Seeking to explore power as crucial factor in the design of the built environment, we will look at energy systems and related objects, from sites of generation to spaces of consumption, from distribution networks to control rooms.

Tutors: Filip Geerts and Sanne van den Breemer
Director of Studies: Salomon Frausto

Contributors: Santiago Ardila, Juan Benavides, Daniella Camarena, Stef Dingen, Marco Fusco, Jack Garay Arauzo, Theodora Gelali, Shaiwanti Gupta, Hao Hsu, Marianthi Papangelopoulou, Felipe Quintero, Gent Shehu, Siyuan Wang


Public opinion, Food, Waste, Recycle, Building, Earthquake, Technology, Economy, Illustration

Mairai, the world’s largest indoor farm, is located in Miyagi prefecture in Japan. The farm is an adaptive reuse building by an abandoned Sony factory. Comparing to traditional farmland, the agriculture factory, with 25,000 square feet of futuristic garden beds and 17,500 LEDs lights in a bacteria-free and pesticide-free environment, the farm could improve the growth percentage of lettuce, lowering food waste from the 40 percent for lettuce grown outdoors to less than 3 percent, which harvests 10,000 heads of fresh lettuce every day. Mairai also applies new technology to reduce water usage, declining unnecessary water wasting.1
    The determining factor to make indoor farms successful is illumination. To cost down the use of energy, Mairai uses fluorescent lamps as artificial illumination in the beginning period, but the quantity of increasing products yielded by fluorescent lamps cannot cover the cost of energy of fluorescent lamps. Therefore, the team of Mairai developed LEDs which are able to produce light in wavelengths adapted to plant growth. It leads to energy consumption decreased by 40 percent compared to fluorescent lighting and yield of vegetables to increases by 50 percent. Plants grow faster, and the usage of power and water are used less than outdoor farms, with 99 percent less water usage and 80 percent less food waste. The farm could recover the cost of the LED lights, making the cost of artificial lighting worth
    Mairai is situated in the area where the place was damaged by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Since the area is heavily relying on importing after the disaster, Mairai aims to demonstrate that this area is proper to grow vegetables now and help this disaster region restart the economic development by its own capacity.

1. National Geographic. “Q&A: Inside the World’s largest Indoor Farm“, last modified July 19, 2014,
2. EcoWatch. “World's Largest 'Vegetable Factory' Revolutionizes Indoor Farming”, last modified Jan 28, 2015,