A skyscraper aimed at introducing a “green revolution” to people living in sub-Saharan Africa has won first place in the eVolvo 2017 skyscraper competition, a major international award which recognises innovation in high-rise design.
The Mashambas project ( named after the Swahili word for cultivated land), by Polish urbanists Pawel Lipinski and Mateusz Frankowski, would provide training on modern agricultural techniques, while also making supplies such as fertilizer and seeds readily available.
“Over 40% of people living in sub-Saharan Africa live in absolute poverty,” said Lipinski and Frankowski. “More than half of them have something in common – they’re small farmers.”
The project is envisioned to help establish new agricultural communities across Africa. Once it has formed the centrepiece of an arable-based settlement which becomes self-sufficient, the idea is that it would be taken apart and moved to other areas of the continent that suffer from poor soil quality or drought, and that require help in increasing crop yields.
The tower – which would occupy a relatively small footprint – is intended to help bolster agricultural opportunities by serving as a vertical farm, an educational centre and a marketplace.
It could also include facilities include a doctor’s surgery, a kindergarten and even a port for drones that could distribute the produce.
“It provides education, training on agricultural techniques, cheap fertilisers and modern tools,” the designers said. “It also creates a local trading area, which maximises profits from harvest sales.
“The structure is made with simple modular elements, it makes it easy to construct, deconstruct and transport.”
“Modules placed one on the other create the high-rise, which is a form that takes the smallest as possible amount of space from local farmers.”
The project submission stated its realisation could have global benefits: “Today hunger and poverty may be only an African matter, but the world’s population will likely reach nine billion by 2050. Scientists warn that this would result in global food shortages.
“Africa’s fertile farmland could not only feed its own growing population, it could also feed the whole world.”