Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Veg.itecture #21

A few choice projects in the realm of Vegetated Architecture. Also, stay tuned for my review of the innaugural issue of GRHCs 'Living Architecture Monitor' of which they were kind enough to send me a copy. I perused it on the bus this evening, and it's definitely one of the better resources out there (more to come soon).

But on to the projects. As we discuss Living Architecture, Vegetated Buildings, Vegetated Architecture or what ever you call it - there tends to be the span of the realistic to the visionary - and we definitely offer a selection of projects along this continuum. On the more utopian side of the scale is The Locavore Fantasia, a project that has some great visuals from Agro-architects (at least lately) Work Architecture Company, the folks whom recently brought us the stunning and simple Public Farm 1.

:: image via NY Magazine

This project envisions an apartment topped by a functioning urban farm, with an eye towards reducing the foodprint... via NY Mag: "We are interested in urban farming and the notion of trying to make our cities more sustainable by cutting the miles [food travels]..." While I appreciate that this is fiction and hyperbole - the rickety structural table legs and aerial golf course give it some whimsical flourish that makes it less interesting. I like my fantasia at least some plausibility...

And plausible was one of those things you wondered about when renderings of this next project were unveiled a few years back... but it hasn't disappointed. I do like Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences building a lot, and it's definitely worth another look if Vanity Fair is going to dedicate some space to this "...fusion of nature and structure." Perhaps the first green roof in VF? Not sure, but probably a good bet. Check the nice photos with the vegetation filling in... And don't let Madonna on the cover scare you away...

:: images via Vanity Fair

A couple from WAN (they cover the world - and a lot of this Veg.itecture is happening out there... not in here) starting with the Emonika City Centre in Slovenia by HOK International. City Centre is a nice way of saying 'mall' - although I've said before what better type of building to do some rooftop greening that massive shopping structures...? Although a bit more of that mass could've been greened up a bit aside from the central glass atria.

:: image via WAN

The next project is a little difficult to discern. Monaco House in Melbourne is a project by McBride Charles Ryan which looks a little origami and contains ground-level retail with offices above. Vegetation is both functional as well as providing respite for workers: "Outdoor balconies provide areas of release from the office desk. The ‘green roofscape’ is similar space but also adds additional insulation to the upper floor." Although from the bottom photo, I have a really hard time figuring out what purpose and amenity this is supposed to bring, aside from putting green?

:: images via WAN

And what would a version of Veg.itecture be without some mega-project that has biomimicked a natural form. In this case The Design Blog offers Metropolia from Moscow, a business complex which takes the form of a very, very large lotus blossom. I'm not sure of the significance of the lotus in the Russian spirituality - but I'm sure that it may have something do to with the otherworldly power source emanating from the center.

:: image via The Design Blog

We end with a project that I really appreciate - both for it's great design and amazingly high price tag that I still can't imagine or begin to fathom... the esteemed ASLA Headquarters Green Roof in Washington DC. Featured recently on an extensive MSNBC profile of green roofs (along with Millenium Park and Ford Rouge Center) - the ASLA project also unveiled a pedogogical aspect with the new educational website that explains green roof benefits and does offer a zoomy if somewhat disorienting 360-degree tour of the project. No where on this site did I find out what you must do to design a roof with $300/s.f. price tag...

:: image via Places and Spaces

Now this... this is green roof with a $300/s.f. price tag... you go Wally!

:: image via Treehugger

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