shipping container greenhouse urban farm unit by damien chivialle
shipping container greenhouse   urban farm unit by damien chivialle
feb 17, 2013

shipping container greenhouse urban farm unit by damien chivialle

the urban farm unit by damien chivialle is composed of a shipping container with a greenhouse built on its open roof – kaaitheater, brussels edition 


the limited space and pollution generated within our cities do not pose ideal environments in which to engage in agricultural activities. despite this, the demand for obtaining locally grown food is there. new technologies of cultivation such as hydroponics are now making it easier to access fresh produce, as they can be applied in situations where expansive areas of land are not available. damien chivialle has created an open-source model in the form of ‘urban farm units‘ (UFU), which seek to supply urbanites with organic provisions, while minimizing their transportin response to these factors.


designed as a shared garden ‘aboveground’, the module consists of a shipping container with a greenhouse extension on its roof which may be moved and placed anywhere there is space. its purpose is to be used to farm produce according to the needs of local residents,as well as enhance the existing fabric – shared gardens and restaurants – of our boroughs.



shipping container greenhouse   urban farm unit by damien chiviallethe urban farming module can be transported and placed in any urban centre where space is afforded


the farm-container employs aquaponics – which combine traditional tools and means of cultivating – with contemporary high performance. each of the units is comprised of two cubic meters of water, flowing in a closed circuit in which fish feces are broken down by bacteria in a sewage tank, transformed into minerals which serve as fertilizer for the plants, which they filter – the water returning back to the pool of fish. this controlled system is considered to recover methane from the tank to power an alternate generator. in the case of installing several containers, one can imagine filling a bio-gas plant to collect and recycle organic waste.


each structure is designed with standard components: hydroponics, an industrial greenhouse, scaffolding, and an open-top container, all of this intended to be scalable and evolutive – adaptable to various situations.


since 2010, three farms have been built in zurich, berlin and brussels. from now until february 24th, the most recent UFU iteration can be seen at the grote markt (grand market) in levuen, belgium as part of the artefact festival program.



shipping container greenhouse   urban farm unit by damien chivialle


shipping container greenhouse   urban farm unit by damien chiviallethe shipping container base is outfitted with a greenhouse module which is constructed from a simple scaffolding system


shipping container greenhouse   urban farm unit by damien chiviallethe upper level can be accessed via a set of stairs which lead into the greenhouse where fresh produce grows



shipping container greenhouse   urban farm unit by damien chivialle


shipping container greenhouse   urban farm unit by damien chiviallediagram showing the unit’s various components and functions


shipping container greenhouse   urban farm unit by damien chivialle




 urban farm unit from brusselsvideo courtesy of damien chivialle

  • How can I buy or get the plans to build one of these units

    alfred says:
  • nifty … really lovely idea… in melbourne there are tens of thousands of old containers .. really cheap if you pay for the transport … great idea for a suburban backyard ….. greater idea if they are still transportable (with the top on) after the crop grows. yahoo

    pete says:
  • Good

    Sensation says:
  • Try 4 units in a square with 2 “I” beams across the center covered with planking to creat a deck 60 Ft Square, add 3 green houses on top and a hot tub. Now you have good storage and a deck and if hang plastic curtins across the opening to the center you have storage for yard equipment. One last thing tack 2×4 to the sides and face the units with redwood sideing and no one will know that you used shipping containers for the stuctors

    Peter says:
  • This is a great idea. Is it adapted to any kind of weather? i.e. North America’s winter for example?

    MC says:
  • OK . Love the idea,I have problem Elk, deer and slugs. So, where are the UFU’s available and how much do the cost??

    Bernie Dez says:

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