Urban agriculture with Portuguese engineering

Romainville, a city on the outskirts of Paris, is due to implement an innovative vertical farming project, the Tour Maraîchère, featuring the participation of a Portuguese company in the final phase of construction

Sustainability is the watchword for dealing with the challenges facing us in the 21st century and, as such, cities are at the forefront of the necessary structural changes. The global population is expected to exceed the 9 billion people mark by 2050 and over 70% of the population will be living in cities. What is certain is that the global agricultural sector is finding it hard to grow to any significant extent, which raises the issue of sustainability. Hence, urban agriculture is beginning to take the first steps towards resolving a fundamental question of human survival.

Many cities have already begun developing local production projects – in addition to traditional urban gardens – using advanced technologies that make it possible to produce with almost no land at all, using the hydroponics method, for example, integrated within city landscapes and with the huge advantage of proximity, thereby reducing the need for road transport. There are several good examples of this around the world. Last year, in the middle of the pandemic, Paris opened an urban vegetable garden of over 14,000 square metres in size – the largest in Europe – on top of a six-storey building, involving a total investment of 500 million euros.

Romainville, within a stone´s throw of the city of light, recently announced an urban production project of an innovative nature featuring Portuguese talent and ingenuity. This is the Tour Maraîchère, a gardening/farming complex consisting of two towers - 26 and 14 metres tall respectively - entirely dedicated to the vertical production of fruit, mushrooms, vegetables, edible flowers and seeds. This area will operate with a market open to customers who will be able to purchase the freshly picked products, and is part of a plan to renovate the city based on an innovative model designed to integrate farming areas in the urban fabric. Around 12 tons of agricultural products will be produced here annually, which will complement the supply of vegetables from the rural areas surrounding the city.

A project with a tinge of Portugal, the Tour Maraîchère consists of two towers, one of which is 24 metres tall

The French construction company entrusted with the project representing an investment of 5 million euros, Eiffage, chose DTE, a special installations company within the universe of the Braga-based construction group, DST Group, to design and execute the electrical installations in the towers. The company has been given the task of developing the building´s entire low-voltage infrastructure, including the switchboards, cabling, switchboard circuits and the entire security infrastructure, such as access and intrusion control systems and the fire detection system.

“Being selected once again by the construction giant, Eiffage Construction, and being partners in a project of such social and environmental significance are cause for enormous satisfaction”, says José Teixeira, president of the DST Group. The executive also states that the company is “always available for new challenges, particularly those that contribute to the creation of greener, more sustainable and more habitable cities”.
Designed to harness as much sunlight as possible, the building is all glass and its roofs can be opened to let in rainwater and natural ventilation. All the floors are connected, promote the circulation of air and reduce the need for the consumption of energy. This is an important piece of equipment, both socially and environmentally, and features an educational aspect, including workshops geared to training activities in urban agriculture, both for the amateur public and for professionals, and is also designed to host conferences and other events.