Tuesday, February 10, 2009

VIA: Urban Greenery

The blog/tumblr Urban Greenery offers a constant and seemingly endless stream of vegetated architecture in action, call it daily green, thus the theme of this installation of VIA focuses around a bevy of posts from this source (with a few others thrown in for measure).

One of the most stunning is from Core77, combining mass transit and greenery - via UG: ""Växtväggen (Swedish for “Plantwall”) is a self-supporting system composed of a reinforced, multi-layered, synthetic and absorbent felt-surface on which plants are applied into small pockets. Michael says: ‘Just like any garden, the vertical garden is a place of life and change. I try to achieve it by finding the essence of every plant - it could be a special color of its leafs, its texture, the way it growths etc - and give each species an environment where this may be at display.'"

:: image via Urban Greenery

There's a wealth of other vertical greenery on the site, including some visuals cribbed from an old post via PingMag... including these elevators from Patrick Blanc.

:: Green Elevator in Bangkok - image via Urban Greenery

:: Green Elevator - image via Urban Greenery

And this recent post, showing that rainwater harvesting systems don't need to be ugly and utilitarian. "“CISTA is a rain water harvesting system designed for urban environments. It provides storage for rain water within a vertical planted frame, allowing us to conserve water and increase green space.”

:: image via Urban Greenery

And some ephemera...

:: Secret Garden in NYC - image via Urban Greenery

:: Roof Garden, Chongqing, China - image via Urban Greenery

:: Roof Garden, Boston - image via Urban Greenery

:: Roof Garden, Toronto - image via Urban Greenery

And a project that has made the rounds in the past few days... SYNTHe, by Alexis Rochas. One of those wow projects that doesn't really ellicit much critical dialogue - it's a pretty stunning, beautiful and horribly inefficient way to grow veggies... pretty apt for LA :)

:: image via Urban Greenery

:: additional image via Inhabitat

More VIA and VIVA on the way as the coffers are full... stay tuned.


  1. SYNTHe inefficient? In terms of labor input, infrastructure resources? How did you mean? I think it's strange that green roofs are being touted as the answer to city greening in drought-prone and desert areas, so am curious about this...

  2. I meant it's inefficient in it's use of space for growing vegetables... that's all. Thin strips, and single rows make for a nice concept but not necessarily easy to maintain gardens. The idea of capturing the additional space atop the building, and adding function to it via greenery, and production is all great, and as a visual gesture it's stunning. But on a sf basis of productive land to labor to inputs I'm just pointing out that perhaps it's not be best way to get food on the plate. Also, when not growing vegetables, many of the supposed benefits are minimized due to reduced plant mass and shading potential.

    Not to miss downplay or miss the beauty and poetry of this proposal (which I really like), but urban ag needs to be less like roof gardens and more like roof farms in their use of space. (see PS1: Urban Farm, for another really cool and not terribly functional example). We need evocative as well as practical ideas.

    I do agree that the use of green roofs in drought-prone areas is worthy of discussion, as we have to weigh the inputs to the outputs in a true life cycle assessment of benefits... if a rooftop needs a bit of water, do you immediately say no, or do you look at urban heat island, stormwater, habitat, thermal efficiency, or other possible benefits? Most of the discussion is based on water use - and I agree that we shouldn't use water in drought prone areas indiscriminately, but do ideas like blue roofs or other green roof technologies have a place in the discussion? Sure.

    I think thinking in terms of infrastructure vs. greenery is our way to do this... make these things essential and the debate is less about frivolity and more about which is the best solution to our cumulative urban issues. But I sure like the look of a lot of the frivolity - and am not as engaged by the practical. It's a dilemma :)

  3. glad to hear it. I too found this project sexy and love me a closed-loop ecosystem, but see your point re. the practicalities of urban agriculture, thanks, E.


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