Results FS21

Giuseppe Allegri

Cities produce enormous amounts of organic and energetic waste, which can be seen as precious cheap resources. Can this be taken as a chance to challenge the ennui and the whimsicality of the urban society in search for new values, new forms of authenticity and a new identity? Could one imagine to apply scientific knowledge and technology to the development of spaces where the production of food would become a collective effort and therefore also a community-making practice?

Until the early 80s the landscape of Herdern areal was dominated by the presence of allotment gardens and slums. This area at the edge of the city offered free land to immigrants and poor people for inhabiting and farming. In 2021 the Stadionsbrache is the only green space left in the area allowing for spontaneous appropriations. Could the large roof of the nearby Engrosmarkt be temporarily appropriated for farming and local food production?
Food waste is in average one third of the total consumption. From the perspective of bio-polymers production the enormous amount of food waste produced by the upcoming housing complexes of Hardturm is a precious material resource. Therefore it is going to be collected and processed in a biorefinery placed on top of the Engrosmarkt.
The polylactic acid obtained is then going to be further treated to make a special blend of home-compost PLA, which exposed to the weather degrades after approximately four months. The PLA is then going to be used for building the membrane of a community greenhouse for the Hardturm Genossenschaft.
The community greenhouse produces enough fruit and vegetables to cover the full demand of the members of the Genossenschaft. Communal kitchen and shared spaces are provided where the workers and their families can rest or cook together the produce.
The low thermal conductivity of plastic foil, its light transmission, versatility and cheapness make it ideal for farming. The utilization of biodegradable materials such as PLA is more suitable than the PP and PET commonly in use, because PLA has closed material cycle. In fact it can be composted after its use is finished, and directly reused in the farming process.
The ephemeral aspect of the building envelope makes renewal an essential part of the construction. The membrane is composed by three separated foil layers. After four months the outer layer degrades and is removed.
A new layer get produced every season and is mounted on the structure when it is still in the process of drying. The core spaces of the greenhouse are characterized by color.
Several dyes can be obtained from the production waste of the different vegetables cultivated on site. The color of each membrane layer is thus going to depend on the specific vegetables available in the greenouse in the season the layer was produced.
In this way the building membrane is going to express the full variety of the local produce, extending the qualities of one season into the next ones, and constituting an impermanent journal of the work of the community. In fact food waste could become a precious raw material to produce film for packaging and envelopes. Thus the direct material relationship between produce and packagings would be reverted.