Lettuce grown in indoor vertical farming system. Modern usage of the term “vertical farming” usually refers to growing plants precision farming in horticulture pdf layers, whether in a multistory skyscraper, used warehouse, or shipping container. Yeang proposes that instead of hermetically sealed mass-produced agriculture, plant life should be cultivated within open air, mixed-use skyscrapers for climate control and consumption.
This version of vertical farming is based upon personal or community use rather than the wholesale production and distribution plant life that aspires to feed an entire city. It thus requires less of an initial investment than Despommier’s “vertical farm”. However, neither Despommier nor Yeang are the conceptual originators, nor is Yeang the inventor of vertical farming in skyscrapers. He claims that the cultivation of plant life within skyscrapers will require less embodied energy and produce less pollution than some methods of producing plant life on natural landscapes.
He moreover claims that natural landscapes are too toxic for natural, agricultural production, despite the ecological and environmental costs of extracting materials to build skyscrapers for the simple purpose of agricultural production. Vertical farming according to Despommier thus discounts the value of natural landscape in exchange for the idea of “skyscraper as spaceship. Plant life is mass-produced within hermetically sealed, artificial environments that have little to do with the outside world. In this sense, they could be built anywhere regardless of the context.
The vertical farm is designed to be sustainable, and to enable nearby inhabitants to work at the farm. It promotes the mass cultivation of plant life for commercial purposes in skyscrapers. Podponics has built a large scale vertical farm in Atlanta consisting of over 100 stacked “growpods”. A similar farm is currently under construction in Oman. Critics have noted that the costs of the additional energy needed for artificial lighting, heating and other vertical farming operations would outweigh the benefit of the building’s close proximity to the areas of consumption.
The reproduced drawings feature vertically stacked homesteads set amidst a farming landscape. This proposal can be seen in Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York. SITE’s Highrise of homes, is a near revival of the 1909 Life Magazine Theorem. In fact, built examples of tower hydroponicums are quite well documented in the canonical text of “The Glass House” by John Hix. 40 years prior to contemporary discourse on the subject. Although architectural precedents remain valuable, the technological precedents that make vertical farming possible can be traced back to horticultural history through the development of greenhouse and hydroponic technology.