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Center for Urban Architecture Media ©Rendering by Mithun © Rendering by Mithun

Center for Urban Agriculture


Food, water, and energy are the focus of the “Center for Urban Agriculture” (CUA) design. Agricultural features include fields for growing vegetables and grains, greenhouses, rooftop gardens, and even a chicken farm. Vertical construction allows for the CUA to incorporate more than an acre of native habitat and farmland on the building’s .72 acre site.

With the goal of self-sufficiency, the CUA is designed to be completely independent of city water ― even providing its own drinking water. Grey water, as well as rain collected via the structure’s 31,000+ sq. ft. rooftop rainwater collection area, would be treated and recycled on site. The filtering and purifying would occur through the use of greenhouses, planters, and biomembrane plants which utilize plants’ ability to remove contaminates from water. 34,000+ sf of photovoltaic cells would collect energy, regulated over the seasons by storage as hydrogen gas in underground tanks.

The site would provide 318 small studio, 1- and 2-bedroom affordable apartments. The entry level could feature a café serving organic foods grown on site. The CUA could further benefit the surrounding community by serving as a site for neighborhood stormwater collection and distribution. The facility would have 45 extra storage tanks, allowing for handling of 20 times its own discharge potential, which could be a source of revenue for the project. Produce grown at the CUA would be distributed to local grocers, saving even more energy by reducing transportation miles.

This project was originally conceived as a response to the Cascadia Region Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge and was awarded most visionary of the 19 entries. The term “living building” comes from the idea that it is possible to create a structure that functions like a living organism ― able to survive using only the natural environment around it.



Center for Urban Agriculture Remix
View a video about the concept for the Center for Urban Agriculture.


  • Start: 2007
  • Location: Seattle, Washington