Will Paris Go Bananas for This Urban Vertical Plantation?

August 10, 2012 by

Urbanana is a cool urban vertical banana plantation concept dreamed up by creative minds at The Agricultural Urbanism Lab, part of the Parisian firm SOA Architects, as a means of redefining and invigorating urban agriculture in cities like Paris. Even if the project never materializes, it has already been successful for the name alone.

Contained within a medium-sized glass enclosed Parisian commercial building, the mini vertical farm would also function as a sort of urban botanical garden or vertical park.

Although the primary function of the building’s highly mechanized design would be to promote and develop agricultural urbanism, it would also create an interesting visual focal point on the street. It’s glass facade would allow natural light to permeate the farm, and with a bit of additional artificial lighting, would create optimal conditions for banana cultivation. Agricultural production would occupy the equivalent of six floors and employ a chain rotation system accessed by internal bridges.

The urban plantation’s ground floor would include a public exhibition area as well as a research laboratory.

But why bananas? The designers felt that bananas were becoming more of a luxury fruit, becoming expensive in the European market due to transport costs and ripening constraints. As bananas are in demand not just as a food, but also for use in the production of cosmetics, Urbanana could in theory introduce a method of significantly reducing greenhouse emissions and therefore make a real impact the economy.

In addition to providing Parisians with a favorite locally grown fruit, Urbanana’s glass enclosed vertical plantation would fit beautifully into the urban landscape, nestled between residential buildings where against the backdrop of steel and cement, it would afford striking views of an interior of vertically climbing tropical fruit trees.

Does this project ap-peel to you? Please let us know by commenting below!

About The Agricultural Urbanism Lab
The Agricultural Urbanism Lab is a platform for reflection and exchanges aimed at promoting and developing agricultural urbanism, and defines itself as a collaborative structure bringing together its members’ competences and efforts for innovative projects.

  • tamra

    I think this is beautiful and can’t wait to see more of these fantastic innovations.

  • http://www.veryediblegardens.com Adam

    Sure it looks lovely rendered up like that, which almost makes it dangerous because this kind of thing would be totally counterproductive to any ecological footprint reduction and urban resilience, if that were part of the goal. Seriously, artificial light? You aren’t screwing around when you try to match the intensity of the sun. And the building infrastructure? There’s no way that’s going to be a good equation. I both run a business and do community work directly concerned with growing more food in the city. There’s a lot of need for innovation but most of ways forward are in the end quite simple, low cost and low embodied energy. Most are not especially cool, they are in some ways kind of daggy. We probably just need to accept that. I wish it wasn’t so, but most attempts to combine urban agriculture with chic especially by architects seem to me to really misfire.

  • http://www.a1delhiflowers.com Delhi Flowers

    Younger leaves tend to be more bitter than older leaves. The weather may well have something to do with it, as could your soil. It’s hard to tell, but for any bitter leaves I tend to soak in very salty water for half an hour, rinse several times and then cook. This tends to temper the bitterness.

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  • Harmony

    I like the general idea, but the cost of artificial lights and winter heat will likely outweigh the cost of importing bananas. It might make more sense to go with seasonal crops that can get by with natural light and let it go dormant in winter.

  • Yarrow

    Adam, you’re right, of course, but it can’t be any fun to be a killjoy (smile). Get with this spirit! How about a roof made of solar magnifiers, to add a little oomph to sunlight… Add in a few school programs, particularly for children who might never otherwise get to see a banana grow. Use ‘waste’ heat from a tri-generation unit, or similar…
    Of course, this will never be the way to solve our food problems, but a way to get attention, sure! Now what couldn’t we do with that attention?

  • Joe

    Adam, there are significant innovations, especially in space programs, that make power usage negligible. In the case of lighting, LED grow lamps are very low power, using the sunlight spectrum. Did you know the Curiosity uses as much power as a smart phone? Big possibilities are out there.

    http://news.techeye.net/science/curiosity-uses-latest-power-management-techniques

  • Jim

    I have looked into a project like this but on a smaller scale – there is a firm growing bananas in the UK in Lancashire with minimal heat during winter and they get fruit once every two years. The canaries produce fruit roughly every 12 to 14 months whereas commercial crops in the tropics produce fruit every 9 months.
    I would love to see this project as it sounds fantastic – however growing in small pots would not be ideal – hydroponics is probably the answer and getting the right amount of nutrients and water is paramount. Being indoors and away from other plants would eliminate all diseases such as sigatoka/nematodes etc so healthy plants could be maintained – Dwarf Cavendish would probably be the best choice – I wish this project all the best.

  • http://www.a1gurgaonflowers.com gurgaon flowers

    My dear, I love the post, but the photo of you with cell phone is a keeper! If that doesn’t say, “I love plants!” I am not sure what does? Soapwort~I’ve seen it’s thuggish ways in a friend’s garden~She can’t seem to get rid of it!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kiven.white Kiven White

    I love these plants! They look green and healthy.goodreads

  • Eric

    Mr Banana expert, I have a lady friend called Tina who is also very much a banana expert, she asks me in your opinion what makes the “perfect banana”??

  • Leona Schwartzenberger

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