Sprout from Sprawl — Architecture Competition by UNI.xyz

Rethinking Architecture Competition for a Farming Supermarket — ‘Sprout from Sprawl’ Design Challenge by UNI

Fig: 1 — Farmers picking strawberries (Credits- Tim Mossholder)

Agriculture and farming

As hunter-gatherers progressed through domesticating animals and plants, nomadic life was left behind. Agriculture is one of the greatest success stories in the development of human civilization. It helps to feed the world’s growing population. With rising incomes, the diversity and range of demands are changing constantly, the increasing demands and the estimated population rise from 7.2 to 9.7 billion or more by 2050 will put the agriculture and farming industry under pressure.

Rapid industrialization in conventional farming techniques has caused both positive and negative consequences, positive being it helps in mass production but negative being the lack of interest in farming due to migration to urban areas and the environmental consequences of mass production.

How can we reduce the existing pressure?

How can the solutions provide awareness of farming as well as an increase in healthy food products and buy?

Fig: 2 — Preserved vegetables for longer shelf life but lower nutrition value (Credits- Fikri Rasyid)

Food and retail

While the majority of the urban population remains ignorant about where the food comes from, we also have fallen for an excellent model of consumerization. Our mindset about food, how we eat and consume it has transformed. Mass production has increased such unsustainable habits and now contributes to the cycle of demand-production. A large amount of the urban population has shifted from open markets to supermarkets, that offer comfort and affordable discounts for essential wholesale products. Supermarkets have taken advantage of this and have managed to promote impulsive and attractive buying.

The in-store environments work with marketing hoardings, design, and lighting layout that present food and products in a new light with additional promotional marketing. Such buying leads to food waste, environmental impacts, and a bad food consumption ratio within the masses. How can we change the scenario?

Can we rethink the supermarket and retail typology?

Can we retrofit it with something more sustainable and healthy?

Fig: 3 — Vertical farming in a glasshouse for fast-growing tomatoes and peppers (Credits- Markus Spiske)

Brief of the competition

Rapid development in farming technology has led to a rise in various typologies of farming, which are sustainable and handy.
To reduce the pressure on conventional large framing industries can urban farming form an alternative? Since this farming typology is associated with the urban context, can we bring it into the public eye? Can this typology be retrofitted in supermarkets?

Brief: The design challenge here is to bring farming into the heart of the city, where people can engage with it and buy its fresh produce.

The aim is to rethink the supermarket and retail layouts planned for impulsive buying and instead promote sustainable buying patterns.

By adding farming into supermarkets, the design not only seeks a place to grow and store products but also to educate people in what they eat and thereby promote responsible consumption.

Design objectives

  • Function: How will the supermarket run along with urban farming?
  • Maintenance: Address maintenance and technicalities that go into urban farming and thus implement them in your design.
  • Learning: Workshops, Manuals, and information about framing and healthy eating.
  • Rethink: What else can the participants provide to promote sustainable buying and eating practices?

The above objectives can be a point of beginning to conceive this design. Participants are free to assume their programmatic outline.


Fig: 4 — Site image
  • Site Area: 3615 sq.m
  • Height restriction: 10 meters
  • Maximum Built-Up Area: 3615 sq.m.
  • Ground coverage: 30%
  • Coordinates: 51°56'16.5"N 4°29'42.2"E

The site is located near the main city of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and is surrounded by restaurants and a supermarket. Since the site is in the core market region of the city, it will bring revenue-oriented business and has to leverage profits by inducing modern farming equipment and machinery at the same time. It makes a perfect for Sprout from Sprawl as it is also permeable enough to involve an enthusiastic urban population.

Find all the competition brief, terms, and other registration guidelines on this

page: Sprout from Sprawl | Architecture Competition on UNI | About

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Originally published at https://uni.xyz.



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