Sustainable ecosystem project proposed for Arabian desert

Barcelona-based multidisciplinary office, Forward Thinking Architecture has proposed a hydroponic facility to be located in the Arabian peninsula, aiming for locations such as the GCC, Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula as a whole.


The project aims to link the desert, renewable energies and water-saving hydroponic agriculture that will connect to the nearby cities in the Arabian Peninsula.

“As designers and technicians, we shouldn’t talk about design, processes or sustainability as isolated matters. What is interesting about a new design or building is the potentials and possibilities it creates in order to improve human life. The proposal addresses food production and consumption, it deals with cities self-sufficiency and connectivity, with the relationships between architecture and food insecurity within an ecosystemic vision,” the architects said.

“What we propose,” they explained, “is a safe and controlled hydroponic facility based on a modular linear pattern, a city new “green A X I S”,  which incorporates some of the qualities of a desert Oasis. It will produce Solar energy to become self-sufficient and capable of running an underground transportation system that deliver the crops directly to the cities, shortening long distance food transportation (imports) and therefore reducing CO2 emissions”

The facilities will include a prefabricated modular structure from recycled steel which can be easily expandable in order to increase the footprint area.

It will also produce its own energy through high-efficiency photovoltaic panels that will be mounted on the rooftop, “acting as a linear solar plant”. The energy produced from this will be used for the consumption of the building itself for artificial LED lighting, but more importantly, for running the underground conveyor belt system “which will transport the produced hydeoponic crop trays directly to the nearby logistic station.”

The architects explained: “The envisioned hydroponic farming system will significantly reduce irrigation requirements (by up to 80%) by controlling (and recycling) the water used, with less fertilizers, pesticides and a rapid growth year-round cycle.”

They also added that overtime, part of the recycled water will be used for the exterior “Oasis” for green transformation.

“What we believe is interesting about the OAXIS project is the effect it can produce by “fusing” these existing technologies,” they said.

Explaining the underground conveyor belt system, they said: “We propose to use an scalable technology of high-efficiency  and self-cleaning solar panels facing South located on the buildings roof-tops, in order to generate and supply the electricity required to run the system.

“The clean energy produced will also be used to supply the OAXIS facilities and the energy overproduction will be redirected to the nearby city electric grid. Since the project is a linear and a modular one which can be expanded according  to the desired or required length , it was important for us to incorporate this high efficiency solar technologies, since this kind of panels will allow us to consume a smaller building footprint and produce the same amount of electricity as larger area installations. All the installation, labor and wiring required will be proportionate to the serviced linear area.”

Referencing future projects in Dubai and Doha, the architects explained: “With an Arid land region , a fast growing population, rapid urbanization, with the coming Dubai Expo 2020 or Qatar’s World Cup 2022, with massive food imports of more than 90% in the GCC, scarce water  and plenty of sun energy resources, we believe OAXIS project fits in this Arabian Peninsula context and can be applied in many others with similar environmental and physical conditions.We have to respond now to the challenge, in order to help ensure future food security in the region .”

“OAXIS will become a true Biodiversity and educational HUB for the people , showcasing  the desert environments and those habitats endangered from climate change. The project will address the function of water as a structuring and precious element and its value in connection with social, cultural, health and wellness-related,” they concluded.

Watch the video by Forward Thinking Architects.


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