DMU architects look to the sky for the future of farming and living

Towering “vertical villages” and sky farms are some of the innovative architectural ideas being presented by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students at one of the UK’s biggest international events this month.

Two of DMU’s March students will present their creative, sustainable solutions to problems of global overpopulation and resource shortage at the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong, which runs from March 21 to 24.


Student Khanh (Ken) Nuygen will be showcasing his idea to create a “vertical village” which places people’s wellbeing and need to be part of a community at the heart of his design.

And classmate MArch student Tom Cox will present his innovative design for a sky farm, which produces high-density crops and harnesses the pollution from car emissions to produce plant food.

They will be showing off their designs at the GREAT Festival, run by the UK’s Department for International Trade. It focuses on how creativity, technology and innovation will change the way we work, live, learn and play in the years to come.

DMU is the sole education partner for the GREAT campaign, and will be part of a packed programme that includes keynote speakers, panel discussions and masterclasses looking at how businesses can make the most of new technologies and markets.

Dr Yuri Hadi, senior lecturer in Architecture, will be introducing Ken and Tom as they present their designs in Hong Kong. He said: “We are excited about GREAT because we want to present the ideas that we can look have for dealing with issues which we know we will face in the future.

“We know that we will have high population densities in cities that do not have enough space to expand. So we need to examine how we will live and how we can design high rise homes for people so they can flourish.  

“We are excited to show how we can deal with farming in the future sustainably and grow enough food for the population while minimising the carbon footprint.

“These are the conversations we have and the solutions we seek at the Leicester School of Architecture. Yes it is speculation but if you do not speculate about the future, then you we not be ready for it.”

Ken said: “My building tries to improve the quality of life for people who live there. The main idea is to build in the green space inside the building and create community space for the people. Green space makes people feel happier and more comfortable. I have create sky parks and community space, and areas for wildlife to thrive as well.”

Tom added: “I think as land becomes more scarce and the population increases, farms will be forced to go vertical, and you’ll find more and more of these vertical crop plantations in the centre of cities.”

As the official education partner of GREAT, DMU is showcasing the innovations of students and graduates in the fields of fashion, Architecture, Game Art and cyber security. Top UK figures speaking at the festival include chef Tom Kerridge, co-founder Brent Hoberman, former GCHQ director Robert Hannigan and Blippar CEO Ambarish Mitra.

Posted on: Wednesday 14 March 2018

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