Last month, we looked at the 20 most-visited residential projects featured on ArchDaily during 2020. Spanning four continents and 15 countries, the styles and designs of these projects varied widely, and covered a wide range of different climates, visual contexts, and client needs. However, we noticed a commonality among a select few projects located primarily in Vietnam and Indonesia: the prevalence of hanging gardens and vines. Below, we look into this trend in more detail, discussing how it is used within these specific projects and more generally.
If ancient Hellenic sources are to be believed, hanging gardens have existed at least since antiquity, when the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon were described by writers such as Herodotus and Philo of Byzantium. Today, vertical gardens have proliferated alongside the interest in indoor plants and gardens, especially in suitable climates. This trend in architecture reflects a simultaneous uptick in interest toward sustainability and a more pastoral, back-to-nature lifestyle. In the projects listed below, several of the architects mention moving forward from an industrial past—with its concomitant environmental effects—toward a better future, or at least a secluded, fresh, and natural outpost amidst the chaos of modern city life. Indoor gardens, and the visual allure of hanging plants and climbing vines, provide the setting for such a life. These vertical designs simultaneously conserve space and embed the plants within the atmosphere of the house, ensuring the space feels as much a garden as it does a comfortable home.
To install vertical gardens correctly, architects should pay attention to climate; plant types; growing and living conditions such as light, humidity, soil, and water; space; and, of course, design. The difficulty of extensive indoor gardens is not just ensuring that the plants chosen are both aesthetically pleasing and adequate for the setting, but that the conditions of the home itself allow them to thrive. For hanging plants in particular, ensuring they receive enough water and nutrients can be a complicated endeavor. A botanist should always be consulted.
In the Greenery Curtain House by HGAA, hanging plants shroud both the exterior façade and the interior courtyard space. Designed for an elderly couple who sought a quiet, simple life, the home centers on a garden, a fish pond, and the secluded interior space. While the garden is extensive, its presence is not obnoxious; rather, the creepers hanging from the roof provide an extra level of privacy, immerse the residents further into the garden oasis, and block dust and urban noise. Altogether, they encourage an introverted lifestyle submerged in the beauty of nature despite the province’s history of low environmental quality from mining operations.
In Ster House, by DELUTION, a common wall shared by both the second and third floors of the building is encased in vines, creating visual continuity within the house while spreading the greenery across the floors. Likewise, a hanging garden extending from the main bedroom graces both the façade of the building and the internal atmosphere of the bedroom, with the floor-to-ceiling windows opening directly into the garden. Complementing these hanging centerpieces, potted plants dot the rest of the home and encase much of the exterior space as well.
Park Roof House by MDA Architecture proclaims a similar mission: to create a serene, private space filled with greenery and light for the owners’ weekend retreats. Thus, the home likewise utilizes creepers both indoors and over the façade of the home, secluding the house from the rest of the city but also interior spaces from each other. Moreover, the vertical tiers of the garden—spanning every floor of the home, including the roof—spread a natural atmosphere and soothing greenish tone throughout the house, soothing and relaxing the entire family. Finally, the terrace park on the roof is also somewhat functional, as it can transform into a botanic garden where vegetables and plants are grown for consumption—transforming the home into the ultimate secluded, inward-looking residential home.
In IH Residence by andramatin, the hanging gardens and plants on the site of the home take up almost as much space as the explicitly residential spaces themselves. A massive garden area stretches almost the entire length of the house, enclosed on one side by a retaining wall and on the other by the rest of the home itself. Vines stretch down the wall, while logs and bushes dot the floor of the garden. The adjacent first-floor hallway is open to the garden, separated only by supporting columns, merging residence with nature. However, this internal garden only complements the surrounding landscape, which includes dense shrubbery and trees visible from the homes many large windows.
Finally, although CH House by ODDO architects primarily utilizes indoor plants and gardens embedded in the floor, its use of creepers and attention to verticality deserve a special mention. With beautiful hanging vibes draping over a main living area, complemented by tall indoor trees stretching multiple floors, and finally by long hanging fans and lights, the home is an exercise in beautiful interior design centering on nature and vertical flow. The feat is especially incredible when considering the home was built in the crowded capital city of Hanoi, famous for its high population density, air pollution, and lack of greenery. Within this dense and chaotic context, the architects create a natural oasis.