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Floating Fields 蛇口浮田
Da Cheng Flour Factory, Shekou, Shenzhen
Floating Fields is premised on a vision for ‘Re-Living The City’, speculating on a place-based bio-social urbanism. It aspires to an alternative, organic living based on reinvigorating post-industrial architecture by creating enjoyable public space through a productive edible landscape, at the same time reviving the roots of the polyculture ecology (multiple agri + aqua-cultures) that once defined the unique territorial landform of the Pearl River Delta. The project forms the major landscape piece for the UABB (SZ) 2016.
Floating Fields is the world’s first built demonstration of a multi-cycle productive pondscape and enjoyable public space, that integrates concepts of self-cleansing water cycle with sustainable food production. The innovative design regenerates 3,200m2 of the former Dacheng Flour Mill in Shekou for the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture UABB (SZ) 2015. Significance
The edible pondscape draws from site contexts and local traditions, reviving the water-based polyculture ecology (multiple agri + aqua-cultures) of the Pearl River Delta. The eco-water cycle design integrates floating and rooftop plots, fish, duck, silkworm, algae cultivation with filtering ponds. Aspiring to a place-based, bio-social urbanism, Floating Fields continues as a multi-disciplinary laboratory and live research node on urban food production, regenerative design and green development.
Description how the project contributes with humanity:
Floating Fields draws inspiration from the context on several levels to resuscitate the lifeless site. The presence of an existing covered waterway running diagonally through the site provided inspiration to reintroduce the aquatic theme. Running along the oblong former factory dormitory, the life-giving waterway is revitalized into a series of filtering ponds. The idea is extended around and outwards from the building’s other side, where concrete ground is broken up to form large productive ponds. Part of the concrete rubble is crushed and recycled as gravel to fill pathways between ponds. The connected ponds are themselves formed from concrete bricks, and complemented with various platforms, steps, benches, and pavilions to create a walkable landscape combining food production and leisure.
Floating Fields integrates multiple cycles, wherein each pond can have two-way nutrient provision, wastewater recycling, crop production, water purification and landscape features, creating more flexibility than conventional systems. The connected pond-scape operates as a self-sustaining ecology to demonstrate a virtuous cycle of hybrid urban-agricultural environment that can also become at once a productive and leisure public space for the enjoyment of all.
Besides the productive-leisure architecture-landscape hybrid of ponds, plots, paths and pavilions, Floating Fields generated events with great response and publicity from community and media. A Planting Festival gave over 100 city kids and their families the chance to sow their own floating plots, catch fish and learn about duck, silkworm and algae life-cycles first-hand. A Tasting Festival supported by local CSA groups offered participants fish soup and salad rolls (harvested on site) with talks on urban agriculture and the potential of microalgae in architecture and urban ecology. A Harvest Festival at the Biennale Closing successfully harvested the first crop of floating plots, presenting algae cultivation results, and included a forum “Envisioning urban agriculture and ecology for Bio-social living”.
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