SPACE10 Open Sources The Growroom
Photo — Alona Vibe
The design for The Growroom, an urban farming pavilion that looks into how cities can feed themselves through food-producing architecture, is now open source and available for anyone to use.
SPACE10 envision a future in which we grow our own food much more locally. To spark conversations about how we can bring nature back into our cities and tackle the increasing demand for significantly more food in the future, we teamed up with architects Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum to create The Growroom. Standing tall as a spherical garden, it empowers people to grow their own food much more locally in a beautiful and sustainable way.
From Taipei to Helsinki and from Rio de Janeiro to San Francisco, the original version of The Growroom sparked interest and people requested to either buy or exhibit it. But it doesn’t make sense to promote local food production and then start shipping it across oceans and continents. That’s why we’ve released The Growroom as an open source design and encourage people to build their own wherever they are.
Manufacturing for all
Digital fabrication has made state-of-the-art factory tools accessible to ordinary people. A new generation of technologies, from 3D additive and subtractive manufacturing to laser cutting and surface-mount manufacture, is available to the public in fablabs and maker spaces in any major city.
This means most people — in theory — could produce almost anything themselves. Just as printers are now ubiquitous, local and on-demand, customised production could become the norm of the future. We’re tapping into this emerging potential by releasing the cutting files for The Growroom. All you need to build it are two rubber hammers, 16 sheets of plywood and a visit to your local fablab or maker space equipped with a CNC milling machine. The design focuses on making the assembly easy and intuitive for anyone to handle, and The Growroom is produced from only one material — making it accessible and affordable for most communities.
Designed for cities
Local food represents a serious alternative to the global food model. It reduces food miles and our pressure on the environment, and educates our children about where food actually comes from. The result on the dining table is just as fascinating. We could produce food of the highest quality that tastes better and is much more nutritious, fresh, organic and healthy.
The challenge is that traditional farming takes up a lot of space — and space is a scarce resource in our urban environments. The Growroom is designed for cities and with its size (2.8 x 2.5 metres) it has a small spatial footprint as you grow vertically. It is designed to support our everyday sense of well-being in cities by creating a small oasis — a place to take a pause in our high-paced societal scenery. It also enables people to connect with nature as we smell and taste the abundance of herbs and plants. The pavilion, built as a sphere, can stand freely in any context and points in the direction of expanding contemporary and shared architecture.
The overlapping layers ensure that water and light can reach the vegetation on each level, all without touching the visitor within. It functions as a growth activator for the vegetation and shelter for the visitor.
Build your own Growroom
You can build your own Growroom in 17 easy steps. Find the instructions below and download the cutting files for free right here.
The Growroom has a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which means that the design can be shared, copied and build upon without asking permission and that we don’t take responsibility for your safety. The only condition is that you credit the original work to SPACE10 and architects Mads-Ulrik Husum and Sine Lindholm, throw in a link and indicate if any changes have been made.
To get going building The Growroom, there are certain elements that need to be ready and available to use:
CNC cutting files
Download the CNC cutting files here and share with your local fablab or maker space that can cut the pieces for you.
- 13 sheets of plywood: 2440mm x 1220mm x 18mm
- 4 sheets of plywood: 2440mm x 1220mm x 4mm
- 500 stainless pan head screws: 3.5mm x 30mm
Remember to treat the plywood before you put soil and plants in.
- CNC machine with a cutter, 8mm in diameter. Alternatively, the Growroom can be cut out on a laser cutter, which you can find in a fablab or maker space: most have a CNC milling machine, are open to the public and exist in most major cities.
- Table saw
- Appropriate bit for the screws
- Drill, 2mm in diameter
- 2 hammers
The Growroom is produced with only one material and is put together with hammers which can be used for knocking the chisels in place.
We’ll get back to that.
On the edge of each level, the thin plywood is mounted with the use of the screws.
We will also get back to that.
We hope you will enjoy building and using The Growroom.
The support pieces are put in place in the vertical A boards as shown in STEP 1. The vertical A boards with the attached supported pieces are placed into every second slot in the Big A circle. Notice that the slot has small holes to one or both sides.
The chisels are knocked into place under the bottom as illustrated above. Keep knocking the chisels with the hammers from both sides until they are completely fastened.
The shoes are placed under each vertical A board with chisels inside it. The 4 shoes provide the foundation of the pavilion, so the pavilion won’t stand grinding on the edge of the vertical A’s.
The vertical A1 boards are put into the remaining slots of the floor.
Horizontal B1-B4 are now mounted on top of the vertical As with the attached support beams and the vertical A1s. Make sure that the opening is as depicted above, where there are no support beams.
Vertical B is put into the slots of horizontal B1-B4 and slid to the side onto the part of the vertical A board that is sticking through.
Two chisels are knocked into the slots as depicted above, aligning the 2 vertical elements.
The chisels are positioned loosely in the slots first below and then above B1-B4 as depicted above. Once the chisels are positioned as depicted, they are knocked into place with two hammers from both sides simultaneously.
You should now have successfully mounted the layer B of your pavillon as depicted above. In order to finish the pavillon, repeat STEP 6–7 for the remaining layers: C,D,E,F,G.
You have now finished the pavilion, and are ready to head on to mounting the edging strips.
The 4mm plywood is cut up on the table saw as depicted above. This results in edging strips with a length of 1220mm. The edging strips are suggested to be cut per 100mm.
Since the geometry of the pavilion isn’t equivalent to the dimensions of plywood, each level has strips cut up in various lengths, as depicted in the table here.
The edging strips are 100 mm strips cut from plywood board measuring 1220mm x 100mm, with small add ons where needed. As you can see, the edging strips are mounted separately to the edge of the pavilion, placed directly next to each other.
When mounting the edging strips, it is important to position the band so that the top of the band touches or aligns with the detail of the vertical boards, as depicted above.
That’s how you get divided spaces on most levels to contain the soil and plants, which is 70mm high. Below the edging strips there’s room for LED strip lights, if desired. The arrows show where to place the screws.
The edging strips are placed as depicted above in the section drawing. As you can see, they are always placed where the vertical boards have an indentation or the opposite. Be aware that the edging strips on ground level (Horisontal A) have a gap as big as the entrance, so the edging strips should be placed so they align with the above levels in terms of the entrance gap.
When mounting the edging strips, it is important to position the band so that the top of the band touches or aligns with the detail of the vertical boards, as depicted above. That’s how you get divided spaces on most levels to contain the soil and plants, which is 70mm high.
Below the edging strips you get room for LED strip lights, if desired. The arrows shows where to place the screws.
Depicted above, you see the little element that’s in the slot of the vertical B boards. This element is mounted from each side of B. On the element the edging strips are screwed in ( B-inside) from the inside. The length of the strip, as described on page 18, assures that the edging strip gets the proper circular curvature.
In this diagram an LED-strip is depicted, mounted on the bottom of the edging strip. This allows for an invisible and safe lighting of the pavillon, similar to the what is found on the original Growroom. The LED-strip can be mounted the same on all the levels.
The Pavilion is done, and you can start filling in the soil and plants on levels C,D,E,F,G. To have better control of the soil and water, you can advantageously put plastic in each space so that it covers the whole area before you put soil and plants in it.
The Growroom is enabled by research and design lab SPACE10 and Danish architects Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum.
All architectural drawings are by Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum.