The City of Melbourne is looking for companies to inhabit a 900-square-metre greenhouse that will be suspended nine metres above a temporary market pavilion while the Queen Victoria Market redevelopment is underway.

Designed by Breathe Architecture, which spearheaded the Nightingale Housing movement, the $5.6 million, 120-metre-long glass-roofed area is being set aside to pilot innovative concepts that could include “sustainability, technology, education and hospitality” uses.

“More than 10 million people visit Queen Victoria Market every year, so this is an unprecedented opportunity for specialists in fresh food production, education, hospitality, sustainability and technology to fit out and operate a coveted space,” deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said.

“From gardens filled with heirloom fruit, vegetables and Indigenous plants to a microbrewery, bakery and cooking displays, the sky’s the limit for what could be achieved in this exciting new rooftop area.”

Breathe’s design, which also includes a cooling system to keep the space at 28°C during hot summer’s days, was chosen by five market traders from four competing proposals.

The temporary market pavilion is being constructed along Queen Street so that traders can continue to stay open while the market upgrade is under way. It will feature an open air trading floor, with the glasshouse to be suspended on columns nine metres above.

“We are committed to ensuring there are plenty of reasons for customers to keep coming to Queen Victoria Market while the renewal program is underway,” Mr Wood said.

Mr Wood said the glasshouse would become a major attraction in its own right, and he expected market visitor numbers to increase.

“In addition to reflecting Queen Victoria Market’s proud tradition as a fresh produce market, the pavilion will give traders improved access to refrigeration, water, power and storage with a focus on sustainability.”

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle previously said he expected traders would want the structure retained following the completion of the renewal project.

“There may be some traders who opt to stay in the temporary market rather than move back to sheds A and B,” he told the Herald Sun.

Construction on the temporary modular structure should begin next month, with traders set to relocate in March 2018 and the greenhouse to begin operating in mid-2018.

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