‘through the process of scale enlargement, and the automation of activities, the harbor of rotterdam shifts to the west of the city, and the border between harbor and city shifts accordingly,’ explains goldsmith. ‘consequently, the decline of traditional trade activities make room for residential – and other urban developments. the harbor economy with its corresponding trading dynamics is disappearing from the basins; the original contrast between the relatively calm residential landscape and the lively center point for trade is revolving 180 degrees; the basins of the merwehaven threaten to become open and empty spaces in a densifying urban landscape of the merwe-vierhaven (m4h) area. with the floating farm dairy these beautiful, but slowly orphaned spaces, find meaning in a rapidly changing environment through the introduction of urban farming.’
the floating farm is designed as a compact, stacked structure, with all heavy structural and technical components submerged underwater, and all significant and transparent functions situated on a lightweight structure on top. the result is a three-layered façade ranging from concrete, to translucent polycarbonate, to entirely open, depending on the demands of each compartment. three connected concrete pontoons house the production of fruit (ingredients for yogurt), rain, wastewater recycling, and additional installations, while the upper factory floor incorporates the milk and yogurt processing, the feeding system, manure handling and retail.
on top of the floating structure, goldsmith has designed a covered garden that houses approximately 40 cows, supported by a manure cleaning robot and a milking robot, along with various elements regarding animal welfare, such as the centrally placed ‘green columns’ that ensure cooling. ingredients for the feeding of the cows are sourced via urban waste such as brewers grains, potato scraps and grass clippings from the feyenoord football stadium, adding to the city’s recycling and constituting a fairly efficient form of food production.
the cantilevering floors and roof articulate the multi-level agricultural hub’s architecture, while two galleries around the cow garden – vertically connected via two steel bridges – string together various evocative spaces to make an educational route. along this route visitors can gain insight on all activities in the farm. feeding fences around the cow garden and glass walls around the dairy processing facilitate the sensory experience of visitors and underline the transparent character of the farm.
client/initiator: floating farm holding BV
gross built area: 2000 m2
location: merwehaven, rotterdam, the netherlands
jul 24, 2019
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