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5/21/2020 Pasona Urban Farm by Kono Designs

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Kate Andrews | 12 September 2013 | 8 comments

Tomato vines suspended over conference tables and broccoli fields in 3 K916 and K907 are a pair of
pared-back holiday apartments
the reception are part of working life at this Japan office by Kono in Warsaw
Designs (+ slideshow).
4 Austin Maynard Architects
adds plant-filled conservatory
in Newry house

5 Kingston Lafferty Design plays


with scale inside Cinnamon
restaurant

"We need agriculture back in our


cities and in our minds"

Pasona Urban Farm

New York firm Kono Designs created the urban farm in 2010, in a
nine-storey office building in Tokyo to allow employees to grow and
harvest their own food at work. Dezeen spoke with company
principal Yoshimi Kono this week to hear more about the project.

Precht's The Farmhouse concept


combines modular homes with
vertical farms

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Pasona Urban Farm Urban Denver building by Tres Birds


houses a Japanese restaurant and
"Workers in nearby buildings can be seen pointing out and talking aeroponic greenhouse
about new flowers and plants and even the seasons – all in the middle
of a busy intersection in Tokyo's metropolitan area," Kono told
Dezeen. "The change in the way local people think and what they talk
about was always one of the long-term goals of the project."

Lianjie Wu designs affordable


homes that are deliberately left
unfinished

Pasona Urban Farm

The creation of the new headquarters for Japanese recruitment firm


Pasona consisted of refurbishing a 50 year old building to include
office areas, an auditorium, cafeterias, a rooftop garden and urban
farming facilities. Inside the 19,974 square metre office building there
are 3995 square metres dedicated to green space that house over 200
species of plants, fruits, vegetables and rice.
Kono told Dezeen that all of the food is harvested, prepared and
served on-site in the cafeterias - making Pasona's Urban Farm the
largest farm-to-table office scheme in Japan.
Pasona employees are encourage to maintain and harvest the crops
and are supported by a team of agricultural specialists.

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"My client has a larger vision to help create new farmers in urban
areas of Japan and a renewed interest in that lifestyle," Kono told
Dezeen.
Batay-Csorba designs Milky’s
"One way to encourage this is to not just tell urban communities
Share: coffee bar in Toronto without
about farms and plants, but to actively engage with them through furniture
both a visual intervention in their busy lifestyle and educational
programs focusing on farming methods and practices that are
common in Japan," he added.

Stacie Woolsey creates her own


masters course as "viable
alternative" to design education

Pasona Urban Farm

The building has a double-skin green facade where flowers and


orange trees are planted on small balconies. From the outside, the
office block appears to be draped in green foliage.
"The design focus was not on the imposed standards of green, where
energy offsets and strict efficiency rates rule," said Kono. "But rather
on an idea of a green building that can change the way people think
about their daily lives and even their own personal career choice and
life path."

Popular Featured
jobs jobs

Pasona Urban Farm

Inside the offices, tomato vines are suspended above conference


tables, lemon and passion fruit trees are used as partitions for
meeting spaces, salad leaves are grown inside seminar rooms and
bean sprouts are grown under benches.
1 Senior architect at UNStudio
2 Part 3 architect at Tonkin Liu
3 Document
controller/administrator at
MICA Architects

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4 Contemporary practitioner -
Stanley Picker Fellowships
2020 at Stanley Picker
Gallery
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5 3D architectural visualiser at
UNStudio

Climbing frame library in Vietnam


has a thriving aquaponics system

Pasona Urban Farm

Plants hang in bags surrounding meeting desks and there are vines
growing within vertical cages and wooden plant boxes around the
building.

Studio Precht designs Parc de la


Distance for outdoor social
distancing

Pasona Urban Farm

Ducts, pipes and vertical shafts were rerouted to the perimeter of the
building to allow for maximum height ceilings and a climate control
system is used to monitor humidity, temperature and air flow in the
building to ensure it is safe for the employees and suitable for the
farm.

Dezeen Jobs

Pasona Urban Farm

"It is important not to just think about how we can use our natural Dezeen Awards
resources better from a distance, but to actively engage with nature
and create new groups of people who have a deep interest and respect
for the world they live in," said Kono.

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Pasona Urban Farm

"It is important to note that this is not a passive building with plants
on the walls, this is an actively growing building, with plantings used
for educational workshops where Pasona employees and outside
community members can come in and learn farming practices."

Pasona Urban Farm

Yoshimi Kono studied architecture in Tokyo and was a chief designer


with Shigeru Uchida at Studio 80 in Tokyo and later became partner
at Vignelli Associates in New York. He founded Kono Designs in
2000.

Pasona Urban Farm

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Plants growing on the outside and inside of buildings have been


popular on Dezeen recently. Other features include the news that
botanist Patrick Blanc has unveiled his latest green wall during Paris
Design Week this week and we reported on Blanc's collaboration with
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French architect Jean Nouvel to create the world's tallest living wall
in Sydney.
See more plant features »
See more offices »
See more green design »

Pasona Urban Farm

Photographs are courtesy of Kono Designs.


Here's a project description:

Pasona Urban Farm


Located in down-town Tokyo, Pasona HQ is a nine story high,
215,000 square foot corporate office building for a Japanese
recruitment company, Pasona Group. Instead of building a new
structure from ground up, an existing 50 years old building was
renovated, keeping its building envelope and superstructure.

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Pasona Urban Farm

The project consists of a double-skin green facade, offices, an


auditorium, cafeterias, a rooftop garden and most notably, urban
farming facilities integrated within the building. The green space
totals over 43,000 square feet with 200 species including fruits,
vegetables and rice that are harvested, prepared and served at the
cafeterias within the building. It is the largest and most direct farm-
to-table of its kind ever realised inside an office building in Japan.

Pasona Urban Farm

The double-skin green facade features seasonal flowers and orange


trees planted within the 3' deep balconies. Partially relying on natural
exterior climate, these plants create a living green wall and a dynamic
identity to the public. This was a significant loss to the net rentable
area for a commercial office. However, Pasona believed in the
benefits of urban farm and green space to engage the public and to
provide better workspace for their employees.

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Pasona Urban Farm

The balconies also help shade and insulate the interiors while
providing fresh air with operable windows, a practical feature not
only rare for a mid rise commercial building but also helps reduce
heating and cooling loads of the building during moderate climate.
The entire facade is then wrapped with deep grid of fins, creating
further depth, volume and orders to the organic green wall.

Pasona Urban Farm

Within the interior, the deep beams and large columns of the existing
structure are arranged in a tight interval causing low interior ceiling
of 7'-6". With building services passing below, some area was even
lower at 6'-8". Instead, all ducts, pipes and their vertical shafts were
re-routed to the perimeter, allowing maximum height with exposed
ceilings between the beams.
Lightings are then installed, hidden on the bottom vertical edge of
the beams, turning the spaces between the beams into a large light
cove without further lowering the ceiling. This lighting method, used
throughout the workspace from second floor to 9th floor, achieved
30% less energy than the conventional ceiling mounted method.

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Pasona Urban Farm

Besides creating a better work environment, Pasona also understands


that in Japan opportunities for job placement into farming are very
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limited because of the steady decline of farming within the country.
Instead, Pasona focuses on educating and cultivating next generation
of farmers by offering public seminars, lectures and internship
programs.
The programs empower students with case studies, management
skills and financial advices to promote both traditional and urban
farming as lucrative professions and business opportunities. This was
one of the main reason for Pasona to create urban farm within their
headquarters in downtown Tokyo, aiming to reverse the declining
trend in the number of farmers and to ensure sustainable future food
production.

Pasona Urban Farm

Currently, Japan produces less than one-third of their grain locally


and imports over 50 million tons of food annually, which on average
is transported over 9,000 miles, the highest in the world. As the crops
harvested in Pasona HQ are served within the building cafeterias, it
highlights 'zero food mileage' concept of a more sustainable food
distribution system that reduces energy and transportation cost.

Pasona Urban Farm

Japan's reliance on imported food is due to its limited arable land.


Merely 12% of its land is suitable for cultivation. Farmland in Pasona
HQ is highly efficient urban arable land, stacked as a vertical farm
with modern farming technology to maximise crop yields.
Despite the increased energy required in the upkeep of the plants, the
project believes in the long term benefits and sustainability in
recruiting new urban farmers to practice alternative food
distribution and production by creating more urban farmland and
reducing food mileage in Japan.

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Pasona Urban Farm

Using both hydroponic and soil based farming, in Pasona HQ, crops
and office workers share a common space. For example, tomato vines
are suspended above conference tables, lemon and passion fruit trees
are used as partitions for meeting spaces, salad leaves are grown
inside seminar rooms and bean sprouts are grown under benches.

Pasona Urban Farm

The main lobby also features a rice paddy and a broccoli field. These
crops are equipped with metal halide, HEFL, fluorescent and LED
lamps and an automatic irrigation system. An intelligent climate
control system monitors humidity, temperature and breeze to
balance human comfort during office hours and optimise crop

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growth during after hours. This maximises crop yield and annual
harvests.

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Pasona Urban Farm

Besides future sustainability of farmers, Pasona HQ's urban farm is


beyond visual and aesthetic improvement. It exposes city workers to
growing crops and interaction with farmland on a daily basis and
provides improvement in mental health, productivity and relaxation
in the workplace. Studies show that most people in urbanised
societies spend over 80% of their time indoors. Plants are also known
to improve the air quality we breathe by carbon sequestration and
removing volatile organic compound. A sampling on the air at Pasona
HQ have shown reduction of carbon dioxide where plants are
abundant. Such improvement on the air quality can increase
productivity at work by 12%, improves common symptoms of
discomfort and ailments at work by 23%, reduce absenteeism and
staff turnover cost.

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Pasona Urban Farm by Kono Designs

Employees of Pasona HQ are asked to participate in the maintenance


and harvesting of crops with the help of agricultural specialists. Such
activity encourages social interaction among employees leading to
better teamwork on the job. It also provides them with a sense of
responsibility and accomplishment in growing and maintaining the
crops that are ultimately prepared and served to their fellow co-
workers at the building's cafeterias.

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Pasona Urban Farm

Pasona Urban Farm is a unique workplace environment that


promotes higher work efficiency, social interaction, future
sustainability and engages the wider community of Tokyo by
showcasing the benefits and technology of urban agriculture.
Read more: Japan Tokyo Offices Plants Farms Slideshows
Kono Designs Vertical farms

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Dr. Quamruzzaman • 3 years ago • edited


I want to get a training on roof gardening and to
visit your project. I'm doing research on roof
gardening in Dhaka City, Bangladesh.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Mr.Traen • 7 years ago


How ridiculous can we get!? How about a solarium
150 meters under the ground!?
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

JM • 7 years ago
Japanese are the greatest people ever!
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Johannes • 7 years ago • edited


Reminds me of illegal indoor-hemp-plantation,
which the police in Germany discovered because of
the extremely high electric-consumption. Also the
skin-cancer-rate of the employes in 10 years would
be interesting. Despite the fact that this building
destroys the environment and kills the residents, I
like the balconies.
16 △ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

lol > Johannes • 3 years ago


Except Japan is better than Germany in so
many ways.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Jordi Panzram > Johannes • 7 years ago


How does this building destroy the
environment (in ways other buildings arent
already doing so) and kill the residents?
4△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Stephan > Johannes • 7 years ago • edited

Highlights
"Infection-free" Run Run Run cafe Dezeen Awards deadline AR Copy Pa
playground

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