How to build a window farm in bamboo? A prototype
Here is a prototype of a bamboo shelf to grow plants at home behind a window.
When we moved from the forest to Taipei, a huge city, we started to wonder how we could still grow things in our 18 m2 apartment. As soon as I saw that our bathroom had such a large window, with so much sunlight entering, I could not resist designing this bamboo window farm!
I started to make a list of needs, a few sketches, and a 3D model. But I eventually stopped there as I got busy with other projects. Then I realized that the bathroom was easily getting too hot. And finally, we got permission to grow plants directly on the rooftop of our building!
However, this design might be useful for you? Feel free to improve it and make it yours!
Table of content
On the top of the sketch is the space where we planned to install the window farm. The idea was to put it on the edge of our bathtub, close to the window!
Like this, any leak of water would just be collected in the bath top. And we would take our showers surrounded by a small jungle, which is, by the way, one of my dreams.
I measured the space available, tried to go as high as possible to fit more plants, squeezed as much as possible the rack depth to make sure we would still have space for showers.
We decided to use recycled plastic bottles as containers. We would have preferred another material, such as ceramic or metal, but plastic would be easier to collect, handle, and recycle. I tried to compare different ways of positioning the bottles, and I eventually found that the vertical position would be the best in our case.
After deciding the size of the shelf and the way to put the plants, I tried to draw a more precise sketch with details of the bamboo structure.
The plan was to maintain the plastic bottles using old chopsticks crossing the bottles. This way, each tray would only need two horizontal bamboo tubes to maintain the chopsticks, and we would be able to easily move the plants from one place to another if needed.
This way, I assessed that we could put 36 plants on our window farm.
After making a few sketches, I started to build a small 3D model using wood sticks and glue from a nearby grocery store.
I really like to build 3D models to make sure I am not missing anything important in terms of structure and space. As you can see, the 3D model looks higher and shallower than on my sketches that were not accurate. With this small version showing the actual proportions, it was much easier to discuss with Hsiao-Hang to make sure we agreed on the plans.
At that point, my bet was that the dowel system I was about to use to join the bamboo tubes would act as a cross-bracing. But, in case this would not provide enough stability, I planned to try adding diagonal strings behind the real-scale shelf to increase the strength.
As the project stopped at this stage, this 3D model is now a tiny decoration in our flat, a reminiscence of a farming idea that once crossed my mind!
Do you want to adapt this design?
Like all our designs, this one is under an open license, meaning that you are free to adapt it, as long as you give credit to our work by mentioning “Elegant Experiments” with a link to www.elegantexperiments.net
Will you develop your own version? We would be very interested to see the result!
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