Clepsydra Building Concept Houses Urban Farms
We've seen vertical farming concepts before, but the Clepsydra merges an entirely new building type with an urban greenhouse. We know the benefits of vertical farms include the ability to produce great amounts of food in a small land area.
Also the food is closest to the people who eat it, minimizing the need for transportation, refrigeration, packaging and other energy-intensive activities. Bruno Vigano and Florencia Costa have designed the Clepsydra with these thoughts in mind, and created what they call an accessory building, which can be added to existing structures.
This suits many urban landscapes, and can feed the residents of an adjacent building while freshening the air supply within the structure with oxygen from photosynthesis. Grey waste water from the vertical farming facility as well as excess heat can be recycled and used in the plumbing and heating of the attached building, lessening the need for outside utilities.
Year round growing means one 1500 square foot Clepsydra would produce the equivalent of 6 acres of farmland depending on the crop. When it comes to tomatoes, for example, the building could produce 40 tons per year.
The building itself is designed to be modular and easily constructable in many configurations. A prefabricated frame built with steel rods reduces welding and enables quick assembly, maintenance and deconstruction. The exterior enclosure is a transparent structural plastic membrane known as ETFE. This would presumably trap heat and allow light to filter into the plants.
Soon these vertical farming concepts will have to be put into practice as the food demands of higher population areas must be met. Problems with the sustainability of conventional agriculture will need to be solved and the Clepsydra is one interesting solution