Metropolis Planet Positive Awards Bo Li

Desert Temporality

Bo Li | California Polytechnic State University

This project proposes to renovate an old flour mill in Tempe, Arizona, into an agricultural research center focused on vertical farming technologies in a hot arid climate. Tempe has long, extremely hot summers and short, mild winters and is one of the sunniest places in the world: This creates a perfect environment for a photovoltaic system to be integrated with a dynamic facade system and to grow food that requires a lot of heat. Li’s proposal leverages the height differences between various parts of the old flour mill to include a botanical garden where people can learn about food cultivation in the desert, as well as retail areas where fresh produce will be available to locals. Dye-sensitized solar cells help the rooftop and facade dynamically respond to the sun, generating power and letting in sunlight to help plants grow. Through this sensitive project, Li builds an intricate relationship between architectural design and agricultural innovation. 

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