Why the world needs projects like Farm491

At SRA Architects we are fortunate to work in forward-thinking, innovative sectors that are constantly adapting and evolving. The Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, the oldest agricultural college in the English speaking world, is a good example. It has been at the forefront of agricultural education since 1845, offering comprehensive teaching as well as research and development in agricultural technology and food security.

That's where Farm491 comes in. We recently presented at a public consultation at the RAU's new agritech innovation & incubation building. Guests saw for themselves how our work on this groundbreaking building will affect farming communities not only locally but on a national and international scale.

The clue is in the name. Farm491 has 491 hectares of farmland with state of the art equipment to use for product testing to secure our food supply future.

But why are projects like Farm491 important?

  • It's likely that food production will have to increase by 70% to meet the global population's future food needs - 9 billion people by 2050

  • Meat production around the world, if our current consumption rate continues, will have to increase 42%

  • Currently, 40% of the world's food is thrown away as waste. So, we need a better way of sourcing and storing our food

  • The agri-tech industry is currently valued at £400 billion globally. 450,000 people are employed by agriculture and agritech in the UK alone, and the UK food and drink industry is worth £103 billion – that’s more than automotive and aerospace. It's important that global leaders have an input on how we live in the future

  • In 2015, the UK government pledged £130 million to agricultural science and technology investment

Food security is a global issue, which is why we're very proud to be working on this project in conjunction with RAU and Farm491 to provide affordable co-working environments where budding entrepreneurs can grow their business.

We are also working with the RAU in line with their commitment to sustainability and their pledge to reduce CO2 emissions campus wide. We have designed a building that has a low energy approach innate to the project. Natural daylight is maximised by large areas of glazing on both north and south facades, and lower level windows are operable on ground and first floor to provide natural ventilation. At ground floor, air is drawn through deep open spaces to the south side via exhaust vents, which discharge air through the north facade. The building requires no additional cooling other than assisted natural ventilation.

The university is committed to sustainability across all areas and you can read more here on how they do this.

We were delighted and encouraged to receive so many positive comments at the public consultation, and look forward to the next stage of this exciting project.

Watch the video below of Project Partner David Beckett and Associate Andrew Brooks discussing the new design at the public consultation.

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