Editors’ Choice
2020 Skyscraper Competition

Zeng Shaoting, Liu Chenyang

Dubai is one of the most popular cities in the world, lies directly within the Arabian Desert. With sandy desert surrounded, Dubai has a hot desert climate. Summers in Dubai are extremely hot, windy, and humid, with an average high around 41 °C (106 °F) and overnight lows around 30 °C (86 °F) in the hottest month, August. Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are comparatively cool with an average high of 24 °C (75 °F) and overnight lows of 14 °C (57 °F) in January, the coolest month. Desert terrain, extremely high temperatures, and limited rainfall have historically made agriculture unworkable in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates

Dubai currently imports over 80% of its food. The main food influences were from nearby countries such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran, East Africa, and Indian. In order to reach the city’s targets, locally grown food not only has to expand its growth rapidly, but it also has to meet the uncompromising health standards of the UAE, and cater to the diverse population that enjoys a wide variety of international food.

The Burj Khalifa, known as a skyscraper in Dubai, has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its topping out in 2009. Our skyscraper project is Agri Khalifa aimed to use innovative agricultural technology to find ways to grow locally-sourced produce in Dubai and change its current state.

Agri Khalifa is a vertical farm located in the desert area of Dubai, going with a big factory that includes energy, transportation system. There is sufficient solar and wind energy in the desert, and we build a series of energy collect system to supply electricity to the farm. We apply many advantages of current vertical farm technologies, such as lighting system, which uses a series of variable color LEDs, for instance, we can use ultra-violate light to shorten the span of plant growth to improve the production.

Skyscraper is a perfect medium for vertical farms, especially in the desert climate condition. We utilize space as much as possible. No winter in the desert, so we omit the curtain wall of the building, making use of the natural condition of Dubai.

We use robotic arms and elevators to pick up mature plants automatically. There are rail trails beneath the building, and we can use railway transportation to conduct remote carriage to the urban and living area of Dubai.

Up to 20 units of outdoor farmland per unit of vertical farming could return to its natural state, due to vertical farming’s increased productivity. Vertical farming would reduce the amount of farmland, thus saving many natural resources.

Deforestation and desertification caused by agricultural encroachment on natural biomes could be avoided. Producing food indoors reduces or eliminates conventional plowing, planting, and harvesting by farm machinery, protecting soil, and reducing emissions.

Traditional farming is often invasive to the native flora and fauna because it requires such a large area of arable land. One study showed that wood mouse populations dropped from 25 per hectare to 5 per hectare after harvest, estimating ten animals killed per hectare each year with conventional farming. In comparison, vertical farming would cause nominal harm to wildlife because of its limited space usage.

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