U Farm | Urban Farming Center


Posted on: January 13th, 2022

U Farm | Urban Farming Center

U Farm, an urban farming center will help increase the awareness of food supply systems and provide training and learning facilities for the unemployed factions of society. The design can be inspired by the city landscape. The centre will operate as farming land and an informal learning institute.

Fig: 1 –  Agriculture is the most primitive occupation practised by humans

Consumption cycle

The consumption pattern of humankind has become a vicious cycle of consumption and destruction. Humans extract resources from nature, create infrastructure, and produce wastes/by-products that lead to the degradation of ecological systems. To fight these deterioration concerns, the solutions devised rely on resources, again, from nature.

Issues like global warming and climate change have emerged as a result, posing a threat to the existence of humankind and the planet. Urban centres are operating on linear systems that contribute to the inefficiency of the consumption cycle. As the population in cities is anticipated to grow in the future, a circular economy system needs to be established to fight the threats faced.

Can a circular economy resolve all urban concerns of contemporary times?

Fig: 2 – Urban farming in cities is practised by huge corporations on building rooftops. (Credits: Drone-view)

Tacking the unhealthy cycle

Urbanisation has not only created a burden on earth’s limited resources but affects the wellbeing of both nature and man. Human health, safety and security are at risk in volatile and complex systems operating in dense cities. Requirements such as food, shelter, and income are provided through unsustainable supply chains to the general public.  Food systems are the main concern in major cities around the world. The pressure of the population increases the reliance on external sources for fulfilling the food requirements.

Due to this, new methods of increasing food production in cities are being explored. Urban farming is an intervention that is strengthening its foothold in urban landscapes. Through this process, the waste loop is closed and a circular economy is created. Its contribution to the social scenario involves food security, improving the health of residents, and employment opportunities for local communities.

Can farming contribute to the city environment?

Fig: 3 – Farming techniques are traditional and this knowledge is to be passed on, assisted with modern equipment.

Bringing farming into the city

Urban farming can have far-reaching global effects such as reduction in waste production, greenhouse gas emissions and restore local ecosystems, ensuring the well-being of nature and man.

Brief: The challenge is to design an urban farming center that can be used to improve the local food production in the city and as a skill center for enthusiasts and out-of-work citizens.

A centre for urban farming will help increase the awareness of food supply systems and provide training and learning facilities for the unemployed factions of society. The design can be inspired by the city landscape. The centre will operate as farming land and an informal learning institute. 

The aim of the centre is to promote farming in urban settings. The learning centre will be able to provide people with skills and equipment that can be used to incorporate farming on an individual level as well. The centre must be designed keeping in mind the local constraints of the site.


Design objectives

Balance: Privacy and interaction must be guided in the layout as per the nature of the activity. The balance between aesthetics and functionality, as well as open, semi-open and closed learning spaces.

Harmony: The design must establish some harmony or connection with the surroundings while having outstanding features.

Context: The design must respond to the (existing) site conditions. The wider socio-cultural, economic and environmental settings are to be considered in the design approach.

Sustainability: Reduce the negative impact of design on the environment, by improving building performance, reducing waste and ensuring comfort for occupants.



China has seen tremendous growth on socio-economic fronts, but agriculture holds an important place in the country’s progress. Despite the shortage of arable land, farming has flourished with intense labour and assistive technologies.

Shanghai is an urban agglomeration that is riddled with environmental problems. The city land is 32% farmlands and this has been decreasing in the wake of urbanisation. Food demand has risen with population density. As sustainable development takes foot, the urban farming trend has taken traction with efforts for terrace or roof farming, urban farmlands and so on. 

The site is located in a neighbourhood surrounded by predominantly residential settlements. It can be accessed by Fuhai Road with many restaurants and eateries. Cooperative efforts between farmers, citizens and authorities are helping propagate the agenda of urban farming.

Site area =  8324 sq.m
Height restriction =  10 metres
Ground coverage = 50%
Max FAR =1
Setbacks (as per CAD plan)
Coordinates = 31°22’05.9″N 121°14’55.9″E


Program outline

The following programmatic outline is the point to begin your design at. You can add more functions and activities in relevance or modify the below design programme.

Spaces to learn: Workshops, seminar room, multimedia room

Spaces to farm: Cultivation land, processing workshop, marketspace

Spaces to engage: Outdoor studios, exhibition space, cafeteria


Additional Resources

This competition contains additional resources that contain a set of files useful to complete the competition submission. This folder is made available on your profile dashboard automatically as soon as you register.

This additional resource folder of this competition contains:

Submission Format files in PSD | AI | InDD,
Guide to Journal Section + Questions,
High-Resolution Site Map, and
CAD file of the Site plan.


Submission Requirements

  1. Recommended number of sheets/presentation images/boards:
    3 (Three)of size [2800px x 3500px] in portrait digital format (JPEG only).
  2. Minimum 3 (Three) & No maximum sheet limit. Each image should be less than 15MB. (Do not submit PNG format)
  3. Minimum requisite submission are sheets/boards + Cover image containing:
    1. Site plan
    2. Key concept section x 1
    3. 3D views x 4
    4. Additional cover image of 2000px x 1000px
    5. Write an article/story in the Journal section#of the project (of about 700-1000 words) answering the questions given in the guide pdf you receive in the additional resources.


Submission Guidelines

  • Under additional resources, which you will receive after registration, you will be provided with a submission sheets template.
  • Submit JPEG images only.
  • Ensure that the final sheets submitted do not include your name or any other mark of identification.
  • Mention sheet number on the corner of every sheet.
  • All the sheets or images will be viewed on a digital device. e.g. Laptop screen or projector. Uploaded sheets or images will not be physically printed for evaluation. The submission hence should be prepared for digital viewing only.
  • Tip: Remember that your sheets will have to convey your ideas. Try using comprehensive presentation techniques; use images, illustrations, sketches, views, diagrams, text, etc. to express the design fully. For example, use exploded views to discuss multi-leveled conceptual models better.



  • The minimum eligible age for participation is 18 years.
  • The competitions are open worldwide for designers from any discipline.
  • You can participate as an individual or as a team of a maximum of 4 members.
  • All students and professionals can participate in the competitions.
  • For Students: A student is someone who is currently enrolled in a full-time graduate/undergraduate program at a university anywhere in the world on the date of registration. We will need proof of identity upon the result declaration. The proof of identity should clearly state that you were enrolled in the institution at the time of registration. You may also produce a bonafide/authorized certificate from the institution as proof of identity. Students are allowed to involve one mentor/professor/guide in their team provided the mentor has been authorized via a bonafide certificate of the University.
  • All the participants who do not belong to the student category will be considered professionals by default. Ph.D. candidates will also be considered professionals.
  • Institutional access is a program for students only if they are participating in the competition as a group of 20 people and want to submit 5-20 entries together. Institutional access has to be done under the guidance of a mentor/professor.
  • A team with even one professional will be considered as a professional entry.


Base Rules

  • You can submit more than one project but they have to be registered separately.
  • Your submission as part of any competition is linked to your UNI user account which stands as your identification. We do not have any identification codes.
  • Hence, your submission sheets should not include any form of identification or personal information such as your names, organization, city, etc.
  • This is a design idea challenge only. There is no built commission/realization associated with the problem.
  • Each competition requires submission of original work. If referring to an existing work like text, theory, images, or ideas, giving due credit is mandatory. Otherwise, it will be counted as plagiarism.
  • The official language of the competitions is English.
  • The registration fee is non-refundable. Therefore, should a participant or team change their mind, refuse or fail to submit an entry after registering, the registration amount will not be refunded. Read the cancellation policy for more information.
  • If there are any changes in competition brief or schedule, they shall be updated on the website.
  • When you register for a competition, you are automatically agreeing to the terms and conditions of UNI.
  • Anybody working with UNI or associated with us are not eligible to participate or receive awards in competitions hosted on UNI. That includes currently working employees at UNI, jury members, community moderators or contract agencies, and their direct relatives.


Judging Criteria

The entries will be judged by an international jury of the competition on the following criteria:

  • Presentation: The fundamental to a good entry is a visual delivery of ideas.
  • Concept/Idea: Quality of thought and intent in pre-design phase.
  • Programme/Spaces: How the spaces are conceived along with the programme.
  • Design Outcome: The final architectural outcome of the solution.

The judging panel can also add other criteria based on their internal discussions – which will be in line with the problem statement. Participants are advised to fulfill above given criteria first in their design. Names of the jury panel will be announced soon.

The decision of the Judges Panel is final, no appeals will be entertained and no further correspondence shall be entered into.

Please note that the jury scores are NOT affected by the number of likes on a project. Every submission is evaluated based on the judging criteria. However, ‘Likes’ play a role in determining the People’s Choice Awards.



Last Date of Registration: 21 March 2022

Last Date of Submission:  22 March 2022

Announcement of Results: 19 May 2022


For more details, please visit here.

Read More: Architecture Competitions | Institutional Architecture | Educational Institute | China | Chinese Architecture