Feix and Merlin Architects Prize 2021 Nominee
Chalk Architecture Award 2021 Nominee
Architects Journal (AJ) Prize 2021 Nominee
SoyScape Vertical Farm aims to tackle the problems associated with the way we currently source our food by utilising existing technology enabling its growth and production to be moved into the city. The design will simultaneously reduce food miles whilst allowing people to reconnect with both nature and the journey of their food.
What if the journey of our food could be reduced from thousands of miles to just a few hundred metres?
80% of the UK’s food is imported in order to ensure variety along with a constant supply of all kinds of food. Imported food results in thousands of food miles and carbon emissions being associated with our meals whilst traditional farming methods in agriculture accounts for 70% of water usage worldwide. Vertical farming can tackle these issues by enabling growing conditions to be controlled, using 95% less water than traditional farming and by taking up 99% less space, allowing such a farm to be placed close to or within the city.
SoyScape brings the growth of soy and production of soy products into the city in an effort to reduce the food miles and carbon emissions associated with them. Soy is responsible for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions that are a result of deforestation in Brazil with the other 71% due to cattle ranching. Soybeans can travel thousands of miles before they are processed, packaged and sold in the UK meaning that having tofu once or twice a week can add 12kg of CO2 to a person’s annual greenhouse gas emissions – the same as driving a car 32 miles.
A winding ramp extends up through the centre in order to encourage London residents and tourists to reconnect with the journey of their food. It weaves in and out of the vertical farm components and allows visitors to move between the public areas, including cafés, shops and workspaces, whilst having a continual view of the processes taking place around them.
Publicly accessible green spaces in London are widely available apart from in the City of London square mile where there is no metropolitan open land. Green spaces are said to have a positive impact on the well-being and work ethic of people working in offices, therefore providing such spaces to an area so densely populated with offices seems only logical. Reconnecting the City of London with nature occurs through both the provision of outdoor and indoor gardens scattered throughout the high rise and the soybean farm that can be observed from all publicly accessible areas of the building.