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Vertical Gardens: The Latest Architecture and News

Can Exterior Green Walls Contribute to a Carbon Neutral Architecture?

London's Largest "Living Wall" / Gary Grant. Image Courtesy of Green Roof Consultancy and Treebox
London's Largest "Living Wall" / Gary Grant. Image Courtesy of Green Roof Consultancy and Treebox

A carbon neutral building is achieved when the amount of CO2 emissions is balanced by climate-positive initiatives so that the net carbon footprint over time is zero. Considering their unmatched ability to absorb CO2, planting trees is often viewed as the best carbon offsetting solution. But as cities become denser and the amount of available horizontal space for green areas drastically reduces, architects have been forced to explore other approaches. Therefore, to address these climatic challenges and connect people to nature, exterior green walls have become a rising trend in increasingly vertical cities. Even if there is research to claim that these can positively impact the environment, many question if they can actually contribute to a carbon neutral architecture. Although the answer may be quite complex, there seems to be a consensus: green walls can be effective, but only through good design.

Natural Tapestry: Indoor Vertical Gardens in Different Project Types

Humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature, regardless of the physical or geographical conditions in which we find ourselves. As we become increasingly detached from the wilderness, we develop means and strategies to bring nature back into our daily lives, even if only for a few moments.

There are many ways of domesticating nature, as seen throughout the history of mankind, through fascinating structures that challenge technical limitations, such as vertical indoor gardens.

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PLP Architecture Reveals Design for Residential Development in Singapore

PLP revealed its design for a luxury residential tower in Singapore, featuring a lush vertical garden inspired by the city’s greenery. The biophilic design that blurs the line between indoor living areas and outdoor spaces strives to redefine metropolitan living by promoting health and wellbeing.

Vertical Greenery: Impacts on the Urban Landscape

With the increase of urban density and the decrease in the availability of land, the verticalization phenomenon has intensified in cities all over the world. Similar to the vertical growth of buildings — which is often a divisive issue for architects and urban planners — many initiatives have sought in the vertical dimension a possibility to foster the use of vegetation in urban areas. Vertical gardens, farms and forests, rooftop vegetable gardens, and elevated structures for urban agriculture are some of the many possibilities of verticalization in plant cultivation, each with its unique characteristics and specific impacts on the city and its inhabitants.

But is verticalization the ideal solution to make cities greener? And what are the impacts of this action in urban areas? Furthermore, what benefits of urban plants are lost when adopting vertical solutions instead of promoting its cultivation directly on the ground?

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Green Interiors Trends From Around The World

There is not enough that can be said about the benefits of incorporating plants in interiors or Plantscaping. Integrating vegetation indoors serves many purposes whether practical, aesthetic or psychological. Although there are basic requirements for incorporating greenery into Homes, well thought out plant selections and placements are characteristically different across the world. By going over recent interior works, a few recurrent plantscaping design patterns arose, each reflective of distinctive climates, building styles and traditional building techniques.

While the type of the chosen plants varies depending on favorable conditions for growth and local availability, the main distinctions are related to the direct environment and display method in which the vegetation is set, as well as its intended purpose. While plants are there to offer mental wellness to some, they are essential for cooling to other or could even be meant for small scale farming.

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Adding Fresh Hanging Gardens to Residential Architecture

Adding Fresh Hanging Gardens to Residential ArchitectureAdding Fresh Hanging Gardens to Residential ArchitectureAdding Fresh Hanging Gardens to Residential ArchitectureAdding Fresh Hanging Gardens to Residential Architecture+ 28

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.

Koichi Takada Unveils World’s Most Dense Vertical Gardens, for a Mixed-Use Highrise in Brisbane, Australia

Urban Forest, a 30-story mixed-use residential high-rise is the latest development designed by Koichi Takada Architects. Located in South Brisbane, Australia, the building features one of the world’s most densely-forested vertical gardens, going beyond regular green buildings norms and achieving “300% site cover with living greenery, featuring 1000 plus trees and more than 20,000 plants selected from 259 native species”. Increasing biodiversity and reducing the ecological footprint, the structure highlights another stage in the evolution of the architectural vertical garden.

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FAAB Architektura Imagines Vertical Oasis Building in Saudi Arabia

Warsaw-based FAAB studio envisioned a mixed-use development that enhances its own environment, while involving its inhabitants in the process. In fact, the prototype architectural intervention aims to give tools for people to control and manage the changing climate.

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How to Incorporate Gardens in Home Design

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Indoor gardens can contribute important benefits to home living, ranging from aesthetic beauty to improved health and productivity. Research has shown that indoor plants help eliminate indoor air pollutants called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that emanate from adhesives, furnishings, clothing, and solvents, and are known to cause illnesses. They also increase subjective perceptions of concentration and satisfaction, as well as objective measures of productivity. Indoor gardens may even reduce energy use and costs because of the reduced need for air circulation. These benefits complement the obvious aesthetic advantages of a well-designed garden, making the indoor garden an attractive residential feature on several fronts.

Aedas Unveil Design for an Undulating Office Complex in Central China

The internationally recognized architecture firm Aedas has unveiled their design for the Zhenghong Property Air Harbour Office Project. The sprawling and interconnected 196 foot-tall three-tower complex is proposed for the city of Zhengzhou, the capital of the Henan Province in central China—one of the regions' largest transportation hubs. Occupying a relatively narrow site, the towers are woven together by a rhythmic glass facade inspired by the formal qualities of the winding Yellow River.

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How to Build a DIY Vertical Garden

About thirty years ago, French landscape architect Patrick Blanc became a pioneer in the implementation of vertical gardens in Paris, and later in other cities around the world. Through the creation of vertical structures capable nourishing plant species, these systems allow species to grow on the facades of buildings, considerably reducing a structure's internal temperature and allowing the expansion of green areas to new (vertical) territories within the city.

Blanc's creation was part of a series of developments in understanding what nature adds to the city, recognizing the value of green spaces and their contribution to social, environmental and urban policies. 

Milroy Perera Designs World's Tallest Residential Vertical Garden

Milroy Perera Associates, in collaboration with Mäga Engineering, has unveiled plans for the world's tallest residential vertical garden in Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka. The Clearpoint tower will house 164 apartments spread across 46 floors within 10 kkilometers from the centre of Columbo. Overlooking the tributaries of the Diyawanna Lake in Kotte, planted viewing terraces will encircle the entire structure fed by "inbuilt self-sustaining watering systems."

Subterranean Concrete Orgy / Toki Drobnjakovic and Per Sundberg

The Subterranean Concrete Orgy by Toki Drobnjakovic and Per Sundberg (Per & Toki) is a reinvention of the "infamous" Blue Star building in Stockholm. The designers, looking for a new studio and office space for Studioverket, have collaborated with concrete producer Butong to realize a space of "homogenous diversity" by using a new type of concrete sealed air bubble casting. By incorporating new design features and in reinventing some of the existing, the basement space has been transformed from pornography shop to elegant studio defined by a series of unique interventions. See the changes after the break...