Since at least as early as ancient Roman times, humans have recognized the value of what is now known as controlled environment agriculture, allowing farmers to cultivate plants year-round rather than seasonally. Though they were invented hundreds of years ago, greenhouses continue to be the most popular means of controlled environment agriculture today, with innovations in technology and design having improved both the beauty and efficacy of this typology. Below, we will explore in detail the history and structure of the greenhouse, as well as several examples of innovative and experimental greenhouse design.
Greenhouse: The Latest Architecture and News
While the United States’ green-building industry was still relatively slow in the early 1990’s, Herman Miller, who are known for their architectural experimentation, decided to construct a new facility for Simple, Quick, Affordable (SQA), a company that bought used office furniture to refurbish them and sell them to smaller businesses. To do so, they chose to build sustainably, a design approach that was not yet utilized in the region.
Designed by New York architect William McDonough, the 295,000 sq ft building (approx. 90,000 sqm) was built in Holland, Michigan in 1995. The facility’s design qualities, such as storm-water management, air-filtering systems, and 66 skylights, helped set the standards for the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Certification.
In the aftermath of the blaze that destroyed the roof of Paris’ iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral, Studio NAB has envisioned a replacement “greenhouse roof.” Described as a cathedral “in green for all,” the project would see the creation of rooftop greenhouse that embraces the reintroduction of biodiversity, education, and solidarity.
French firm Coldefy & Associates has unveiled images of their design proposal for the world’s largest tropical greenhouse under one roof. Situated in Pas-de-Calais, France, “Tropicalia” will cover an area of 215,000 square feet (20,000 square meters) featuring a tropical forest, turtle beach, a pool for Amazonian fish, and a one-kilometer-long walking trail. The biome aims to offer a “harmonious haven” where visitors are immediately immersed in a seemingly natural environment under a single domed roof.
Over the following weeks we will be sharing a selection of unrealized student projects, alongside realized schemes by practices who explore representational techniques, in collaboration with KooZA/rch. The aim is "to explore the role of the architectural drawing as a tool for communication" and, in the process, provoke a conversation about the contemporary use, format, and role of drawing.