Amidst the climate crisis, food and water scarcity pose tremendous threats to human civilization. Once abundant agrarian societies rich with food sources, Bangkok and cities across Southeast Asia are victims of unregulated urbanization on rice-producing regions. The once fertile marshlands have transformed into paralyzed concrete developments—no longer able to breathe, absorb water or grow food. To revive the land on which it stands, the Thammasat Urban Rooftop Farm (TURF) unites principles of modern landscape design with traditional agriculture of rice terraces, to transform wasted space into a productive organic rooftop farm—Asia’s largest.
Inspired by traditional agricultural practices on mountainous terrains across Southeast Asia, TURF’s landscape architect integrated the earthwork of rice terraces with modern green roof technology. The 236,806 sq. ft. cascading rooftop can slow down runoff up to 20 times more efficiently than a conventional concrete rooftop.
As rainwater zigzags down the slopes, each level of TURF harvests runoff from the previous cell, forming unique clusters of micro-watersheds along the terrace to helping absorb, filter and purify rainwater while growing food for the campus. By the end of its journey, four retention ponds await on each wing, capable of holding up to 3,095,570 gallons of water once combined. These ponds significantly reduce the volume of stormwater leaving the site while mitigating unexpected flood and drought disasters. They present a solution to storing excessive runoff during intense storms for future use during dry spells.