SOA Architects Paris SOA Architects Paris


Tridi Farm

Prospective research studies on urban farming (2006 - 2012)


A large-scale intensive production farm growing a linear network of crops on a three-dimensional structure

Concept for the city of Paris

1 600 sqm

300 m

Fruits & vegetables

The Tridi Farm is a large-scale intensive production farm. Its 1600 m2 footprint and construction mode enable its construction to a height of 300 m. Its particularity is that it does away with floors and directly links its arable surface to its structure to optimise sunlight. The Tridi Farm is therefore a technical structure that excludes cultivation in soil, and its absence of floors requires the invention of a system of transport within it. Conceived as an object allowing light to penetrate throughout, the Tridi Farm enables combinations of different varieties of fruit and vegetables depending on their light needs.

Imagined as a structure optimised for plant growth, the Tridi Farm deploys a net of variable density allowing light to penetrate, a cross between trelliswork and the agricultural furrow. The plan and section are indistinguishable since they can only be read three-dimensionally. Only its edges and junctions are exploited but one could imagine the formation of horizontal planes extending from the planes of the polyhedrons.

The Tridi Farm creates an infinite labyrinthine network whose only limits are its agricultural constraints and the need for sunlight throughout. The space generated by its structure, almost unusable by man, is a regular geometric figure that reproduces the random development of plant structures in nature on all scales, like the ramifications of branches and leaves and the juxtapositions and superimpositions of the forest canopies and floor. Here, structure, ramifications, circulation of vital fluids and the quest for light are one and the same thing.

Unlike the Living Tower, the Tridi model is a modular assembly system, since its search for light generates very sculptural forms. Another vector of its morphological development is the dimensions and needs of cultivated plants.

The Tridi Farm’s construction is economical and efficient in materials and spans. Its immense trellis evokes the simple triangulated constructive systems habitually used for wide-span structures and industrial buildings, whilst its volumetry expresses the generic image of an office or residential tower.

The building’s repetitive and entirely uniform assembly principle makes it easy to construct. Its transparent envelope provides multiple assembly points and therefore limits large-dimensioned components. Its three-dimensional structure is wind-resistant.

Its extremely robust three-dimensional network can be regularly interrupted to create vertical and horizontal circulations.

The Tridi Farm’s implantation logic is contradictory. Its generic form enables its construction amidst other towers, but its need for 360° sunlight precludes all cast shadows. Its integration is thus constrained by the surrounding free space it requires. It can be implanted anywhere where the heliodon indicates constant sunlight. Nestling in the city’s voids and interstices, the Tridi Farm grows upwards towards the light, creating a form of growth between nature and the screen of surrounding buildings.

Although it has the form of a traditional building, the Tridi Farm’s implantation logic is closer to that of the monument than that of a technological construction: its status as a unique object radically limits it capacity to replicate itself in the urban fabric.

This very large-scale edifice, whose interior is entirely invaded by plants creates a totally new type of plant landscape. The absence of floors and concealment of its structure by plant growth evokes imaginary visions of hanging gardens and Utopian green cities.

The spatial logic of this farm suggests that it is destined for a mechanised harvesting system and therefore would generate little employment.

But on the other hand it can it can be given roles that complement agricultural production. This system could easily accommodate species that would pollinate the rest of the city, provide a home for auxiliary insects, and grow ancient plant varieties and new ones under test. In this more experimental role, the Tridi Farm would be aimed more at agronomists using it as a laboratory and the public contemplating it.

Ultimately, because it seeks the logic of an organic structure, the human dimension in terms both of scale and space practically disappears. Thus, although the Tridi Farm creates an image of a vegetable landscape, it enables few interactions between people and agriculture. From an urban point of view, either it imitates the image of a typical building (house, tower, building), or it develops rather like a parasite growing in voids and clinging to neighbouring buildings. Paradoxically, its logic allows little scope for conception.