Project Info
Food Systems 2016
Project Overview

Nexloop is a hyper-local, biomimetic strategy to visibly network rainwater into closed-loop urban food production. Our mission is to increase hyper-local urban food production, decouple localized irrigation from the city grid, and increase visibility of food system processes. Nexloop retrofits multistory residential building facades to promote small-scale, personalized food production. The design functions at the scale of the window to harness rainwater and provide in situ irrigation for sustainable hydroponic food production in individual urban homes. We aim to shift the paradigm of how urban populations relate to food consumption and access by bringing visibility and human-centered design to the food system.  Nexloop addresses scale and the underlying system function with a bottom-up approach. The process of using rainwater to grow food inside requires the integration of multiple functions and a symbiotic relationship between system components. Looking at a variety of biomimetic strategies allows us to design a system that efficiently captures, stores, and distributes water for indoor growing.The principal system components are a horizontal module and vertical membrane that utilize superhydrophobic and superhydrophilic surfaces and capillary action to channel water to indoor spaces. A unique, rhizomatic system within the module passively delivers water to the organic roots of edible plants. The vertical membrane provides additional surface area for water collection and integrates water storage for additional uptake to prevent the system from flooding. Our vision is a food-water nexus capable of sustainable, closed-loop urban living. We intend to scale-up to facilitate building-wide adoption and citywide integration of the system to offset the needs of imported water from local water districts and regional sources, reduce the amount of water entering sewage systems, and decrease street runoff into the rivers and NY Harbor. A modular, scalable, systems approach is the foundation for a sustainable urban food system.

Team Members

Jacob Russo, Stephanie Newcomb, Alexa Nicolas, Anamarija Frankic, Dale Clifford, ,