Square Roots 1.0: “Hyper-Dense Urban Hydroponic Agriculture” 

Square Roots hired ORE to create their company’s proof of concept: their first urban farming campus and an office/community educational space.

Square Roots came to the old Pfizer building, home to 600,000 sq. ft. of small food and beverage producers, start-ups, non-profits and food kitchens and commissaries. The Square Roots campus consists of an office space located on the 3rd floor of the building and ten hydroponic, controlled-climate container farms in the parking lot downstairs.

One of ORE’s challenges in this project was re-engineering the off-the-shelf technology (Hydroponics within 40 foot refrigerated shipping containters) to fit within New York’s dense, urban environment.  One of the modifications: ORE redesigned the water supply and waste disposal systems to be treated naturally in an on-site bioswale. ORE designed an end of each container to receive an insulated glass, storefront window.  We felt this additions was important so visitors to the farm could witness the technology at work within each container, without compromising the farms’ performance.

Each hydroponic farm in the campus of shipping containers can yield more than more 50 lbs of leafy greens each week (the equivalent of two acres of farmland annually) and only needs about eight gallons of water a day. The vertical hydroponics create extremely dense crop yield.




At the heart of Square Roots is the Next-Gen farmer training program, which creates opportunities for more people to become farmers—and future leaders in urban farming—through a year-long internship.


Client: Square Roots
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Area: 14,000 sf
Status: Completed 2016
Photos: ©Square Roots