Thai university’s urban rooftop farm honours rice farming past

A university in Thailand is home to Asia’s largest urban rooftop farm, designed to be a cascading rooftop farm that mimics local rice terrace landscapes.

Thammasat University draws inspiration from traditional rice-farming practices. The farm conforms to the H-shaped floor plan of the campus building, using modern green roof technologies to slow down and retain runoff rainwater with its sloped levels. Any excess runoff is collected and stored in the farm’s four massive retention ponds, which can hold up to 3,095,570 gallons of water combined.

Created by Bangkok-based landscape architecture and urban design firm LANDPROCESS, the farm is not only able to grow up to 135,000 rice meals each year but also produces other vegetables that are served in the campus’ green cafeteria. From there, all edible leftovers are distributed to the local community, while the food waste is composted and returned to the farm as fertiliser for the crops.

The area of Rangsit, where the university is based, was formerly a vast rice-paddy field that was turned into a metropolitan city in support of Bangkok’s expansion into peri-urban areas.

The green roof at Thammasat’s Rangsit campus can be understood as an integrative solution that both revives the land that was once destroyed for urban expansion, and also improves the city’s food security and climate resilience.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living

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