Greenroofs.com Project of the Week for August 13, 2018: Hobbiton Movie Set

August 13, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Hobbiton Movie Set

Hobbiton™ Movie Set
Matamata, New Zealand
2,300 sf. Greenroofs (estimated)

Hobbiton Movie Set

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: August 13, 2018

Have you seen the Hobbit-like home in Pawling, New York that’s currently on the market?  Read my new “Hobbit Hollow for Sale in Upstate New York” to learn more about the earth sheltered passive house.  And, since the beloved furry-footed Hobbit dwellings are in the news once more, we’re featuring their “real” home: The Hobbiton™ Movie Set as our Project of the Week again.

Kia ora – Welcome to New Zealand!

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Hobbiton Movie Set

As a lifelong fan of The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) books and subsequent epic fantasy adventure movies, I naturally was extremely excited when I was in Auckland, New Zealand in 2014.  I was invited to speak at a private function organized by Graham Cleary of Natural Habitats and was overjoyed at the prospect of finally visiting Hobbiton, the movie set located on the North Island where Sir Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings (New Line Cinema) and The Hobbit (Warner Brothers) trilogies were partially filmed.

Hobbiton Movie Set

New Zealand, Aotearoa in Maori, is a beautiful, magical country with varied landscapes – gorgeous rocky beaches with beautiful shells; lush, oversized vegetation reminiscent of a land of the lost look like throwbacks to prehistoric times; rolling green hills dotted with grazing sheep; magnificent mountains with soaring jagged peaks; stunning lakes; and so much more.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Aramis and I spent about a week here on the North Island with Natural Habitats’ Graham and Louise Cleary as hosts at their lovely coastal home on the Great Barrier Island followed by a couple of days in Auckland where I had the pleasure of speaking to about 100 professionals at The Northern Club, ending in our visit to mythical Hobbiton, the highlight of my trip (Aramis is not the huge fan that I am, however even he loved it!).

Hobbiton Movie Set

As luck would have it, at the time Graham’s company was creating a greenwall for Peter Jackson and his studio, Wingnut Films Productions Limited.  At first he tried to have us visit that project, but timing didn’t allow it…so Graham arranged for a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the Hobbiton™ Movie Set from one of Wingnut Films Productions crew – Brian Massey, the Academy Award-winning art director, no less, from the LOTR!  You can imagine my geeky excitement!

Hobbiton Movie Set

Brian Massey and me at the entrance to Hobbiton within the actual property.

For more on our adventures, see my “Greenroofs.com Explores Middle-earth at Hobbiton, NZ” for tons more information and photos.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, Middle Earth.

Mini Description & Details

The vivid descriptions of the peaceful, merry, and diminutive Hobbits in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books have been brought to life through the magic of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies directed by New Zealander Peter Jackson.

Situated within the picturesque 1,250 acre Alexander sheep farm on New Zealand’s North Island, the 12-acre Hobbiton™ Movie Set represents Tolkien’s vision of the idyllic Middle-earth village of the Shire.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Hobbiton Movie Set

Hobbiton Movie Set

In 1999 a temporary movie set was constructed by Wingnut Films Productions for the multi-award winning The Lord of The Rings trilogy with a total of 37 smials, or Hobbit holes, nestled within the bucolic countryside. The original set was largely deconstructed afterwards, but was permanently rebuilt in 2011 for The Hobbit trilogy.

Hobbiton Movie Set

The gourd artist’s smial – they’re pretty small inside.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Hobbiton Movie Set

Vegetable Garden

Forty-four unique earth-sheltered Hobbit homes were constructed of stone, concrete and brick, covered with native grasses and clovers and surrounded by gardens and orchards farmed for fresh produce. There are approximately 2.3km (and growing) of hedges and 30 – 200 plants around each Hobbit house and 1.2km of hedges and mature Hobbit-scale trees were sourced from all over the local countryside.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Hobbiton Movie Set

The potter’s abode.

Hobbiton Movie Set

More

There are over 50 staff on a permanent basis – up to 180 staff over the peak period – at the Hobbiton™ Movie Set, including 7 – 8 gardeners during height of season and 5 in the winter.

Accessible only by tour, the Hobbiton™ Movie Set is now a permanent passive attraction complete with rolling greenroofed Hobbit holes, gardens, double arched bridge, thatched stone Mill and The Green Dragon™ Inn with its own distinctive thatched rolling roofs offering traditional Hobbit fare and exclusively crafted Southfarthing™ refreshments.

Hobbiton Movie Set

The Green Dragon with the stone mill and bridge in the foreground; Photo Source: Hobbiton Tours.

Hobbiton Movie Set

The Green Dragon Inn from across the lake.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Year: 2011
Owner: Alexander Farm with Peter Jackson
Location: Matamata, New Zealand
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Semi-Intensive
System: Custom
Size:
2,300 sq.ft. averaged & estimated
Slope: 9% averaged & estimated
Access: Accessible, Private

Hobbiton Movie Set

Hobbiton Movie Set

Edible flowers and herbs.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Site Design & Layout: Wingnut Films Productions Limited
Earth-Sheltered Design & Construction: Wingnut Films Productions Limited
Maintenance: Wingnut Films Productions Limited
General Manager: Russell Alexander, Hobbiton Movie Set
Hobbiton Movie Set Arborist & Art Director, The Lord of the Rings: Brian Massey

Hobbiton Movie Set

Bilbo’s Party Field.

Hobbiton Movie Set

All the Info:

View the Hobbiton™ Movie Set project profile to see ALL of the Photos and Additional Information about this particular project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Project of the Week Video Feature

Watch the Hobbiton™ Movie Set Project of the Week Video below or see it on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week 8/13/18 photo credits courtesy of Linda S. Velazquez; Tourism New Zealand by Sara Orme; and Hobbiton Tours.

Did we miss your contribution? Please let us know to add you to the Hobbiton™ Movie Set profile.

Would you like one of your projects to be featured on Greenroofs.com? We have to have a profile first! Submit Your Project Profile.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof (or Wall)!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summits Host

IFLA World Congress 18 – 19 July 2018, Singapore

July 9, 2018 at 8:12 pm

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

As our Media Partners, Greenroofs.com shares the latest on the IFLA (International Federation of Landscape Architects) World Congress 2018 Singapore with its readers, this year held in the fabulous island nation:

Biophilic Cities, Smart Nation and Future Resilience

The IFLA World Congress 2018, the largest and most significant event for landscape professionals in the world, returns to Singapore for the second time from 18 to 21 July 2018 at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.  Themed “Biophilic City, Smart Nation, and Future Resilience,” the 55th ILFA World Congress is jointly organised by IFLA and Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects (SILA), and managed by SingEx Exhibitions.

This event will examine how landscape architecture can inspire future urban designs to be more meaningfully connected to nature, bridge social connections and reinforce community resilience. The FLA World Congress Singapore 2018 will also serve as a dedicated platform for participating professionals, government bodies and academics to engage in meaningful and in-depth discussions regarding industry trends and challenges, as well as explore business opportunities and collaborations.

“Latest UN projections expect the world’s population to grow by 2.9 billion – equal to another China and India, in the next 33 years.” ~ The Guardian, 19 March 2018

The need for cities to transform into smart, sustainable and liveable spaces of the future prodded a change in terms of how “landscaping” is perceived around the world.  Landscape architects now have wider professional reach to take on more than merely landscaping.  In concert with urban planners and technologists, landscape architects are progressively making significant contributions to how cities look and function, making platforms such as the IFLA World Congress 2018 timely and apt for governments, academia and industry.

Hear from the industry experts at the 55th IFLA World Congress Singapore 2018 on 18 July – 19 July 2018, and be a part of the thought-provoking exchange on building a Smart Nation!

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

Featured Speakers

Featured speakers and paper presenters for the Smart Nation track include:

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

Aaron Tham, Director
JTC Corporation, Singapore

Punggol Digital District – A New Approach to Designing Singapore’s Next Generation Business and University District

Han Weijie
Beijing Forestry University,
People’s Republic of China

Applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Remote Sensing Technology in Landscape Architecture

Wolfgang Kessling, Partner and Principal
Trassolar, Germany

Climatecture – Outdoor Comfort in Tropical Climates

Gong Fangying
Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Hong Kong, China

Tree Canopy Quantification of Street Canyons in High-Density Urban Environments using Google Street View

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

All Members of the following associations are entitled to CPD Points for the 2-say conference:

Australian Institute of Horticulture: 6 CPD Points
Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects: 4 CPD Points
Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia: 6 CPD Points
Singapore Institute of Architects: 4 BOA-SIA CPD Points
Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects: Up to 18 CPD Points including Technical Tour
Taiwan Institute of Landscape Architects: 20 CPD Points

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

Who Will Be at the Congress?

Join these attendees who have confirmed their seats:

Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia) · Changi Airport Group (Singapore) · Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) · Deakin University (Australia) · Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) · Frasers Property Singapore · GuocoLand Singapore · Harbin Institute of Technology (China) · Housing Department, Hong Kong Housing Authority · Huayi Ecological Landscape Architecture (China) · Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya) · Parks and Recreation Foundation (Japan) · Seibu Landscape (Japan) · Sentosa Development Corporation · Seoul National University (Korea) · Singapore Polytechnic · Singapore University of Technology and Design · STX Landscape Architects (Singapore) · Surbana Jurong Consultants (Singapore) · Sydney Olympic Park Authority (Australia) · University of Cambridge (UK) · Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology (China)… and many more

Exciting Line-up of Fringe Events

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

Join us as we celebrating the winners of the first-ever AAPME Awards 2018 (Africa, Asia Pacific & Middle East) and the IFLA Asia-Pacific LA Luminary Awards 2017.

The AAPME Awards is a cross regional collaborative platform created to showcase single and multi-disciplinary projects grounded in urban landscapes. IFLA Asia-Pacific region will also be awarding the IFLA Asia-Pac LA Luminary Award 2017 to the CEOs of Gardens by the Bay, Housing & Development Board, National Parks Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority for their achievements in shaping our city and strengthening communities.

This inaugural international award is specially curated to commemorate outstanding landscape design and planning works and practices, and it is open to all IFLA regions and practitioners around the world for projects within the Africa, Asia Pacific and Middle East regions.  Secure your Awards Gala seat here.

The accompanying IFLA World Congress Singapore 2018 sponsor showcase will feature an inclusive display of landscaping solutions and innovations in the region, creating a platform for attendees to connect and collaborate, paving the way for better and more sustainable living.

Held in conjunction with IFLA World Congress 2018 is the Singapore Garden Festival (SGF).  A biennial event, positioned to be amongst the top flower and garden shows on the international calendar, SGF is the first garden show to showcase creations from the world’s top award-winning garden and floral designers under one roof, to be held from 21 July to 3 August 2018.  This is the seventh time the NParks-organised event will enchant local and international visitors alike.  Key highlights at this year’s festival include the highly popular landscape and fantasy show gardens and the floral windows to the world displays.

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore
Download the July 9, 2019 “LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE INSPIRES BIOPHILIC URBAN DESIGNS, BRIDGES MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS AND REINFORCES COMMUNITY RESILIENCEIFLA World Congress 2018 / SingEx Media Release for more exciting news.

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore: Contact Us

Congress Registration: ifla2018.reg@singex.com
Sponsorship and Exhibition: emily@singex.com
Marketing and PR: amy.tan@singex.com

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

We hope to see you at the IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore!

~ By the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) / SingEx

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

 

A truly global federation, International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) currently represents 76 national associations from Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, and a newly emerging region in the Middle East.  Our mission is to create globally sustainable and balanced living environments for the benefit of humanity worldwide.

IFLA officially represents approximately 25,000 landscape architects across the world – the actual number of landscape architects is estimated to be about three times that.  We have just been through a significant transformation to create a new, forward-thinking and more effective organisation.

Our strategic aim is to become more indispensable through the excellent services we provide to our members and through leadership that raises the profile of the profession and increases advocacy via national and international governments and NGO’s.

For more information, please visit http://iflaonline.org.

IFLA World Congress 2018 Singapore

SingEx Exhibitions is a subsidiary of SingEx Holdings, which is wholly owned by Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s investment company. SingEx Exhibitions harnesses insights and its strategic networks to organise and manage a series of trade exhibitions and conferences in various industries, including automotive, education, environment, e-commerce and logistics, technology, healthcare and lifestyle. These events aim to connect businesses in Asia and globally, and facilitate business matching with opportunities along with knowledge sharing.

For more information, visit www.singex.com.

Enjoy the Early-Bird Rate Until May 31 for the IFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore

May 24, 2018 at 5:32 pm

IFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore

IFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore

How about visiting the luscious and very green island nation of Singapore this July and staying at the fabulous Marina Bay Sands?  Come and attend the IFLA World Congress 2018!

And, as Media Partners, Greenroofs.com wants you to not miss this chance to enjoy a discounted rate when you register by May 31, 2018.

The 55th IFLA World Congress 2018 will be the largest and most significant event for landscape professionals in the world, held on July 18-21.  Supported by 5 regions – Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific, it sets the stage at the ‘City in a Garden’ for professionals, government bodies and academics to be part of the in-depth discourse on trends, challenges, and business opportunities on a global scale.

Biophilic Cities, Smart Nation and Future Resilience

Held in conjunction with the Singapore Garden Festival, the IFLA World Congress 2018 is the key platform that champions landscape architecture as a major contributor to the development of attractive, liveable, equitable, and sustainable environments of the future through the themes of Biophilic City, Smart Nation, and Future Resilience.

IFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore

The Congress promises an enriching experience that will feature the most inclusive exhibition showcase involving landscaping solutions, innovations, and products in the Asia Pacific region.

IFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore

“Singapore is a country that has made tremendous efforts in infusing nature into the heart of all urban developments. Boasting an impressive network of trails and pathways that connects parts and green spaces, the city-state has made considerable efforts to also integrate nature into its vertical spaces. Join us for a first-hand experience in exploring the deep wonders of what the city has to offer!

Delegates can look forward to be part of our specially curated Technical Tours, where we go on to explore award-winning sites right in this garden city.” ~ IFLA World Congress 2018

IFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore

The tours are just one key event at IFLA 2018, and I’m sure they will be awesome!  See the Events at a Glance.

Speakers & Research

Internationally-renowned speakers include:

DAAN ROOSEGAARDE
Studio Roosegaarde

Artist, innovator and a creative thinker Daan Roosegaarde work explores the relation between people, technology and space, such as the Smog Free Project (the largest outdoor air purifier in the
world) and the Smart Highway (roads which charge from sunlight and glow at night).

PROF. TIMOTHY BEATLEY
Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, School of Architecture, University of Virginia

Timothy Beatley’s work mainly focuses on the subject of sustainable communities, and creative strategies by which cities and towns can
fundamentally reduce their ecological footprints, while at the same time becoming more liveable and equitable places.

PROF. DR. PETER
EDWARDS

Principal Investigator, Ecosystem Services in Urban Landscapes, Future Cities Laboratory & Principal Investigator, Cooling Singapore, Singapore-ETH Centre

Peter Edwards has always had a strong interest in the application of science and technology for better policy. In Singapore, he led his teams to find means to maximize ecosystem benefits in urban
environments, and ways to mitigate the urban heat island effect in the tropics, to make cities more resilient and liveable.

 

The congress also features pioneering research in paper presentations across the Biophilic Cities, Smart Nation and Future Resilience tracks, some of which include:

Ecological Urban Placemaking, Hawaii
Materialising Microclimate: Designing with data for thermal effect, Australia
Foresting Parking Lots, Italy …..and more.

Visit and Register Today for the Early Bird Discount

Click here for the IFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore conference program.  Book your passes at the link below now to take advantage of early bird rates up until May 31!

IFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore
IFLA World Congress 2018 in SingaporeIFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore

I can’t imagine a better venue than the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore with its spectacular Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort SkyPark® by Safdie Architects, Arup and so many more.

IFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore

The views are spectacular, and I’m sure the IFLA World Congress 2018 will be, too.

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summits Host

Designing with Nature and Not against It: Translation of the Spanish Interview with Linda S. Velazquez in El País

September 29, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Diseñando con la naturaleza y no contra ella: Entrevista a la arquitecta paisajista Linda S. Velazquez sobre la necesidad de una arquitectura verde en las ciudades

Spanish interview with Isabel de Felipe in Berlin, originally published by El País on July 17, 2017

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Designing with nature and not against it:

Translation of the Spanish Interview with Linda S. Velazquez in El País on the need for green architecture in cities

Under the header of “Urban Beings” in the “Green Cities” section, here’s my translationOf course, they edited quite a bit and didn’t include all of my answers, but so be it.

NOTE: El País didn’t use any of the photos or graphics I sent, and in fact put one in of an interior courtyard landscape above – is it a greenroof?  I don’t know.  All of the photos below are my own placement!

Q & A Translation by Linda Velazquez

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Here in Alpharetta, GA at Rock Mill Park where I designed the Greenroof Pavilion & Trial Gardens.

Linda S. Velazquez is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), GRP, LEED AP. She is also the founder and publisher of Greenroofs.com (1999) and design consultant at her company Sky Gardens Design (2004). Linda studied landscape architecture at the University of Georgia (2000).

Linda writes and reports extensively about greenroofs and living architecture and has presented across the globe. Linda’s role as Greenroofs.com publisher affords many opportunities to promote the industry.  She has collaborated on numerous books including Green Cities in the World, Vertical Garden City: Singapore, and The Rise of Living Architecture, in addition to journals, magazines and online media.

Q: From your experience as a pioneer in the analysis and dissemination of urban green infrastructure, how do you perceive its evolution in the last few years?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

SOLARIS, Fusionopolis (Phase 2B), One North Singapore schematic by T. R. Hamzah & Yeang Sdn. Bhd., courtesy of Ken Yeang.

A. In my opinion, I believe our green architecture industry and market continues to grow each year because of the increasing general public interest and acknowledgement of important projects along with their associated multiple benefits – both public and private. We must also recognize the accomplishments of innovative leaders within the industry and design fields, businesses, and government at all levels who have promoted the idea and its progression further.

In the last 20 years we have seen dynamic and avant-garde designs that have drawn great attention to promote the greening of the planet with the integration of green: bioclimatic, biodiversity, biomimicry and sustainability.  Of course, construction follows financial cycles and we had a few years with fewer projects completed, but many people around the world are interested in green technologies, whether renewable energy or low impact development including green infrastructure like greenroofs and walls, and much more.

Q: Who or what are the most dynamic elements?  Architects, designers, entrepreneurs, institutions, NGOs …?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Vancouver Public Library, B.C., 1995. Currently under renovation, its new greenroof garden will be at grade with the existing maples. The top 2 floors will have a reading room, community event space, theater & public garden. Photo: American Hydrotech.

A: I think it has been a combination of experts, visionaries, and multidisciplinary professionals who have spread greenroof technology, at least here in North America.  As for early completed projects, I would have to credit collaboration between architects like Moshe Safdie and landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander with the government of Vancouver, B.C. in Canada with its spectacular Public Library (1995, currently under a major renovation to create an accessible public roof garden space).  Another innovative architect is William McDonough who worked with entrepreneurs such as the GAP in San Bruno, California (1997); the City of Chicago with its City Hall (2001), perhaps the most famous greenroof in the U.S.; and the Ford Motor Company with its River Rouge Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan (2003), which had the distinction of being the largest greenroof in the world for a few years, with 454,000 square feet.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Chicago City Hall, designed by McDonough + Partners and a multitude of multi-disciplinary professionals. Photo courtesy of Charlie Miller and Roofmeadow.

In the United States in 1997/98 the pioneers who helped me tremendously were civil engineer Charlie Miller of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; landscape architect Tom Liptan of Portland, Oregon; and the German environmental engineer Katrin Scholz-Barth who lived at that time in Minnesota.  Also, ASLA began writing on the subject during that time frame and, with thanks, I began to discover and research further, culminating in Greenroofs.com in 1999.

Q. In your presentation at the WGIC Berlin 2017 Congress, you identified the 10 most recent trends in greenroofs and walls. What are the underlying market drivers?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

A. Each trend in greenroofs and walls has several underlying factors depending on the location of the project: variables such as the needs and desires of the public and governments or the client / owner, what type of buildings are popular or necessary, different uses of a structure, aesthetic tendencies, the weather, the available products or materials, etc.

With Greenroofs.com’s annual compilation of the most popular trends, the “Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design” (since 2007), we try to highlight cutting-edge structures and designers who are outstanding, inspiring, and magnificent – underlined by the exceptional green vegetation covering the building.

Q. What effects can green infrastructure have on the population?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh: 1st & only building to meet 4 of the highest green certifications: • Living Building Challenge, world’s most rigorous green building standard • LEED® Platinum — tied for highest points awarded under version 2.2 • 1st & only Four Stars Sustainable SITES Initiative™ for landscapes project (pilot) • 1st & only WELL Building Platinum project (pilot). Photo: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

A. Instead of using “gray” infrastructure such as concrete, asphalt, or hiding rainwater in underground pipes, detention ponds, etc., designing with nature instead of against it – using vegetation and natural ecosystem services – offers a multitude of beneficial opportunities and associated effects to improve a city or locale. The integration of nature into the urban fabric produces a wide spectrum of environmental benefits for the flora, fauna and human communities of our planet.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Santalaia in Bogotá, Colombia. Photo by Groncol.

Green infrastructure’s greatest potential lies in the ability to cover impermeable surfaces with permeable plant material. Using plants with engineering systems for stormwater management results in cleaner, fresher water and at the same time reduces the volume intensity that eventually falls on the streets. This immensely ameliorates a city, which is mostly impermeable, during heavy storms, when there may be overflows of the sewer system. Green infrastructure also reduces the urban heat island effect, which can dramatically increase temperatures due to lack of trees, plants, and green areas in cities, affecting the health of many people.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Berry Architecture Office Building Green Roof, Red Deer, Canada. Bumblebee feeding on Gaillardia sp. overlooking downtown, September 2014. Photo by Cynthia Pohl.

We can re-introduce native or sometimes even endangered plants by planting roofs and walls and green facades. At the same time, this attracts wildlife back to our cities like bees, butterflies and birds. We all know that seeing and being in nature is beneficial to human beings because of biophilia, the innate attraction in our biology to connect with nature. For example, nature helps us psychologically, improves the recovery of patients, and we rejoice within its natural and open spaces.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Mashambas Skyscraper, a mobile educational center for Swahili, Africa: eVolo 2017 Skyscraper Competition Winner by Pawel Lipinski and Mateusz Frankowski.

The creation of green spaces in a city is extremely important but sometimes there is no where to build a park or vegetable garden. Why not put it on top of a public building? And we must not forget that sometimes the green infrastructure costs much less than the gray infrastructure because we are using natural systems. If the cost of building a greenroof, for example, is more expensive at the outset, it has to be understood that life-cycle costs will reduce the final cost because of lower replacement costs because it will last double, triple, or perhaps even longer. Also, the use and energy costs of the building will decrease while at the same time a fifth facade has been created for the building – a new roof or wall space previously not utilized for the use of the owner or the public.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

J.R.R. Tolkien’s vision of the idyllic Middle-Earth village home in The Shire.  Frodo’s Home, Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand, October, 2014. Photo by Linda S. Velazquez.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

The World’s 1st & largest Double LEED Platinum Museum: California Academy of Sciences (CAS) Living Roof in San Francisco. Photo by Tom Fox, courtesy of SWA Group.

Finally, using a variety of low impact development techniques can reconnect people with nature. When all the environmental, aesthetic, emotional, and economic benefits are added, we can see that green infrastructure offers sustainability benefits to many. Implemented on a local or intermediate scale, green or biophilic architecture can improve the health and well-being of a community, country, and our planet Earth.

Q: With your international vision, what are the most dynamic cities in the implementation of green infrastructure and what are their drivers?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Potsdamer Platz in Berlin – a glowing example of green infrastructure! Photo by Linda S. Velazquez, June 2017.

A: It is impossible to talk about the most dynamic cities and not start with Germany in general, since many cities like Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, and others have been leaders for the last 50 years. At least 48 German cities provide financial support for greenroofs. Around 35% have integrated greenroofs as part of their regulation, establishing around 86 million m2 of greenroofs which represent 14% of the total roof area of Germany. And they have established professional associations and organizations for the study of materials and best practices, such as the FLL (Forschungsgesellschaft Landschaftsentwicklung e.V.), FBB (Fachvereinigung Bauwerksbegrünung e.V.), and DDV (Deutscher Dachgartner-Verband), to name a few.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Oasis d’ Aboukir in Paris full bloom, one year after the plant installation, early April 2014. Photo courtesy of Patrick Blanc.

There are other numerous cities in the world that stand out with integrated green construction including Chicago, Basel, Portland, Toronto, New York, Linz, London, Paris, Mexico City, Shanghai, Washington, DC and the area, Milwaukee, Bogotá, and lately Madrid and Barcelona. American states like California and Pennsylvania have also done many projects. My favorite leader is Singapore, an island nation that currently has more than 720,000 m2 of greenroofs and over 50,000 m2 of green walls with plans for 2 million square meters of skyrise vegetation by 2030.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, by Grant Associates, Wilkinson Eyre Architects plus many more. Photo by Grant Associates.

Q: Could you provide some advice on measures we can take to improve urban dwelling?

A: We need to find or identify local leaders to talk about the topic of greenroofing and other greening opportunities and how to implement policies and strategies to encourage project stakeholders to build with green infrastructure. We still need to inform the public and various governments of the benefits so they understand the importance of protecting the natural environment and improving our construction practices using green infrastructure. As designers and other project principals we need to inform our customers why and how to do achieve this. And, we have to find ways to lower the prices of greenroofs and walls, either through industry or with the support of governmental incentives, tax exemptions, subsidies, etc. Green infrastructure should be considered first, whenever possible, within our built environment.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

1. Munich development: Connected to large park. 2. Community garden allows people to grow flowers & vegetables. 3. Most roofs covered with greenroofs, most buildings have greened balconies. 4. Open space for socializing, typically above underground parking garages. 5. Solar Garden Roofs combine to max-out environmental benefits. 6. Houses are entirely covered with PVs. Photo courtesy of Green Roof Service.

Q: The well-being of city dwellers requires action in different fields. Could you give us your opinion on the importance of biodiversity, food security, a healthy environment, water management, energy savings, and creation of green spaces and recreation?

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall by Emilio Ambasz & Associates, a perfect integration of green over gray.

A: My academic background is landscape architecture. We recognize that our Earth is limited in its natural resources, and we have to protect all of us: animals, plants, and humans. We are as one, living and sharing an ecology that is this planet. We must bestow the heritage of a healthy and sustainable land to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The Earth is not ours to plunder, but our planet to sustain and protect for generations to come! With all my being, I believe that, in part, this is possible with architecture and design that is ecological and sustainable. Urban greening diminishes the effects of the built environment and promotes a strong and beautiful green infrastructure, flourishing and healthy.

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

NAUTILUS ECO-RESORT Biophilic Learning Center: Zero-Emission, Zero-Waste, Zero-Poverty by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, Palawan 2017, Republic of the Philippines.

Author Isabel de Felipe

Designing with Nature Linda S. Velazquez Interview El País Translation

I’m honored to have been interviewed in Spain’s #1 newspaper, El País, by Isabel de Felipe, PhD and thank her for the opportunity!

Isabel is Professor Ad Honorem Polytechnic University of Madrid, on the Board of Directors for the Center for Innovation in Technology for Human Development, and has published numerous articles and books on urban greening and agriculture for development. Most importantly, she is a dear colleague of PRONATUR and WGIN.

Isabel and her husband Dr. Julian Briz participated in our second Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013 in the Spanish-language Panel “La Agricultura Urbana en Iberoamérica y España” – “Urban Agriculture in Iberia-America and Spain” along with Dr. José María Durán-Altisent, Tanya Müller García (Moderator), Dr. Gilberto Navas, and Joaquin Sicilia Carnicer – watch it on our 2013 Virtual Summit playlist.

If you’re a Spanish speaker, you can read Diseñando con la naturaleza y no contra ella yourself at in El País.

Contact Isabel at isabel.defelipe@upm.es.