Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture and its partners won a design award for its Vegetable Palace in West Flanders: an ambitious building for research and demonstrations in the field of vegetable cultivation. ‘This constitutes an unprecedented development in urban rooftop gardening,’ says Jan Willem de Vries van Wageningen UR. ‘It will be the biggest in Europe, for which we will be happy to make available all our expertise.’

A team of designers from the Greenhouse Horticulture division of Wageningen University Research Centre, Van Bergen Kolpa Architecten, Meta, Smiemans and Tractebel Engineers jointly produced the innovative designs for the Vegetable Palace: a genuine landmark for ‘The Green Hub’ on the Roeselare ring road.  The building will be built on the roof of REO Veiling, Belgian’s fruit and vegetable auction and the food logistics heart of West Flanders. The Vegetable Palace is constructed from glass and steel, an airy greenhouse frame that rests on the concrete pillar of the auction building. The project, with its innovative design, is to be an example for urban food production, the intensive use of space, circular energy and water consumption and sustainability in greenhouse horticulture.


The 9,500 m2 building will house high-tech research facilities for the cultivation of fruit and green leafy vegetables, surrounded by an educational routing for the general public. The cultivation of tomatoes and lettuce, as well as pepper and strawberries can be experienced hands-on in four different climate zones.  The entrance, with an imposing staircase, leads to the Urban Farming Square with visitor facilities at the heart of the building. The ‘Façade Greenhouse’ at the ring road will feature a special greenhouse that will focus on innovation in vertical farming and that will be twice as high as conventional greenhouses. Rainwater will be collected at the foot of this ‘Façade Greenhouse’ with a reed filter for the purification of waste water.

Construction of the greenhouse is scheduled to start in early 2017, and it is expected to open its doors to growers, researchers and the general public at the beginning of 2018.

Source: Wageningen UR Glastuinbouw. Photo: Van Bergen Kolpa Architecten.