Arctic Harvester was the first prize winning entry in the “Innovation and Architecture for the Sea” category of the Jacques Rougerie Foundation International Architecture Competition, 2013. It proposes an itinerant soil-less agricultural infrastructure designed to drift the circulating ocean currents between Greenland and Canada, exploiting the nutrient-rich fresh water released by melting icebergs as the basis for a large-scale hydroponic-farming system. The floating facility is equipped to house a community of 800 people, inspired in its compact urban form by vertically oriented, bayside Greenlandic villages and their social, cultural and economic relationship to the sea.
The project was instigated as a response to Greenland’s agricultural dependence, requiring the importation of almost all of required fresh fruit and vegetables from its less climatically and soil-fertility challenged neighbors. The solution proposed seeks not only to provide for that need, but also a reproducible model that, in the future, could swing Greenland’s balance of trade in this sector from deficit to surplus.
In search of a fertile landscape for a barren territory, the Arctic Harvester deploys various technical, energy and sociological strategies. Arranged in a circular form, it delivers icebergs into its central bay, from which the harvested fresh water is directed to the hydroponic farming levels, and later to the osmotic energy plant in a process that values and retains fresh water as a re-usable resource. The central bay is thus the heart of the Harvester’s agricultural process, the centre of its sustainable energy production, as well as an ice garden, offering social spaces and floating communal greenhouses for use by the inhabitants.
Each detail of its design attempts to advantageously combine the natural and largely unexploited resources of the ocean, in order to create a mutually beneficial connection with the environment and to provide a tangible economic alternative for Greenland and the Arctic.
Competition: Jacques Rougerie Foundation International Architecture Competition
Award: First Prize; “Innovation and Architecture for the Sea”
Project Name: Arctic Harvester
Design Team: Meriem CHABANI, Etienne CHOBAUX, John EDOM, Maeva LENEVEU, from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris Malaquais
Text: Courtesy of Design Team
Photographs: Courtesy of Design Team