For sustainable society


Asia’s largest rooftop farm

It is incredible that people in the past built rice terraces on the mountains. There is an architect who has made the rice terrace in the city in these modern days. Thailand, one of the world’s rich rice-producing countries, has the latest rice terrace. It has been built on the rooftop of Thammasat University, one of the oldest universities in the capital, Bangkok.

This rice terrace, called the rooftop farm “Green Roof,” is not just a roof greening. Rice terraces have a function as flood-control dams that retain part of the rain that falls on mountains and forests. In October 2011, one-fifth of the city was fully sunk by floods in record heavy rains in Bangkok. In the situation that flood control in the rainy season has been an issue for many years, the system of rice terrace has been incorporated into the structure of the newly constructed building. Like in Japan, rice terraces have been traditionally built also in the mountainous area in Thailand. The terrace with plants can slow down rainwater runoff for up to 20 times compared to a concrete rooftop. 

Such a functional green roof also has the potential as a model case of new local production for local consumption. The rice produced on the rooftop is used in the college campus cafeteria, and the remaining is composted and reused on the farm. It is notable that small-scale farmers and students inside and around the campus manage the fields and create employment and that unwanted electricity and waste produced during processing, packaging, transportation are reduced. 

According to the United Nations, 55% of people on the planet live in urban areas as of 2018. It is estimated that more than 68%, or two-thirds of humanity, will live in urban areas by 2050. Now, the key is “sustainable urbanization.” There is a need to build a system to produce foods, which have been produced in rural areas so far, in urban areas and to try not to create slums. The Green Roof is providing answers to these challenges.

Kotchakorn Voraakhom, an architect in Landprocess, who was in charge of the design, said that she began thinking about green spaces that could withstand heavy rains, after the floods in 2011. “There are limited opportunities to create new green spaces in cities, and rooftop farms are an easy and effective solution. They should be the norm,” she added. 

Photo:  Landprocess / FB

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