In the face of a rapidly expanding population, food shortages, and urban environmental issues, this giant tree-shaped skyscraper could stand as an innovative solution. Conceptualized by Brooklyn-based design studio Aprilli, the Urban Skyfarm is a vertical farm covered in lightweight decks that can provide 24 acres of space for growing more than 5,000 fruit trees and plants. With a proposed location of Seoul’s heavily populated central business district, the Skyfarm would support local food production while simultaneously contributing to the improvement of environmental quality through water and air filtration, as well as renewable energy generation.
Conceived as an enormous tree, the structure is divided into four major components: the root, trunk, branch, and leaf. The “trunk” of the tree houses an indoor hydroponic farm for greens, with additional space for a processing plant and a water recycling facility to filter rainwater into the nearby Cheonggyecheon stream. The Skyfarm’s elevated, leaflike decks provide more exposure to sunlight and air while freeing up public spaces at ground level. At the top of the tree, solar panels and wind turbines provide clean energy for the operation of the entire structure.
Besides its functional use, the tree is a visually striking symbol of sustainability and a balanced ecosystem in downtown Seoul. According to architects Steve Lee and Se Yoon Park, the design would also provide community gardens, a park space, and a farmers’ market to cater to a demand for fresh, local food. Together with the Cheonggyecheon stream, the Urban Skyfarm is envisioned as an iconic figure on Seoul’s skyline, a green oasis in the heart of the bustling city.