Hydroponic Wine Bottle Wall Garden at Student Bar
April 11, 2013 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
Conceived as part wine rack and part hydroponics, a hydroponic bottle wall garden will spout from April 7-24 in the lower bar of a local Cornell University campus area venue, Stella’s Bar and Restaurant.
Architecture students Peter Gudonis and Carly Dean, recipients of a Cornell Council of the Arts Grant, in collaboration with Nicholas Cassab-Gheta, are designing and installing the wall, which is conceptually derived from the students’s interest in urban agriculture and in architecture that incorporates green spaces, green roofs, growing facades, hydroponics, aeroponics and other productive technologies.
Using all locally sourced and recycled materials, the hydroponic bottle wall fuses furniture design with current innovative technologies associated with urban agriculture. The bottle garden offers a microcosmic view of the growing trend for incorporating agriculturally productive systems into urban areas and buildings as well as an aesthetically pleasing and gastronomically productive addition to a local student watering hole.
Viewed in a larger conceptual context, the hydroponic bottle wall demonstrates how design has the potential for helping to improve the urban food-crisis, addressing food deserts, high food miles, and the limited access that many urban dwellers have to affordable healthy, organic, and local produce. With their hydroponic bottle wall, the students are analyzing the technologies available for the production of a self-sufficient, closed-loop agricultural system and demonstrating the potential for small-scale interventions to improve the global food-crisis.
Constructed off-site, the double-sided wall has a hydroponic growing system on one side which is exposed to the Downbar of Stella’s restaurant.
The 8’ by 6’ structure is composed of an undulating plywood surface containing openings for the necks of empty red recycled wine bottles (the growing containers), clay pellets (the soil replacement), a dual valve air pump and tubing (to increase water pressure and irrigate the bottles), plant nutrients, and a digital ballast grow lamp.
The wall’s 24 bottles will be used to grow mint and basil used in drinks served at the bar, while the grow lights will be the main aesthetic feature, doubling as a light installation in the dimly lit bar. Long term, Gudonis and Dean hope to inspire Ithica area students, families and restaurants to build their own hydroponics systems “and spread the grow-local mantra.”
The hydroponic bottle wall garden will be take residence at Stella’s from April 7-24 and on Wednesday, April 24 at 5PM, Columbia University professor Dr. Dickson Despommier, author of The Vertical Farm, will lecture on the potential of vertical farming in architecture to battle the global-food crisis. The lecture will be followed by a reception at Stella’s Bar with hors d’oeuvres and drinks fused with sample hydroponic plants!