rooftop greenhouse agrotopia completed as 9,500 sqm facility
rooftop greenhouse agrotopia is europe’s largest research center for urban food production. completed by van bergen kolpa architects and META architectuurbureau, the 9,500 sqm facility is built atop the roof of local vegetable and fruit cooperative REO veiling, on the ring road of roeselare, belgium, with a spectacular view of the wider area and city.
with its faceted glass facades, monumental entrance staircase and stacking of functions, agrotopia gives off a striking architectural appearance. ‘the innovative building is an example for future food production in the city, intensive use of space, circular energy and water use and making greenhouse horticulture more sustainable,’ shares the architectural team.
all images © filip dujardin
a steel and glass complex for research and education
design wise, the architects shaped agrotopia as a proud, transparent glass and steel sculpture with a slender greenhouse construction that stands out against the sky and rests on the concrete base of a crate shed. it contains high-tech research facilities to cultivate fruity and leafy vegetables, and is surrounded by an educational route for the general public. the entrance features wide, ascending stairs leading to the urban horticulture square with visitor facilities in the heart of the building. on the ring roadside, a double-height conservatory is set up for innovative vertical cultivation. see van bergen kolpa architects’ works here and META architectuurbureau’s here.
facade of greenhouse on top of silos for rainwater storage
the foot of that double-height facade functions as a unit for rainwater collected from the roof, which is used to irrigate the crops. meanwhile, all residual water is cleaned and recycled. additionally, municipal residual heat from the nearby mirom waste incinerator heats the greenhouse. in short, agrotopia lives in a circular symbiosis with the city.
close up of the greenhouse facade
agrotopia is shaped like a transparent sculpture of glass and steel
entrance stairs and visitor facilities
cultivation of leafy greens
circular high-tech research facilities
location: oostnieuwkerksesteenweg, roeselare, belgium
program: research facilities for vegetable cultivation with visitor facilities
total area: 9,500 sqm
design dates: 2015-2017
cultivation techniques: wageningen UR greenhouse horticulture
general construction and installation: tractebel engie
greenhouse construction: smiemans projects
photography: filip dujardin
edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom