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Pigs Raised in Skyscrapers


Dutch firm (MVRDV) proposes Pig City

From MVRDV document:

Can we combine organic farming with a further concentration of the production-activites so that there will be enough space for other activities? Is it possible to compact all the pig production within concentrated farms, therefore avoiding unnecessary transportation and distribution, and thereby reducing the spread of diseases? Can we through concentrated farming, create economical mass and a central food core, so as to solve the various problems found in the pig-industry?

In 2000, pork was the most consumed form of meat at 80 billion kg per year. Recent animal diseases such as Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth disease are raising serious questions about pork production and consumption. It is evident that the current pork industry cannot proceed in the same way without causing many casualties.

Two opposing reactions can be imagined. Either we change our consumption pattern and become instant vegetarians or we change the production methods and demand biological farming.

Let us assume that we remain pork-eaters. Do we then have enough space for biological pig farming?


With a production of 16.5 million tons of pork, The Netherlands is the chief exporter of pork within the European Union. In 1999, 15.2 million pigs and 15.5 million humans inhabited the Netherlands. One pig needs an area of 664 m2, including current food processing: composed of 50% intensive grain production and 50% industrial by-products.

In the case of organic farming, pigs would be fed with 100% grain, leading to a required 130% more field surface due to reduced grain production. This would cause a demand of 1726 m3 per pig, including the organic food processing. This would mean that there would be only 774 m2 per person left for other activities. In other words 75% of the Netherlands would be dedicated to pigs.

See the complete slide show on MDRDV website here. To find out more, click ‘read’ above the slideshow. Then you can read ‘About’, ‘Facts’, ‘Credits’, ‘Publications’ and ‘Exhibitions’.


1 Mark E. Smith { 04.05.09 at 11:01 am }

Does the plan provide for bio-gas production? Dealing with animal wastes is a big problem here in he U.S., particularly with factory farms. I can’t imagine that the Dutch would ever have allowed anything like that in the first place. But using wastes to produce bio-gas can be a huge energy asset for a city.

2 Aurora { 11.24.10 at 2:04 am }

What makes the idealists who create this concept think, that such means of pork production will be organic? First of all – it is questionable if keeping pigs indoors is still organic. More to the point however is, that as long as there is a high demand for cheap pork, most of the pig farms will produce cheap pork, which means that there will be skyscraper farms packed with pigs. Can anyone say chicken boxes? This is basically just stacking industrial pig production into buildings, just as it was done with chickens in the past. You get increased production, but I see it not as an inevitable conclusion that this in any ways would lead to that production beeing “organic”.

3 monica { 11.13.11 at 8:51 pm }

sorry, I can’t write very well in english:

forget all you ideas
stop thinking
we don’t need this
this is killing people, and pigs.
the age of stupid is perfectly represented in this projects.
not only for mvrdv are these words
also for all of us who waste time thinking if it can work out.

WE DON’T NEED pigs for eating them.
it is not even healthy.
please, start eating arquitects.

thank you

(an arquitect that doesn’t dream to be god)