Award Winning Design | Seattle’s Off-the-Grid Vertical Farm

vertical farm seatle 01 Award Winning Design | Seattle’s Off the Grid Vertical Farm

We all know the importance of vertical urban agriculture, but here’s one of the coolest designs I’ve seen yet. Whether or not it holds the key to the future is another matter.

Seattle-based Mithūn Architects recently won the best of show prize at the Cascadia Region Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge for their slick and conceptually functional high-rise urban farm. The competition challenges architects, engineers and designers to rethink and enhance the current trends in sustainable architecture and create buildings that can survive, like a living organism, by utilizing the environment.

Located in downtown Seattle, Mithūn’s winning Center for Urban Agriculture is a “fully self-sufficient” structure (fine print: in terms of its energy and water) that integrates farming and housing into the same appealingly livable design. Requiring a whopping .72 (point seventy-two) acres of land, the site features 318 apartments (including studios, one-bedrooms and twos), rooftop rainwater collection, solar PV cells (with hydrogen backup), fields for growing food, a chicken farm and a restaurant that uses site-grown food.

vertical farm seatle 02 Award Winning Design | Seattle’s Off the Grid Vertical Farm Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

The latest add-on to lure buyers of high-end condos? Trees.

It’s not quite Central Park, with its 26,000 trees and 136 acres of woodland, but a 0.8-acre mini “floating forest” of 101 pines will add a dash of green to New York City.

The urban wood isn’t a new public space, but a real estate marketing tactic. It’s being used to sell a new downtown condo at 101 Warren Street in trendy Tribeca–and even in a slowing market, it see.

By the time the building opens at the end of 2007, the 30-foot-tall trees will be set on mounds of soil next to a meandering path five floors above street level, on the roof of a Whole Foods (nasdaq: WFMI – news – people ) store. A 30-story limestone and glass condo tower designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill will rise behind the trees.

The bottom line: The forest added $3 million to the cost of a $600 million project. That’s the price of the cheapest three-bedroom condo in the building (prices range from $1.2 million to $16 million). The payoff: Out of the 228 units up for sale at 101 Warren, 112 sold in the first eight weeks.

101 Warren is one of several condo projects across the country that mark the–ahem–greening of rooftops in residential developments. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

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