280_Moritz Spaeh: Urban Farming

Moritz Spaeh from Switzerland: “It was my BA- thesis semester (the project submitted). The site was given (Lisbon), but we could choose the using and everything else. I decided to do an urban farming project, since Portugal is in bad economic condition. The started to plant on free space everywhere in cities. So I've design a professional, unique urban Farming building. In the ground floor there is the market hall to sell all the vegetables and fishes. Into the basement there is the fish farm for the aquaponic-system. The upper floors contains the automatic - vegetable grow systems. I still believe that this kind of farm, located directly in cities where the consumer are, are the future!”

University: ZHAW (Zurich university of applied sciences)

Professor(s): Beat Rothen & Andreas Graf

Name of Project: Urban Farming

Urban Design

The newly emerging commercial and industrial district is based on the former industrial area. In order to give the building in the north a representative address, the existing halls were demolished and the market hall was pushed between the existing buildings. From the east, a long, narrow lane leads to the market hall. Through the completely open ground floor, this lane is extended to the western schoolyard. As a result, the various streets, alleys and squares are connected with each other, creating a covered, public outdoor space. This serves as an extension of the schoolyard, as a market hall or, for example, as a residence for young adults after school.

Moritz Späh - moritz-spaeh-2.jpg


Since the plot is oriented practically north-south, as usual in greenhouses, the sun can shine in the morning, in the afternoon until late at night in the building. With the practically completely closed east facade, the building leans against the existing and emerging buildings with a massive layer of space. This back of the building holds the frame structures attached to the west and at the same time contains all ancillary rooms, the access and the entire building services. The ten frameworks are highly resolved to make the most of the sunlight and allow for a row-by-floor, offset arrangement of the ceilings. Thus, the market hall can be spanned column-free.

Room Design

Nutrient-rich water from the fish farming located in the basement is pumped upwards and enriched with oxygen as it flows through the plants. The building thus receives an internal water circulation, which begins below the market hall, passes through the back of the building and irrigates all the plants when it flows down. From this idea of the water flow, a cross section emerged, which extends repetitively over practically the whole building. In the basement, the water is collected, processed and used for fish farming. It flows through the seedlings and through the massive layer of space upwards. The market hall is therefore usable independently of the greenhouse. On the first floor, some offices and laboratories are built in between the greenhouse. On top of that is the greenhouse, which consists of a single, open space on three further floors.


To give the greenhouse an industrial character, it is executed in the interior completely with concrete and a ground cement base. The laboratory and office premises are covered with aluminum sheet from the inside. Towards the west, the building represents a green, imagined facade. The interior of the building is carried outwards and the neighboring schoolyard receives a cooling, plant-covered courtyard facade.

Instagram Username: @spaeh_