Urbanana: The Latest Vertical Farm From SOA Goes Bananas On Les Champs-Élysées
Back in 2005, French firm SOA designed the what became the poster child for vertical farms, topped with turbines. They have been at it ever since, contributing to the Agricultural Urbanism Lab. Their latest is a banana farm on Les Champs-Élysées in Paris, fitting in between the classic Haussmannian buildings.
The farm is designed to be "easy to insert into the urban fabric. It is implanted between party walls in perfect alignment in the manner of a commercial building." The rationale for doing vertical farms in the City is discussed by the Agricultural Urbanism Lab:
The vertical farm is an embodiment of the "triumph of the city" and an affirmation of the agricultural questions being posed by a planet with 3.4 billion city-dwellers....The vertical farm is becoming a symbol of a profound modification of agriculture's relationship with the city. In the past, urbanisation merely signified the disappearance of fertile land beneath tarmac and the destruction of animal and plant life. In the future, as it encroaches on the rural environment, the city will not merely be swallowing up agriculture but assimilating it and integrating it into its own image. Agriculture will thus become urban and artificial by freeing itself from the earth itself, whereas the city will become "greener," "fertile," and even (paradoxically) more "natural."
The highly mechanized farm moves banana plants in pots " according to the light requirement of the plant." The skins will be turned into bank notes and the essence will be used for cosmetics.
It does seem a bit counter-intuitive to put a banana farm on what is among the world's most expensive real estate, but the designers see the building as a sort of "banana embassy":
The objective of this institution is not only dedicated to food production, it is particularly oriented towards the question of flavor and texture of fruits, their origin, their name, their history ...