• 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • 2001
  • 2000
  • 1999
  • 1998
  • 1997
  • 1995
  • 1993
  • 1992
  • 1991
  • 1990
  • 1989
  • 1988
  • 1987
  • 1986
  • 1985
  • 1984
  • 1982
  • 1979
  • 1977
  • 1972
  • 1971
  • 1969
  • 1968
  • 1966
  • 1965
  • 1960
  • 1956
  • Institute of Transformational Technologies
  • National Automotive Innovation Centre
  • Push-Pull House
  • Alder Hey Community Cluster
  • RHS Garden Hyde Hall Hilltop Complex
  • Blows Yard
  • Global Witness Workplace
  • 16 Winchester Walk
  • BFI Mediatheque
  • Central Building Refurbishment
  • Jerram Falkus Office Fit-out
  • Conkers Aerial Walkway
  • Eastfields Estate Regeneration
  • Spring at Stonebridge Park
  • Project Genesis Research HQ
  • Maitland Park
  • The Hyde, Hendon
  • RHS Garden Bridgewater
  • Artist's House, Brixton
  • Bristol Harbourside Building 3a
  • IVIC: BIMSpace
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Holy Cross Primary School
  • Cherry Tree Children's Centre
  • Bristol Harbourside Building 4
  • VLRNIC
  • Emerald Circus
  • Bunhill 2 Energy Centre
  • Pontifex Wharf
  • Hide House
  • House in Hampstead
  • Baldwin Terrace Residential Development
  • Rosendale Primary School
  • Cryfield Energy Centre
  • IINM
  • Maggie's Newcastle
  • RE-Fab House
  • Guardbridge Energy Centre
  • City University London
  • IIPSI
  • Foundry
  • Shenley Academy
  • BFI Master Film Store
  • Palestinian Museum
  • Forest Gate Community School
  • Shahat Garden City
  • Kew Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives Wing
  • Brampton Manor Academy
  • Torriano Junior School Gatehouse
  • Institute for Sustainability
  • Evans Granary
  • Olisa Library
  • The Green Mountain Project
  • John Hope Gateway
  • Letchworth Transition Town
  • Stonebridge Hillside Hub
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Richmond Park Golf Clubhouse
  • International Digital Laboratory
  • Cambridge Conservation Campus
  • Bristol Harbourside Building 9
  • Bristol Harbourside Building 3b
  • Masshouse Block D
  • Gateway to Petra
  • Singapore Management University
  • Purcell School Music Centre
  • Barge Arm Development
  • Heart of the Forest Masterplan
  • Bristol Harbourside Building 10
  • Penarth Heights Regeneration
  • Li Ka Shing Library
  • Lewisham Young People's Centre
  • Centre for Mathematical Sciences
  • Education and Interpretation Centre
  • Downland Gridshell
  • International Manufacturing Centre
  • Millennium Primary School & Health Centre
  • Bristol Harbourside Masterplan
  • Faculty of Divinity
  • Private House
  • UEL Docklands Campus
  • Ludgate Hill
  • Chester Amphitheatre Hotel
  • Hooke Park
  • Pittville Art College Campus Masterplan
  • Archaeolink Visitor Centre
  • University of North Carolina Masterplan
  • Clach Mhor
  • St John's College Library
  • Goldney Hall Student Residences
  • Petershill House
  • Fountains Abbey Visitor Centre
  • BP International Group Learning Centre
  • Bedfont Lakes Offices
  • Charles Cryer Theatre
  • RMC International HQ
  • Farnborough Grange Junior School
  • Chilworth Park Research Centre
  • Morrison Street
  • MacIntyre Milton Keynes
  • Crookham Junior School
  • Beechwood Lodge Hostel
  • Copped Hall Offices
  • Lambeth Community Care Centre
  • Whittington Centre
  • Uplands Conference Centre
  • Westoning Manor
  • Winchester College Arts Centre
  • St Mary's Church
  • Royal Opera House
  • Calthorpe Park School
  • Charlie Chaplin Adventure Playground
  • Bradwell Common 2
  • Westmoreland Road
  • Leighton Crescent
  • Highgrove Housing
  • Olivetti's New Branches
  • Branksome Hilders, Olivetti
  • Minster Lovell Conference Centre
  • House on the South Downs
  • Garrett House
  • Camden Mews
  • Bartholomew Villas
  • Marvin House
  • Horder House
  • Bell Tout Lighthouse
View: Grid List
· Amy Glover

Growing Underground

What lies beneath the streets of London is a constant source of interest to tourists and residents alike.

Unlocking the potential of existing underground spaces are an exciting reaction to numerous issues affecting the city today. Just such a project is developing under the streets of Clapham, courtesy of Zero Carbon Food and their first project Growing Underground.

Growing Underground are in the process of setting up a 1 hectare urban farm in a disused air raid shelter 12 stories underground in South London The farm will grow micro greens and herbs to supply London restaurants and markets. Having had a successful campaign for crowd funding earlier this year, the founders recently gave guided tours prior to its transformation into a highly controlled farm, and we were lucky enough to join them for a look at the first stages of the project.

From the unassuming entrance on Clapham Road we were led down 12 stories of spiral stair into the dark tunnels. With the aid of a few torches and mobile phones we were shown through the spaces, where you can still see the outlines of wartime bunk beds on the floor, whilst two of the co-founders gave us an overview of the future set up of the farm. It is to be a cutting edge installation of hydroponic plant production on an industrial scale, with a lift to the surface being the top priority.

Street level entrance to the air raid shelter

Tunnels for future expansion of the farm

From the tunnels we moved into the vivid light of the test area filled with plastic beds of herbs (of which we had a few tastes), pumping and ventilation systems. As we nibbled away we were given an overview of the ecological benefits of the growing underground system:

  • The products will have the lowest of food miles, being both grown and sold in London
  • Complete environment control allows for developing the optimum growing conditions to increase yields (and flavour)
  • The low energy LED allow for 24 hour activity, 365 days a year (with green electricity supplied by Good Energy)
  • Only the minimum amount of water is used to produce the crops, reducing the environmental impact

Test bed where the plants are grown on recycled carpet from the Athlete's Village

Thanks to these benefits, and no doubt the esoteric location, Growing Underground has garnered a lot of interest and Zero Carbon Food are in discussions to expand to other sites around London. The end of the tour was a strenuous walk back to the surface, which gave us sympathy for those who are currently doing this multiple times a day to get this project up and running.

It is fascinating to see an idea from many an architecture student project of recent times being made tangible, along with the opening of a new chapter in the continuing narrative of food’s influence over the urban landscape (eloquently charted in the excellent book Hungry City by Carolyn Steel)

Zero Carbon Food are a part of the burgeoning urban food production and distribution network in London that includes FARM and Cultivate London, amongst many others. Let’s hope that planning authorities will encourage this type of urban activity to help Londoners reconnect with their food and to bring new life to forgotten spaces.

 

Joseph Frame

 

Original test bed from which Zero Carbon Food developed their business and growing model

Related Articles