Sasaki Installs Vertical Hydroponic Farm in Shanghai

The architecture firm Sasaki has designed a hydroponic vertical farm for the city of Shanghai’s Sunqiao Urban Agricultural District, located between Shanghai’s main international airport and the city center. The vertical system is intended to offer a space-saving and economical alternative to provide food for the city – and will primarily grow such local staples as leafy greens. It is designed as a series of of looped rails arranged side by side in the greenhouse which will rotate to offer distribution of natural light. Rainwater will be collected and used to grow the plants hydroponically, and nutrients will be gathered from the waste of fish farms in the aquaponics room.

“Shanghai is the ideal context for vertical farming,” said Sasaki. “Like many global cities, land prices are high, which makes building up rather than out the economically prudent choice. Even more significant is the Shanghainese diet, which typically consists of up to 56 percent leafy greens [that] are also an excellent choice for hydroponic and aquaponics growing systems.

“They thrive in the simplest of setups, and don’t need a lot of extra attention. They grow quickly and weigh little, both of which make them an economical and efficient option.”

The complex will also include a science museum, waterfront fitness trail, plaza, digital amphitheater and educational facilities.

“While one goal is to position Shanghai as a leader in urban food production, Sunqiao is more than simply creating vertical food factories,” the studio explained. “Providing a robust public realm that merges indoor and outdoor agricultural experiences, the Sunqiao experiment presents a new idea for urban life by celebrating food production as one of the most important functions of a city.”