growUP box: an aquaponic shipping container farm
growUP box: an aquaponic shipping container farm growUP box: an aquaponic shipping container farm
jun 26, 2013

growUP box: an aquaponic shipping container farm

growUPbox: an aquaponic shipping container farm

all photos by jody kingzett photography, courtesy of growUP




london-based urban farming business growUP have just shared images of their successfully launched shipping container aquaponic farm in the marlborough playground as part of the chelsea fringe festival. in a collaboration with bankside open spaces trust, the little-used urban plot was enlivened by the upcycled shipping container-turned-farm designed by architect sam cox. part of a hybrid technology system called aquaponics in which methods of cultivating plants in water are synthesized with the practice of raising aquatic animals, the module is fitted with a rooftop greenhouse fed by the nutrient-rich wastewater from tilapia-filled fish tanks. in turn, the fish’s effluence is purified by plant-led nitrogen fixation and the clean water is then pumped back into the tanks. the sustainable system requires the mere input of fish food and minimal energy to power the pump system, thereby remaining devoid of soil, chemicals and pesticides. envisioned as a consolidation of technology ideal for urban spaces, the growUP box has a slight footprint of only 14 square meters and can produce approximately 100 kilograms of fish and 400 kilograms of lettuce per year. the growUP box represents an option for a viable commercial scale farming in the increasingly dense and environmentally isolated cities, especially given the fish’s vegetarian diet. this scalable urban farm is a functional result of an important approach to the urban environment as an organism that should necessarily be fed by responsive and high-performing technology.



while the project was successfully funded by kickstarter, the fundraising video explains the cyclical process

video courtesy of kickstarter



view of the launch during the chelsea fringe festival



the farm is on view near union street on a little used playground



the launch included information about the importance of local food production



the vertical farming system sits atop an upcycled shipping container



over 400 kilograms of fresh salad can be produced with the system






view of the tank system





view of the launch during the chelsea market



tilapia are hardy enough to be ‘grown’ in unheated water



(left): fish food is one of the only required inputs of the system
(right): the stocking density of tilapia is such that small spaces keep the fish stress-free



microgreens can additionally be culivated with the aquaponic system





the upcycled container becomes both farm and marketplace



view of the shipping container farm as a restaurant



diagram of the sustainable system



have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
489,486 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample