Value Farm / Thomas Chung

Value Farm / Thomas Chung - Image 2 of 33Value Farm / Thomas Chung - GardenValue Farm / Thomas Chung - StairsValue Farm / Thomas Chung - Windows, Brick, Facade, ArchValue Farm / Thomas Chung - More Images+ 28

  • Architects: Thomas Chung
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  8120
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2013
  • Photographs
    Photographs:Value Farm
Value Farm / Thomas Chung - Image 6 of 33
© Value Farm

Text description provided by the architects. Value Farm creates value by cultivating the land as a collective effort. The project intersects issues of urban transformation, architecture and urban agriculture with an international cultural event, and explores the possibilities of urban farming in the city and how that can integrate with community-building. It forms part of the Shenzhen Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture 2013, within Ole Bouman’s Value Factory located at the Shekou Former Guangdong Glass Factory in Shenzhen, a site that is itself undergoing radical transformation. Responding to the Biennale’s theme of ‘Urban Border’ and Shekou’s post-industrial regeneration, Value Farm is realized as new architectural and landscape design providing permanent infrastructure for the site’s future as well as a substantial piece of performative, growing event-architecture throughout the biennale.

Value Farm / Thomas Chung - Windows
© Value Farm

Design Concept

The design inspiration from Hong Kong is twofold. First is the trend of flourishing rooftop farms in the city’s dense urbanity. Besides creating a green oasis above the urban chaos, reconnecting city dwellers with nature and the therapeutic hands-on experience of growing crops, urban farming offers a more sustainable, secure, accessible food supply as well as pointing to an attitude, lifestyle change. Moreover, the use of hitherto untapped ‘artificial land resource’ (rooftops) in dense urban areas as productive terrain can improve the micro-climate, respond concretely to the contemporary ecological imperative beyond dressing up “sustainability” with energy-saving features and devices such as vertical greening.

Value Farm / Thomas Chung - Image 9 of 33
© Value Farm

Second is the lively urban vernacular of the Central district’s 170 year-old Graham Street wet market precinct, whose low-rise fabric embody the city’s fine-grain metamorphosis. The precinct is currently facing wholesale redevelopment and with it the potential eradication of the city’s self-evolving meshwork of spatio-cultural practices. Value Farm speculates retroactively turning rooftops of an entire demolished wet market block into farming terrain. Nature is excavated anew from Hong Kong’s urban past; rooftop configurations are taken as “new ground” to cultivate a viable post-urban future.

Value Farm / Thomas Chung - Image 10 of 33
© Value Farm

The concept is transplanted onto a full-scale 2,100m2 open site within the factory premises as “test ground”. Brick enclosures are abstracted and compressed “rooftop farming plots” whose different heights allow varying soil depths for different crops. Original stair cores are converted into brick platforms and open pavilions to accommodate future activities. An irrigation pond collecting the site’s natural underground water source, an integrated sprinkler system, nursery as well as projection room and exhibition facilities are added.

Value Farm / Thomas Chung - Image 11 of 33
© Value Farm

Re-valuing the Site

Instead of treating “landscape” as a passive, detached ‘view of the land’, Value Farm emphasizes curative transformation. The site’s existing qualities are revealed, features such as old walls and large trees redeemed and given new life, resources such as the natural underground water are gathered by digging a new irrigation pond, and simply decorating it with the large rocks uncovered by the excavation. Resonating with the Value Factory’s new production of ‘culture’ within the factory buildings for the Biennale, Value Farm reworks the site to produce “nature”, reviving the land’s fecundity. Invoking the analogy of the self-reliant convent lifestyle, the site is also conceptualized as an enclosed garden configured for farming and physical cultivation.

Value Farm / Thomas Chung - Garden
© Value Farm

Transplanting post-urban values

Besides conceptual inspiration for Value Farm’s design, Hong Kong character, seeds and workforce are injected to realize a productive performance. Hybrid crops reflect Hong Kongers’ alternative and healthy taste, while addressing food safety and accessibility, urban sustainability and self-sufficiency. Apart from creating and maintaining the farm, major events such as Sowing, Tasting and Market Festivals are organised to nurture cross-border exchange engaging local citizens, community groups, professionals and visitors. Hong Kong’s post-urban value is demonstrated via producing green, food, smell and taste in an engaging and most unexpected way.

Value Farm / Thomas Chung - Garden
© Value Farm

While revalorizing disused industrial land in Shenzhen, Value Farm cultivates refreshing nourishment for all. With abundant local enthusiasm, well-supported by community groups and well-received by the media, there is every chance Value Farm can endure and convert the site permanently to continue producing new value for all. More importantly, it can serve as a test-bed for further propagations of such a performative ensemble of living, participatory, urban farming-event-architecture.

Value Farm / Thomas Chung - Image 29 of 33
Floor Plan

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Project location

Address:Shekou, Nanshan, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Value Farm / Thomas Chung" 17 Feb 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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