Modular Farm Concept Brings Nature to the Heart of New York

Modular Farm Concept Brings Nature to the Heart of New York

Ecosystem on First Avenue could produce food, harvest energy and recycle water and waste

Vashti Hallissey
  • 28 july 2014

As city life becomes predominant, the closest most of us get to the countryside is by playing Farmville or scrolling through photos of the natural world on Instagram. Hong Kong’s OVA Studio wants to change all that by bringing a modular farm to First Avenue, letting people pick their own food, farm fish or even tend to their own garden high above the city streets.


Hive-Inn City Farm is an idea for a vertical farm that brings people closer to nature and makes freshly grown food accessible to all. Ova Studio, a multidisciplinary design office, envisions the concept as a way to incorporate nature into an increasingly urbanized world.

Slimane Ouahes, Founder and Director of Ova Studio, tells PSFK:


After proposing the Hive-Inn Hotel concept back in April, we thought that this structure could accommodate various types of contents. Just change the container and you will change the usage. It may also apply in case of sports events, when accommodation is no longer needed, Hive-inn could reshape itself into a farm.

The farm, like the hotel that Ouahes mentions, is made of stacked containers that can be added to and transported individually or as an entire unit. In the case of the farm, each module plays a part in the overall eco-system. They can be used to grow food, harvest energy and recycle water and waste, making the entire farm self-sustaining. Containers on the outside of the structure would make use of sunshine and those further in would host organic hydroponic cultures fuelled by artificial light.


“It will bring back a bit of nature in our urbanised environments, cut down the food production chain, let people benefit from fresh food and also from being able to visit where the food is produced,” explains Ouahes.

Ova Studio imagines the first location of the Hive-Inn City Farm as New York’s First Avenure, on the site of a vacant parking lot.

Ouahes tells us:

We wanted to go for an iconic city crowded with skyscrapers to bring a contrast. New York was a perfect candidate, it is regarded worldwide as a city of new and emerging ideas.



They see the modules as having different uses, such as growing spaces for restaurants, brands and community kitchens, farms for small livestock, bees and fish and as educational areas for urban kids.

Oauhes expands upon these potential uses:

Private gardens, local restaurants vegetable production, major organic food production companies, local farm visits for schools. It would bring fresh food directly to consumers… Has anyone ever tried a Big Apple salad?

As the structure consists of moveable parts, if a person who owns a container moves it can be shipped to their new location. Similarly, during the winter, the open containers could be transported to sunny climes to benefit from the weather and returned in the summer months.

While New York is pictured as the first location, OVA Studio would also like to establish vertical farms in cities such as Seoul, Shanghai, Berlin, Toronto and Seattle.

If actualized, this concept could improve urban life by bringing the countryside to the city. You could leave the office and go to your garden among the skyscrapers, pick your own food for dinner or just lie back and smell the flowers. It sounds idyllic so let’s hope OVA Studio finds a partner who can make it a reality.

Hive-Inn City Farm


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