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The Urban Agriculture Curtain (2009)
Urban food growing is mostly associated with outdoor, large-scale activities, be it widely pursued allotment gardening or more commercial and spatially planned urban agriculture concepts.

This installation proposes a complimentary option to the above: the vertical, indoor growing of fresh vegetables. Apart from suggesting a new way of furnishing an office, coffee shop or flat, the growing field is four times as space-efficient as its horizontal equivalent. The fresh produce grows year-round, ready to be eaten off the plant.
Mediating inside and outside, the hydroponic system hangs like a curtain close to a well-lit opening.
The installation was commissioned by The Building Centre in London for the UK's first urban agriculture exhibition London Yields: Urban Agriculture. The premise underlying the show was to highlight a shifting understanding in urban design from 'cities as consumers of food' to 'cities as food producers'.
At a time, when urban agriculture just started to emerge as a theme worldwide, the installation visualised its spatial consequences for urban design and architecture and tested the practicalities of urban food production.
The 'curtain' installed at The Building Centre in London is made entirely from off-the-shelf components, so it can easily be replicated.
In this high-yield and low-maintenance system of hydroponics, eight planting trays are hung on an off-the-shelf cable system and connected by pipe to a nutrient-rich water supply. The produce from The Urban Agriculture Curtain is harvested every two weeks (at which point the trays will be restocked with new seedlings) and used in the Building Centre's Cafe. At the end of the exhibition time, the plants will be freely distributed on a first come, first served basis.
This vertical food growing installation functions as a closed-loop system.

location: London, Great Britain
dates: 2009
client: The Building Centre London
funding: The Building Centre London

B&V team: Katrin Bohn, André Viljoen with Marcel Croxson, Jack Wates

collaborators: Stefan Jordan, Hadlow Agricultural College / students of Hadlow Agricultural College, Great Britain
supporters: Jackson Hunt, The Bulding Centre London, Great Britain

writings about the project in the journal Nature (2009) and in the book Spatial Agency: Other ways of doing architecture (2011)