The United Nations estimates that the global population will grow from 7.8 billion to 9.7 billion from 2020-2050, with two-thirds of the growth occurring in urban areas. With the increase in urbanization and industrial development, productive agricultural land will continue to decrease while food demand and cost will grow.

The current food system is not sustainable, impacting our ecosystem as well as our social, economical and cultural urban structures. FOOD [flows] studio explores bringing agriculture back into the urban fabric using vertical farming models through architectural relationships and propositions. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a microcosm of reimagining the way food is grown, stored and consumed. This studio proposes an infrastructure that re-engages the city with agriculture through vertical farming in the Strip District, a one-half square mile area along the Allegheny River, minutes from downtown- once home to factories and mills with food wholesalers to meet the demands of shift workers, now favored spot by tech and robotics companies and a growing residential population. The studio proposes a collaboration between a local food bank and an agricultural tech company founded by university researchers working together to create a food safety net. The studio explores spatial configurations for food production and research through vertical farming methods, food storage and distribution, considering how architectural propositions can change the narrative of food inequality and insecurity in the urban environment.

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Max Coolidge

Diana Huang




This vertical farm, located in the heart of Pittsburgh, serves as both a food bank for the city and a collective living + farming structure.

Issues about food has always been a political one. By the use of technology, this architecture proposal aims to introduce the experience of farming into the urban space in a sustainable way.

Imagining a place where people get along with food as living plants, a place where people farm collectively in the urban center in exchange of food and housing resources. This proposal rethought the relationship between food and human, body and labor. It attempts to challenge the existing capitalist engine and the commodification scenario. 

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