GPW: 8 House (8 Tallet)

September 3, 2011 at 6:16 pm Project of the Week: 8/29/11
8 House (8 Tallet)
Copenhagen, Denmark
18,300 sf.

Year: 2010
Owner: St. Frederikslund Holding
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Building Type: Multi-Use
Type: Extensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 18,300 sq.ft.
Slope: 62.5%
Access: Inaccessible, Private

Project Description & Details

8 House (Tallet in Danish) is a 61,000 m2 bowtie-shaped mixed-use building of three different types of residential housing and 10,000 m2 of retail and offices which comprise Denmark’s largest private development ever undertaken. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the 8 House sits on the outer edge of the city as the southernmost outpost of Ørestad. Rather than a traditional block, the 8 House stacks all ingredients of a lively urban neighborhood into horizontal layers of typologies connected by a continuous promenade and cycling path up to the 10th floor creating a three-dimensional urban neighborhood where suburban life merges with the energy of a big city, where business and housing co-exist.

With spectacular views towards the Copenhagen Canal and over Kalvebod Fælled’s protected, open spaces, 8 House not only offers residences to people in all of life’s stages as well as office spaces to the city’s business and trade – it also serves as a house that allows people to bike all the way from the ground floor to the top, moving alongside townhouses with gardens winding through an urban perimeter block. Two sloping green roofs totaling 1,700 m2 are strategically placed to reduce the urban heat island effect as well as provide the visual identity to the project and tying it back to the adjacent farmlands towards the south.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
Contractor: Hopfner Partners
Civil Engineer: Moe & Brødsgaard
Roofing Contractor: Uldum Tag ApS
Roof Decks: Skandek Tagelementfabrik A/S
Pre-vegetated Mat Greenroof System: Veg Tech A/S
Partner-In-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen, Bjarke Ingels Group
Project Leader: Ole Elkjaer-Larsen, Henrick Poulsen, Bjarke Ingels Group
Project Manager: Finn Norkjaer, Henrik Lund, Bjarke Ingels Group

Additional Info

With offices in Copenhagen and New York City, the Danish architects of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) describe themselves as “architects, designers, and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research, and development.” Known for some truly spectacular work, this young firm has definitely been pushing our comfort zones by playing with shapes and forms and redefining space. BIG’s founder, the creative and energetic Bjarke Ingels, leads their approach of Hedonistic Sustainability which “helps cities adapt to tomorrow’s challenges and why sustainable future doesn’t need to involve sacrifice” through his design philosophy and as a TED and keynote speaker at conferences and universities worldwide.

8 House has received plenty of national and international attention.  Last month, 8 House was selected as a finalist for the 2011 World Architecture Festival Award in the Housing and Future projects category.  The winners will be announced at the annual WAF festival which takes place in Barcelona on November 2-4, 2011.

While attending the opening of a Global Green Growth Institute in Copenhagen this past May, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark were treated to a guided tour of 8 House by Bjarke Ingels.

Last December, 2010, Huffington Post selected 8 House as one of “the ten most-meaningful architecture moments from an exceptionally topsy-turvy decade.”  Read Jacob Slevin’s 10 Best Architecture Moments of 2001-2010.

Located in the Ørestad area of Copenhagen, 8 House was slated to be the first in a collection of buildings to push development in this outskirt neighborhood of wide open fields and pastureland.

BIG says 8 House was partly inspired by classic townhouses as well as “the open, democratic nature of functionalistic architecture.”

The undeniably unique, long, multi-sloped house has immense differences in height which the architects feel “create a strong inflow of light and a unique local community with small gardens and pathways that channel your thoughts into mountains in Southern Europe and memories of a childhood home.”

At a cost of 92,000,000 Euros, its base consists of 10,000 m2 of businesses spread out at street level alongside the surrounding main streets and at the northern courtyard that houses an office building.  The building’s housing program offers 476 residences with three kinds of accommodation varying in area from 65 to 144 m2: apartments for rent, and penthouses and townhouses for purchase.

“The different housing typologies are united by the exterior dimensions which provide inspiration for adventures, inspiring communities.” ~ BIG

Where the 8- or bow-shaped structure meets, two distinct spaces were created, separated by this center of the bow which hosts the communal facilities of 500 m2. BIG says, “At the very same spot, the building is penetrated by a 9 meter wide passage that connects the two surrounding city spaces: the park area to the west and the channel area to the east.

“Instead of dividing the different functions of the building – for both habitation and trades – into separate blocks, the various functions have been spread out horizontally.  The apartments are placed at the top while the commercial programme unfolds at the base of the building.  As a result, the different horizontal layers have achieved a quality of their own: the apartments benefit from the view, sunlight and fresh air, while the office leases merge with life on the street.  This is basically emphasized by the shape of 8 House which is literally ‘hoisted up’ in the North East corner and ‘squeezed down’ at the South West corner, allowing light and air to enter the courtyard in the middle.”

“This is our take on creative, experimental architecture, which surprises and calls for a life based on a sense of community. We have actually elevated the shared facilities around the height axis, so that gardens, trees and the system of paths follow the body of the structure all the way to the roof. On the rooftop, eleven stories up, these shared spaces culminate in a combined ‘mountain path’ and rooftop garden. From here, you can enjoy the view of Kalvebod Fælled’s nature resort.” ~ Bjarke Ingels.

Originally, the entire roof of 8 House was designed as a continuous greenroof, with pre-vegetated mats from Veg Tech A/S used on the extensive 60+% slope portions and recreational intensive roof gardens planned atop the flat areas.

Yet, because of the economic climate and budgetary restrictions, only the lower sloped portions were greened. Here’s 8 House under construction:

Here are a couple of great views of the greenroofs as they meet:

Referring to the greenroofs, Kai-Uwe Bergmann AIA, RIBA, MAA, LEED AP and BIG Partner, Director Business Development says, “Our design called for the entire roof area but the flat areas were cut due to the financial crisis and ensuing financing difficulties – so the other portions were sacrificed.  But it’s even amazing that the building was built at all these past three years.”

Aramis and I met Kai-Uwe last November when we both spoke at the International Skyrise Greenery Conference in Singapore – his presentation most definitely had the wow factor!  He started with the eye-catching, frenetic “Yes is More” video highlighting the young firm itself plus some of its equally eye-catching projects, including 8 House.

By the way, BIG’s “Archicomic Yes is More is World’s 1st Architectural Monograph” is available as an iPad app featuring loads of bonus material, including 25 integrated videos and animations, updates of 8 House and the Danish Expo Pavilion and three new projects not available in the printed version.  You can download it on iTunes here.‘s Design Editor, Haven Kiers, and I have selected 8 House to represent our perennial #10 Category in our 2011 Top 10 List of Hot Design Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design: Client Specific ‘Boutique’ Greenroofs.  We’ll be inaugurating the 2011 Top 10 List at this month’s inaugural Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011.

8 House is unique not only because it reduces the urban heat island effect with its cool courtyards, planted trees at entrances, container plantings on the balconies, and 18,300-square foot greenroofs, but the living roofs visually connect back to its pre-construction site on the prairie fields, creating a true sense of ‘genius loci’ or spirit of place.

So, ultimately, the dramatic greenroofed “V” of 8 House blends the iconic Danish structure beautifully with the original natural site and sets it off against the reflecting water of Copenhagen Canal:

Certainly, the sloped V roof line is as dramatic in a sunless, snow-covered winter landscape…

…as on a warm summer’s evening as seen from across the water:

Watch a video of Bjarke Ingels of BIG as he introduces you to his office and how their conceptual designs morph into reality with teamwork, including 8 House, below:

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click here to see more information about this project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

See the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Agenda, Speakers Page & Trailer!

September 2, 2011 at 10:48 pm

The ever growing demand for sustainable design continues to grow across the world – especially with living architecture, and‘s inaugural Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit held online on September 27 and 28, 2011 is truly a groundbreaking event you can’t miss!

Join us as we inform, share, and create a global social media experience for learning and networking via the power of the Internet.   It’s a community destination that will allow you to connect with everyone in our growing community!

Over 50 speakers from around the world are joining us in the Virtual Summit including architects, ecologists, landscape architects, engineers, educators, industry CEOs, product manufacturers and suppliers, botanists, non-profit directors, government officials and representatives from the state of New York, cities of Portland, OR; Chicago, IL; and the Bronx.

We’ve just released our very impressive international speaker line-up for the Virtual Summit 2011 – you can now see the Speakers page and Agenda to learn all about each presenter and their presentations or panel sessions.

Our Keynote Speakers are thinkers, designers, trend setters, eco-luminaries:

“Imagine a world of green:
What are we doing to create organic architecture?”

Here are just a few more of the illustrious speakers we have in store for you:

Rosemarie S. Andolino, USA: The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner will present “CDA Leads the Way for Incorporating Green Roof Space in an Airport Environment.”


Dr. Patrick Blanc, France: The renown botanist and creator of  Le Mur Végétal  will present “The Vertical Garden – from Nature to Cities” with an exclusive interview by Linda Velazquez.


Dr. Nigel Dunnett, UK: The Director of the Green Roof Centre and University of Sheffield Professor will present “Sky Meadows: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Diverse Green Roof Plantings.”


Paul Kephart, USA: The President of Rana Creek and ecological designer will present “Large-Scale Applications of Living Architecture.”


Xianmin Wang, China: The Deputy Chief of the Vertical Greening Academic Group of China Green Building Council; Vice Chairman of the International Rooftop Landscaping Association will present “The Current Situation and Future of Green Roofs in China.”

We’re treating our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 as a production, and now you can see the trailer – it’s fast, fun, and informative and gives you a glimpse of presentations to come.  Watch just a few highlights from our stellar cast of greenroof and greenwall professionals below:

Don’t forget to pre-register by September 9 for the discounted Early Bird rate of only $49 ($25 for students/faculty and government professionals) for access on both September 27 and 28 and 30 days archived on demand through October 28!   Plus, you’ll be automatically entered for the chance to win the first of two Apple iPad2s that we’re giving away.

One random winner will be chosen from the Early Bird Pre-Registrations and one from attendees who have been the most active using the Social Collaboration Network, including all your online chatting and visiting our very important sponsor and exhibitor booths at the Expo Pavilions!

Pre-register or learn more by visiting:

Brought to you by, we’d like to thank to our Virtual Summit Sponsors TREMCO and American Hydrotech and our Exhibitors and Media Partners:

See our Press Release  here.  Join us for the sharing, networking and fun event of the year!

~ Linda V.

GPW: Hotel Ushüaia Low-Tech Vertical Garden

June 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm Project of the Week: 6/20/11
Hotel Ushüaia Low-Tech Vertical Garden
Ibiza, Spain
3,735 sf. Greenwall

Year: 2011
Owner: Hotel Ushüaia
Location: Ibiza, Spain
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Living Wall
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 3,735 sq.ft.  
Slope: 100%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public

Project Description & Details

The newest vertical garden project from the young Spanish firm Urbanarbolismo was completed on May 20, 2011, in collaboration with Alijardín and Alicante forestal. Situated in the Hotel Ushüaia de Ibiza, the four panel eco.bin greenwall acts as a sound barrier between the open air disco located in the hotel’s central courtyard and the neighboring guest rooms. The unique garden wall system consists of rows of ceramic terracotta containers whose circular openings are individually filled with growing medium and planted.

Each interconnected planted ceramic, with its own substrate and vegetation, works together to create this sound-absorbent garden space. Keeping in account the climatic characteristics of the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, the designers have selected a variety of crassula, euphorbia, echeveria, aeonium, kalanchoe, sedum and sedeveria which can adapt to these conditions. In comparison to complex automated vertical gardening systems, this type requires a more personalized maintenance regime, yet the designers feel this low-tech typology option also offers more people a greater possibility of having a vertical garden of their own.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect & Designer: Urbanarbolismo
Greenwall System: eco.bin
Construction: Urbanarbolismo + Alicante forestal + Alijardín

Additional Info

In Spanish, “Urbanarbolismo” literally means “UrbanTreeism” – wow, it sounds very tree huggerish yet obviously on a larger, urban scale – and that’s part of the philosophy of this design/build architect-led group of designers.  They believe there is no division between urban and natural: Urban development should not only create a space for us; we should ameliorate previous ecosystems and if they were not present, we should find ways to recreate them.  Known for a handful of previous local greenroofs and greenwalls, founding principal Jordi Serramia Ruiz tells us that this is their first project utilizing their new greenwall system called “eco.bin.”

The design of the plant-filled ceramic greenwall allows for  curvaceous, undulating, and sweeping vistas, creating a sense of dizzying vertigo with colorful succulents – nonetheless  beautiful and eco-friendly while cleansing the air and providing a sound barrier to boot.  You have to admit that along with their own resident mega-ants, seen above crawling up the stark white stucco walls, the Hotel Ushüaia Low-Tech Vertical Garden  is truly unique!  And strategically placed accent lighting highlights the spiky leaves of the succulent vegetative  structures seen poking through their ceramic plant holes.

Developed by Urbanarbolismo as a way to make vegetated walls affordable to most people, four separate panels help define the intimate space, including  a smaller living wall greeting people the entrance from the outside of the hotel below:

Once you plant the wall, you’re set, and the low-maintenance drip-irrigation watering system also keeps it low-tech, especially since they’re designed to tilt towards each interior cell, thereby retaining water at the bottom for future use.

The design appears to be avant-guard in its execution while promising to be easy and low-tech.  Seeing how this one-month old greenwall is brand-spanking new, let’s see how it develops and fares over time.  If you visit this gorgeous party island of Ibiza and get to the popular Hotel Ushüaia, send us some photos to share!

Read more, in Spanish, at Urbanarbolismo’s May 30, 2011  blog post: Jardín vertical low-tech en Ibiza. Urbanarbolismo.

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click  here to see more information about this project in  The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours  here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

See the UK Green Roof Student Conference Programme & Register by 6th May 2011

April 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

As I told you about in February, the Green Roof Centre is proud to announce the  The 1st National Green Roof Student Conference @ The Green Roof Centre, to be held over the 16th and 17th May 2011 at the  University of Sheffield,ICOSS Building, 219 Portobello, Sheffield, S1 4DP.  The aim of the conference is to help to develop a community of early stage researchers relating to green roof function, performance, benefits and design.

Organised by the University of Sheffield and The Green Roof Centre, the 1st National Green Roof Student Conference will feature short presentations by research students and early stage researchers on research projects relating to green roofs.  Open and constructive discussion will be encouraged.

See the 2-day Green Roof Student Conference Programme here – I’ll be presenting on the second day, May 17 at 13.00, Session 3 – Theme: Ecology and Decision making on “Ecological trends on old green roofs – a review and synthesis.”

Book your place now – Closing date is 6th May 2011!

The cost is only £25 per person which this covers both days’ sessions and lunches.  Both days must be paid for, a single day fee is not possible.  Pay online at and  see the Green Roof Centre link for complete details.

I hope to see you there!

Happy Earth Day ~ Christine