Futures+ is starting off the week with another submission from RPI. This post features a project in which Monica Oum considers the notion of integrating the idea of the skyscraper with aspects of farming to create a highly condensed urban farm. With urban farming the goal is to allow large urban areas to remain self sufficient, in terms of food production, without the use of large areas of rural farmland. By picking an operative diagram, Monica was able to use parametric design to develop her formal strategy for developing everything from structure to individual modules to overall circulation.
STUDENT : Monika Oum
SCHOOL : Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
CLASS : Architectural Design 6, Spring 2010
PROFESSOR : Sulan Kolatan
PROGRAMS USED : Rhinoceros, V-Ray Render, Adobe CS4
The brief for this studio required students to investigate the implications of modular thinking and minimal surfaces in the design of a vertical [and urban] food production facility. Dr. Dickson Despommier’s discourse on “The Vertical Farm” was recommended as a programmatic framework and hydroponic planting systems were preferred over traditional soil-farming.
Explorations in parametric modeling were encouraged. I chose to work with the helicoid for my project. Modeling it from scratch in Rhinoceros was helpful in learning about and understanding the fundamental nature of the surface’s curvature and how to manipulate and control it.
A look at the helicoid in it's basic form.
Investigation into manipulating the helicoid's topology.
The helicoid ended up being the governing diagram of the project, influencing not only the overall architectural form, but also subsystems in and around the building.
The project module
Building systems derived from the module
Variations on the module.
It was also suggested that students consider taking an extreme and polemical position by making their designs hyper-efficient, optimizing them fully for the purpose of farming produce and livestock and keeping human inhabitation to a bare minimum or even deliberately disregarding it completely.
You can check out these relate links if you’re interested. They are for Minimal Surfaces and the Vertical Farm, which both played a major part in Monica’s project.