Located on four abandoned residential lots in Kansas City’s disenfranchised East Side, the new Nile Valley Aquaponics facility would establish a roadmap for transformational redevelopment within the city’s urban core and provide residents with year-round access to mercury-free fish and locally grown vegetables.
Aquaponics is a gardening technique in which plants and fish grow together, modeled after the natural ecosystem. Waste from the fish feeds the plants while nutrients from the plants filter into the water and return to the fish tank. This closed-loop system produces healthy, organic food.
HOK’s design would expand Nile Valley Aquaponics’ small existing facility to three greenhouses, allowing annual production to increase to more than 50,000 pounds of fish and 70,000 pounds of vegetables.
The architecture reinforces the facility’s mission through the use of solar and wind power generation, water reclamation and geothermal heating. Gathering spaces, including harvest tables, a community room and shaded terrace, provide neighbors space to learn.
Designed as a modern kit of parts, the new greenhouses are scaled to the neighborhood context. To promote the use of this model in other cities, they will be constructed with economical, sustainable and easily procurable materials.