sustainability in areas where space is at a premium, these solutions help cities make optimal use of their own resources and reduce reliance on outside power grids and other sources.

With his concept for the San Diego Farm Tower, designer Brandon Martella is taking things a step further. A far cry from the typical image of a farm, Martella’s design turns the idea into a more holistic sustainable solution for cities.

The Farm Tower is, in fact, a skyscraper that includes living space, on-site farming and educational opportunities while fostering a sense of community on the site.

The building is built on a large, untreated poured concrete frame with a network of steel frames to keep the living and farming areas separate. The tower’s design calls for a total of 250 apartments, 150 of which measure 1,000 square feet and the remainder taking up 600 to 800 square feet.

The farm portion will take up an additional 727,295 square feet, with the food grown serving residents and those outside the Farm Tower community. A market will be set up to not only give residents a common space to meet but to draw in outside visitors and tourists. Groups will also be invited to visit the site for educational purposes.

The façade will offer protection from the elements, with an EFTE pillow surrounding the urban farm. The residential and market portions will be protected by a dual low-e exterior.

The food grown is only part of the building’s sustainable concepts. It will also make use of greywater irrigation systems to reuse waste water and water storage tanks.

With a set of design principles succinctly summed up as “live, grow, share,” the Farm Town aims to create a completely sustainable environment in densely-populated urban areas where such concepts are virtually unthinkable.

As with most sustainable concepts, a major issue lies in ensuring the target is actually achievable. With Martella having come up with a unique solution that appears as realistic as it is idealistic, buildings such as the Farm Tower could represent a new wave in sustainable building.

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