VERTICAL FARMING - Investigation on requirements of a Vertical Farm-prototype development for crop plant production

In the center of interest stands the investigation of fundamental principles for a new building typology – the Vertical Farm. Urban vertical food production can contribute to more energy efficient cities by concurrently reducing land use. Substantial influencing factors to achieve these goals are intended to be revealed.

Short Description

Starting point / Motivation

The exploratory project was intended as preparation for the development of a prototypical vertical farm for Vienna. The focus of the exploratory project was to acquire fundamentals necessary to develop a vertical farm for the urban environment as part of a collaborative R&D-project.

Contents and objectives

Essential plant-physiological and architectural typological considerations, potential analyses of climatic conditions, the conception of necessary building services as well as communication- and control technology covered the content of the discussion. Cultivation conditions were determined based on a specially created catalogue of crop varieties, thereby developing typological foundations for the architectural development. Based on this, a building typology was derived, which was examined for its energy requirements.


The multidisciplinary consortium developed foundations using desk research, comparative studies, digital spatial studies and determination of target values for the simulation software. The consortium iteratively responded to the respective research results of the consortium partners via regular workshops and / or meetings and thus translates findings into the following work package.


A functional and spatial program for a vertical farm exists and has been developed in the level of detail of a conceptual preliminary design. A catalogue of cultivated plants has been developed, establishing a year-round cultural sequence for the Vertical Farm. Requirement profiles for building technology and building automation were developed. The total energy balance or results of the resource consumption including grey energy point to optimization potential or reveal the complexity of the simulation process.

Prospects / Suggestions for future research

The legal framework for the implementation of a vertical farm is given, on both the building law and site zoning level. The theoretically determined yields as well as the savings potential compared to the traditional agriculture once again prove the effectiveness of land use.

Project Partners

Project Management

Mag.arch.Dr.techn. Daniel Podmirseg, Institute for Buildings and Energy, Graz University of Technology

Project or cooperation partners

  • vertical farm institute, Vienna
  • Department of Crop Sciences (DNW), Division of Vegetables and Ornamentals, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
  • SIEMENS AG, Vienna

Contact Address

Daniel Podmirseg
Windmühlgasse 9/23
A-1060 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (1) 20 88 635