Agritecture is the century’s evolving art and culture of unanimously blending architecture and agriculture. It is defined by an absolute integration and a fresh lens to view agriculture and urban farming from an architectural perspective. Agritecture is a relatively new term but its roots travel all along with green-conscious cities and communities. It can be interlaced within the building through vertical farming that amplifies the green density and plant growth. 

Agritecture can also be found on the outside, in living walls, rooftop gardens, green staggered terraces, and more. Breath is the driving force of life. And this grey-green decoupage of agriculture melting into architecture will go a long way in turning our structures into breathing spaces. 

Planting the seed of thought

What looks like a revolutionary idea today was coined by Henry Gordon Smith who is the managing director of a company called Agritecture. This rich idea was first formulated through a blog. It was created as a platform to share and discuss the integration of agriculture to make cities a better place. 

Over time, many consultancy firms reached out and the idea touched larger cities and firms. Currently, “Agritecture “ is a company with an interdisciplinary team that has consulted over a hundred projects spread across 20 countries.

“Agritecture originally started out as a blog that aimed to discover and share new forms of urban agriculture with the world. The hope was to inspire a new generation of “agritects” that could follow and expand on these concepts. After some time of continuous research and posting, a significant group of agriculture entrepreneurs and enthusiasts emerged. Following consistent inquiries and curiosities from different parties, the idea for Agritecture the company was formed.’’ Smith answered in an interview. (Smith, H.G., 2019)

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Roofs capped in refreshing greens _©https://www.agritecture.com/blog/2018/5/7/workshop

The Big Question, Why: Green Necessities

Architecture is a wide-reaching tangible challenge that has the power to empower and embellish change. The journey of blending architecture and agriculture is an effective paradigm to offer solutions to the urban and rural farming issues. 

Ranging from the proximity of organic food production to space crunches and the state of being trapped in concrete; agritecture can be an extremely liberating experience for those looking for a life that is inclusive of greens, farming, and the opportunity to witness organic growth.

Agritecture is a revolution that stems out of a contemporary school of thought; a stimulating procedure to enhance production by instigating agriculture into urban and local architectural contexts. A multidisciplinary prototype that aims at addressing social, environmental, and climatic crises.

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Manhattan vertical farm proposal_©https://agritecture.tumblr.com/post/123125623452/newfarmnewyork-mixed-use-manhattan-vertical-farm

Agritecture Explorations

Reading through proposed inventions and explorations is a journey that will put you in reverence of any great idea; agritecture, in this context. The firm “agritecture” led by Henry Gordon Smith offers workshops to a versatile group of professionals such as farmers, architects, business analysts, urban planners, entrepreneurs, etc. 

This workshop is held in multiple cities across the united states of America and organizes a competition as a concluding chapter to the workshop; an attempt to gauge agritecture proposals. This movement is a stirring initiative that gives birth to stunning ideas to incorporate urban farming and agriculture.

Apart from these efforts, multiple architectural firms have been indulging in research to provide path-breaking controlled built environments that are feasible to nurture agriculture.

Let us look at a few examples to attain a depth of understanding.

1. The Cell by Ar.Mahmoud Abdelwahab and Ar. Marko Blazic

The Cell is a potential structure that strives to achieve a significant shift from being consumers to becoming producers. It is a concept that defines architecture as a dual definition, as a home and a space engulfed in food production. It has been designed with the sole purpose to cover 50-80% of the space with the user’s vegetation requirement.  

It is composed of a building envelope curating a living facade membrane whilst offering an energy-efficient way to practice urban farming. The project proposal was named “The Cell” referring to the building envelope as a living overlay.

What is Agritecture? - Sheet3
Plant hosting octagonal facade, The cell_©https://futurearchitectureplatform.org/projects/2b2c35a3-091c-46d9-b6e7-a494f49e0f97/
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Interior visualization of The Cell_©https://futurearchitectureplatform.org/projects/2b2c35a3-091c-46d9-b6e7-a494f49e0f97/

2. Vertical Harvest

Vertical Harvest is a dedicated company that is on a journey to create a solution dipped ground that combines affordable housing and vertical farms. Within each building, the first level will offer a space for the community to congregate, the second allotted for the greenhouse, third, and fourth floors that sum up to 70,000 square feet enabling the production of around a million pounds of produce a year. 

It aims at several challenges such as providing secure job opportunities, access to healthy food, building resilient communities, and providing safe housing that blurs all lines of inequity.

What is Agritecture? - Sheet5
Building communities through Agritecture_©https://verticalharvestfarms.com/about-us/

The Power of Unifying Disciplines

There is a massive competence in a space where two disciplines marry. The union of two distinct ideologies with an unwavering dream of drawing change is a potential beauty that is unmatched. Agritecture, the amalgamation of agriculture and architecture is a viable urban farming solution to solve the world’s most pressing issues such as food security challenges, climate crisis, and lack of energy efficiency. 

Agritecture is a sacred practice of creating better-built environments whilst deciphering the context of the world’s conundrums and arriving at solutions that are beyond the defined boundaries of a site.

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Agritecture inside a built habitat_©https://www.eater.com/2018/7/3/17531192/vertical-farming-agriculture-hydroponic-greens

References

1.Smith, H.G. (2019). AGRITECTURE HAS BECOME A GLOBAL PHENOMENON: AN INTERVIEW WITH HENRY GORDON-SMITH. [online] . 28 Oct. Available at: https://www.agritecture.com/blog/2019/10/31/agritecture-has-become-a-global-phenomenon-an-interview-with-henry-gordon-smith [Accessed 6 May 2021].

2.https://www.agritecture.com/ (2018). DESIGNING AGRITECTURE INTO CITIES: RESULTS FROM THE VANCOUVER AGRITECTURE WORKSHOP. Available at: https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/59765fd317bffcafaf5ff75c/1525804596803-AIQCH7N30FH9QC0V5C9S/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kFWxnDtCdRm2WA9rXcwtIYR7gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z5QPOohDIaIeljMHgDF5CVlOqpeNLcJ80NK65_fV7S1UcTSrQkGwCGRqSxozz07hWZrYGYYH8sg4qn8Lpf9k1pYMHPsat2_S1jaQY3SwdyaXg/green+roof+agritecture.jpg?format=1500w [Accessed 6 May 2021].

3.https://agritecture.tumblr.com/ (2016). NEWFARM/NEWYORK: MIXED-USE MANHATTAN VERTICAL FARM. Available at: https://agritecture.tumblr.com/post/123125623452/newfarmnewyork-mixed-use-manhattan-vertical-farm [Accessed 6 May 2021].

4.https://futurearchitectureplatform.org/ (2017). Agritecture Re-framing the concept of urban living : from consumer to producer. Available at: https://futurearchitectureplatform.org/media/cache/cc/d2/ccd23c63fbacd96f3bbc979e38e7d2c5.jpg [Accessed 6 May 2021].

5.https://futurearchitectureplatform.org/ (2017). An architecture that gives back more than it takes, that defines home as both shelter AND food. Available at: https://futurearchitectureplatform.org/media/cache/0e/7c/0e7cfc1be7bccbb0917a49b0a585bbdf.jpg [Accessed 6 May 2021].

6.https://verticalharvestfarms.com/ (2021). THESE BUILDINGS COMBINE AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND VERTICAL FARMING. Available at: https://www.agritecture.com/blog/2021/2/18/these-buildings-combine-affordable-housing-and-vertical-farming [Accessed 6 May 2021].

7.https://www.eater.com/ (2018). Indoor, LED-lit growing operations produce food without soil or sunlight — but scaling up could prove difficult. Available at: https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/q7rta9Xq01v8GotdtNuSpe1tRHY=/1400×1400/filters:format(jpeg)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/11636815/verticalfarmingplenty.jpg [Accessed 6 May 2021].

Vajjrashri Anand
Author

Vajjrashri Anand is an architecture student who reads places and people like a story worth being told. She believes architecture is a lot like life; made of wonder, beauty and hurt. She strives to constantly evolve. A nuisance, a delight. A sting, a smile. She's a soul hugging one word at a time.

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