Xiaoxu Luo



Architecture & High Performance Technology




Market Growing Tower

Australia, like much of the world, is facing a growing aging population, with over 65’s jumping from 3.5 million people today, to closer to 6 million by 2030. Research has shown that the vast majority of these residents will begin their retirement in the suburbs, often with less access to the vitality, culture, public transit and support mechanisms of denser urban areas. The question is then, how can we make hyperdense living attractive and amenable to this growing elderly population?

This project aims to answer this question through the design of a hybrid high-rise building, accommodating residential units, growing spaces, a market and sports centre on a small site in central Pyrmont. Rather than design an exclusive tower for retirees, the proposal is made up of half smaller units for the elderly, and half larger units for families all mixed-in together, creating a vibrant and diverse vertical city. All the units share balconies within an undulating double-skin façade, which acts as a growing space for the building. Inspired by the ‘vegetable patch’ the façade provides a vertical space for families and the elderly to grow their own fruit and vegetables using a hydroponic system. Any excess can be sold at the market below, providing additional income for retirees. The façade also acts as an environmental filter for the building; providing a solar buffer in the winter for free heating, but being openable to facilitate natural ventilation in the summer months. In addition, rainwater harvesting and photovoltaic panels are integrated into the façade’s technical design.

As the façade nears the ground it juts out to form the roof to a multi-level fruit and vegetable market, which will compliment Pyrmont’s nearby Fish Market. Its undulating form is inspired by the elegant iron-framed roofs that span the historic markets of the past. An adjacent train station is urbanistically aligned to the ground floor plan, providing clear access and social mobility for the residents.