2015 Team Video Presentations
March 25
AEI 2015 Conference
Milwaukee, WI

To view the videos of the team presentations, visit:



The Challenge

The competition will challenge students to address the design, integration, and construction issues that must be considered for an urban commercial farm housed in a five story building with a basement area consisting of approximately 50,000 total square feet.

The project is more than a vertical urban farm. The Growing Power organization has become a national leader in providing neighborhood-based sustainable agricultural education. The building fills the need for space to support production, classes, meetings, meal preparation, offices, and on-site warehousing while serving as a model of ecological sustainability.

Growing Power has a vision to inspire communities to build sustainable food systems that are equitable and ecologically sound, creating a just world, one food-secure community at a time.

The building will include greenhouse spaces for a variety of plants, vegetables and herbs and hydroponic tanks for raising fish. The building will also be used as a training center with educational classrooms, a demonstration kitchen, food processing, and storage freezers. The building will include a retail space and a community kitchen. The concept includes a gathering area able to accommodate over 400 individuals on the second floor.

General information concerning this project can be found on the following websites at:



“The decline in arable land, ongoing global climate change, water shortages and continued population growth could change our view of traditional farming from soil-based operations to highly efficient greenhouses or urban farms.”


The submittals should address the following challenges:

1. Construction, design issues and life cycle cost concepts related to a high performance building that addresses the desire of the owner to have a portion of the building that would be able to be sustainable and strives to meet sustainable energy, emissions, water and waste goals. The teams are encouraged to address possible ideas to make the project as sustainable as possible in all disciplines including incorporation of renewable energy concepts, long term durability and future use of the facility.

In the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, section 401, a high performance building is defined as follows:

The term 'high-performance building' means a building that integrates and optimizes on a life cycle basis all major high performance attributes, including energy conservation, environment, safety, security, durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, productivity, sustainability, functionality, and operational considerations.

2. Consider the architectural and engineering solutions that would be required to modify the prototype building to be built in an alternate location. The first alternate location that the owner is considering is an urban site in Miami.

3. Teams shall also provide more in depth details demonstrating the integration of the systems required for operation of the vertical farm and greenhouses.

Download a copy of the full program at: The 2015 AEI Student Design Competition.

Download the recorded presentation by Mr. Allen Washatko, TKWA on the Growing Power project: 2015 AEI Student Design Competition Webinar.

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