High-Rise Apartments with Integrated Greenhouses

A design for an apartment building with its own integrated greenhouse has netted a team headed by two Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning lecturers top honors in an international sustainable building design competition.

Tagit Klimor and David Knafo's high-rise apartment complex includes greenhouse spaces that enable a family of four to grow a variety of vegetables for their own consumption with enough left over to generate additional income. The design was chosen as the winner of the Second Annual Living Steel International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Design.

The team's design will be used to construct a building in Wuhan, China. Chinese officials say it will be a prototype for buildings in additional neighborhoods. Groundbreaking on the new building is expected to begin in early 2008.

Each apartment has its own trellised greenhouse space measuring approximately 100 square feet. These climate-controlled areas - designed in consultation with internationally recognized Tel Aviv-based irrigation firm Netafim - will employ a system that utilizes soilless growing media (such as coconut, peat and other organic mixtures), a liquid fertilization system and an advanced drip irrigation system. The irrigation system will use water recycled from the apartment units and rainwater harvested on the building's rooftop. The building will also feature solar heating and cooling systems and a geothermal system.

"The project constitutes a revolution in the existing social and urban order," said Knafo. "Among its advantages are significant savings in energy, providing fresh, pesticide-free organic food, freeing agricultural land for forests, which contribute to the environment, preventing soil pollution by pesticides, and intelligent use of recycled water for irrigation."

Tagit Klimor and David Knafo are the principals of Knafo Klimor, and architectural and town planning firm with offices in Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel. The results of the design competition were announced in Brussels, Belgium on September 17th.

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