︎︎︎GEORGIA HUNT


As we find ourselves yet again working from home during an on-going pandemic, vast amounts of centrally located office space is being left vacant and under-utilised. This space has the potential to house high volumes of agricultural production systems to feed a growing population and cut back on transportation, water use and land use, while providing much needed education on food sources and responsible consumption.

During
this semester we were asked to research the process behind electricity production and consumption in Victoria. I discovered that this system is in fact far more complicated than it seems, with numerous external parties involved in the buying and selling of power, and the transportation of electricity across vast distances. Similarly, food production and consumption in Victoria follows a complicated process of imports and exports, long distance travel and environmental damage caused by agricultural processes paired with a lack of knowledge among consumers of the origin of most of the produce they consume.

This project proposes a high-density, low water reliance aeroponic system for urban farming of fruit and vegetables, capitalising on under-utilised office space. Aeroponics uses a misting system to grow plants in a soil-less environment and uses 98% less water than standard agricultural industry practice. Furthermore, Aeroponics produces comparable yields to standard agricultural practice, with research showing that a crop like tomatoes allows 7.7 crop turn arounds per year when using aeroponics, compared to 3.5 using standard agricultural practices.

Similarly to the idea of the virtual power plant, the decentralisation and dispersion of food production provides an adaptable alternative to cur-rent methods of farming in order to reduce its environmental and economic implications. A system of aeroponic growing modules in combination with a large-scale water catchment system and solar panels are inserted into an existing post and beam office structure. Plants are grown using a combina-tion of natural and LED lighting, making the concept transferrable to different high-density locations.

The foundations of this concept were established during a group task to insert a previously established and researched anerobic and microbial fuel cell energy production system into an existing office structure. Bella and
I designed a stacked, greenhouse-like aeroponic module that inserted into the existing façade system of the office structure. Plant and food waste was composted in an industrial scale anerobic digestor to feed back into a closed loop system that uses the by-products of this process to produce energy. This system was publicly visible through a framed window that is embedded into the façade of the building, engaging and educating the general public of the processes behind energy production and consumption.

Located on the site of the pre-existing Corkman’s Irish Pub in Carlton. Instead, this project proposes the idea a pre-existing 8 storey office structure. The office has been stripped back to its post and beam structure, which has been retained to act as a host for the insertion of aeroponic modules. .The structure is oriented to face the north, maximising solar ex-posure. The modules have been tiered to maximise the surface area accessed by the sun, helping to minimise reliance on power to run LED lighting, and maximising the potential for stored energy using solar panels. This modular design system allows for the addition and subtraction of aeroponic modules, depending on seasonal crop rotation, maintenance and supply and demand.