The word’s largest rooftop urban farm sits on top of a Paris building

Place: Paris, Country: France
Architectural Design: Valode et Pistre

NU-Paris Nature Urbaine, world's largest rooftop urban farm 3

An aerial view of NU-Paris, a 14,000 square-meter farm created on top of the Pavilion 6 building, part of the Porte de Versailles expo complex in Paris. Image source: Agripolis.

The word’s largest rooftop urban farm sits on top of a Paris building

If you have seen it, the Expo Porte de Versailles in Paris is probably not the first place that comes to mind when you think of growing tomatoes, onions, and raspberries.
Yet, you might want to change your idea since, in spring 2020, the world’s largest rooftop urban farm was opened on top of the Pavillion 6 building in Paris’ biggest exhibition park, in the 15th arrondissement of the French capital.

The new rooftop farm is named NU-Paris – NU standing for Nature Urbaine – and was created by French company Agripolis (https://agripolis.eu/) together with the Porte de Versailles expo park owner, Viparis, and with the support of the City of Paris.
NU-Paris is a perfect example of what has been called “agritecture”, a neologism that identifies a set of architectural design solutions and innovative farming techniques aimed at incorporating agriculture into the urban environment, with a view to making cities self-sufficient in terms of fresh food production.
The rooftop garden design was developed by the Parisian architecture firm Valode et Pistre as a part of the larger project for the reconstruction of the entire pavilion to which also Jean Nouvel collaborated.
Along with containers and structures for growing vegetables and fruits, the 14,000 sqm / 150,700 sqft rooftop farm also includes bumblebee hives, educational spaces, workshops, a 400 sqm event space named La Serre, a bar, and a restaurant.

NU-Paris, world's largest rooftop urban farm, rendering

A project rendering of the NU-Paris rooftop farm; image by Valode et Pistre.

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NU-Paris Nature Urbaine, world's largest rooftop urban farm 6

The urban farm comprises areas equipped with wooden crates, hydroponic beds, and aeroponic vertical columns; together with workshops, a greenhouse/event space, a bar, and a restaurant. Photos by Photos by Guillaume Bontemps / Ville de Paris and by Agripolis.

The most interesting aspect of NU-Paris is certainly how it produces food in the heart of a western metropolis, though; to date, about one-third of the planned growing area has been fully implemented to produce up to 1000 kg of organic fresh produce daily with twenty people working in the farm.
Yet, to grow such a relevant amount of fruits and vegetables on an urban rooftop, furthermore without using pesticides, required ingenious technical solutions. For example, most plants are grown in raised wooden containers, horizontal hydroponic beds, or in vertical aeroponic “columns” (without soil or other growing mediums) and watered by a closed irrigation system. These solutions, on the one side, reduce the structural loads on the pavilion structure that would result from thick soil layers, and, on the other side, minimize water consumption and the need for pest-control systems.

Currently, about 30 species of vegetables, herbs, and fruits are cultivated at NU-Paris, including tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, lettuces, spinach, chard, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, radishes, zucchini, pumpkins, basil, mint, sage, strawberries, and raspberries. The rooftop farm also produces jams and sauces in collaboration with Re-Belle, a charity for the relief of unemployment, and organizes educational workshops and events. The farm’s produce is mainly sold to Parisian restaurants and only a small amount is for direct selling to private customers. Yet, local residents can lease wooden crates where to install and operate small vegetable plots on their own; 137 private crates, with a total cultivable area of 250 sqm, are available at present.

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NU-Paris, world's largest rooftop urban farm, aquaponic columns 4

NU-Paris, world's largest rooftop urban farm, aquaponic columns 1

The farm’s aeroponic columns do not use any type of soil or growing medium, the bare roots of the plants – mostly lettuces and strawberries – are irrigated with a nutrient-rich water solution. There are 698 columns currently installed at NU-Paris; yet, when fully completed, the urban farm will operate 2528 columns in total. Photos by Guillaume Bontemps / Ville de Paris and by Agripolis.

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NU-Paris, world's largest rooftop urban farm, raised hydroponic beds 4

NU-Paris, world's largest rooftop urban farm, raised hydroponic beds

Leafy greens and climbing plants such as tomatoes and bell peppers are grown in hydroponic gutters filled with a coir substrate. Photos by Guillaume Bontemps / Ville de Paris and by Agripolis.

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At NU-Paris, 137 wooden crates can be leased by local residents to cultivate their personal vegetable gardens. Photo by Guillaume Bontemps / Ville de Paris.

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Photo courtesy of Agripolis.

NU-Paris, world's largest rooftop urban farm, jams

The farm also produces jams in collaboration with the no-profit organization Re-Belle. Photo courtesy of Agripolis.


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copyright Inexhibit 2021 - ISSN: 2283-5474