Urban Vertical Mushroom Farms at ARCAM Food and Architecture Fair – 1st place Jury selection

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Jacques Abelman/groundcondition in collaboration with Marijke Bruinsma/de Stuurlui stedenbouw

This projects aims to capture a part of the urban waste stream in the form of used coffee grounds and transform it into food— delicious oyster mushrooms.

At the same time, the project aims to makes the process of recuperation, transformation, and harvesting visible by locating it in public space.

Our point of departure was the fact that Amsterdam has over 4000 cafes, hotels, and restaurants that generate around 20,000 kilos of coffee grounds every day.  The spent coffee is normally mixed with other trash and landfilled.

Mushrooms are such efficient biological machines— 100% bio-efficient according to mycologist Paul Stamets— that a quarter of the mass of the used coffee becomes mushrooms. The end product of growth, besides the protein rich oysters, is a rich humus that’s a sort of super-compost.

Our idea is to partner with restaurants and cafes in central Amsterdam and use the many narrow, protected, and shaded alleys or stegen to site our vertical mushroom tubes. Our intention is also to beautify the space, and make ignored and underutilized alleys in to magical, mysterious, and nutritional destinations.

We showed the prototype at the “Appetizing Architecture” / ARCAM Food and Architecture Fair and were selected as winners from among eight finalist projects.


Time Out Amsterdam : Vision 2020

Time Out : Visions of Amsterdam 2020

LAgroup is a leisure and arts consultancy firm that has developed plans for the Amsterdam Hermitage,
the NDSM, Paradiso and the Westergasfabriek.

Concepts by Johan Idema

Illustrations by Jacques Abelman

Where have all the mavericks gone? To make
Amsterdam a truly world-class city, we need
grand projects that can revitalise the city with
acupunctural intensity – a next Eiffel Tower or
Woodstock. Let’s dream up breakthrough plans
that will push the city to the limits of our imaginations.
Here are two:

Zeppelinning Waterland
The Swiss Alps are melting, but the beautiful
Dutch landscape, built with the famous engineering
know-how of our ancestors, is still going
to be breathtaking in 2020. Instead of just
looking at nature via 17th-century landscape
painting at the Rijksmuseum, let’s let tourists
visit for themselves. Build a Zeppelin pad in
Museumplein that will take visitors straight to
Waterland, a stone’s throw to the north of Amsterdam.
From above, they can view the dykes,
ditches, historic windmills and farming communities
while enjoying a local lunch – may we
suggest Beemster cheese and buttermilk?

The People’s Park
In the digital age more people than ever are
sharing and collaborating on creative ideas.
Let’s build a public space in which everyone
has a say. The People’s Park is Lowlands meets
Westerpark. Lots of people can make decisions
about how the space is used. Each citizen can
buy land by the pixel (5x5m2 plots). They can
keep them for themselves or lend them to a
friend, artist or institution that needs space for
temporary projects. People can post proposals
online and stakeholders of the park can vote
with their pixels. If enough stakeholders agree,
we might get an urban skyscraper garden in the
summer, or a wooden LED sauna village in the
winter. The grid becomes the ultimate democratising