Chic Sustainability Watch: 2012 European Solar Decathlon, London Design Festival, Venice Architecture Biennale, Milan Design Week & Canada Blooms Garden Festival

September 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve contributed to my half of the “Chic Sustainability Watch” team commitment (the other half being our wonderful Design Editor, Haven Kiers).  We had originally agreed to a bi-monthly column, which equated to each of us committing to writing about every two weeks…

Well, since it was my turn next, I’m the one who messed the bi-monthly thing up. But I’m baaak, so with real-life commitments and all, let’s see how it goes from now on!

Here are just some of the interesting and what I would call examples of true green  – not just eco-friendly –  living  (as in vegetation-embracing) architecture  entries that I’ve come across from these recent 2012 design events: The European Solar Decathlon,  London Design Festival,  Venice  Architecture Biennale, Milan Design Week and the Canada Blooms Garden Festival – none of them winners, but certainly noteworthy!

Several entries with greenroofs or greenwalls caught our attention, in particular from the:

European Solar Decathlon- September, 2012

–  Omotenashi House,  Chiba University

Via Inhabitat

What a beautiful home!  Held in Madrid, the sole European Solar Decathlon  2012 contestant entry from Japan by Chiba University architecture students, the  Omotenashi House  (Omotenashi means to “thoughtfully and sincerely conveying a feeling of consideration to those who you encounter”) provides a roomy and comfortable space envisioning a home with a lower carbon footprint.

Not only does it have solar panels, of course, but it also  sports a solar hot water heating system and grey water recycling, among other innovations…and take a  look at the hairy living walls above and living curtain of climbers below that not only provide shade but could provide vegetables as well!

Via Inhabitat

See a short video of the  Omotenashi House  at  the European Solar Decathlon  2012  homepage (in Spanish from the Japanese  Ambassador  to Spain). It also has urban food production with a rice paddy in its side garden.  If this hadn’t been a solar  decathlon, they certainly could have put the rice paddy on the roof!

It wouldn’t be the first time – see Episode #20: “The Current Situation and Future of Green Roofs in China”  by  Wang Xianmin,  an example from China from our inaugural  2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit  on  greenroofs.tv.

Via Inhabitat of 9.17.12 and Omotenashi House, and Inhabitat of  9.8.12, via The Japan Times.

– Para Eco-House,  Tongji University

The pre-fab Para Eco-House from  Tongji University architectural students in  China draws inspiration from Daoist principles.

Via Inhabitat

Yet passive and active forces combine with Western philosophies of independence and autonomy resulting in using materials such as highly renewable bamboo, solar panels, rainwater harvesting system, and a greenroof which could eventually provide a food source.

Via Inhabitat

Via Inhabitat of 9.7.12, via Muy Interesante  and Para Eco-House.

London Design Festival – September, 2012

Photo  © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat

Photo © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat

Kicked off on September 14, the London Design Festival offers some unique entries, one being this high eco-style  boat  house.

Photo  © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat

Photo © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat

The INACHUS is a modern, functional, water-borne 2-story home from Sanitov Floating Homes that uses recycled materials, is powered by the sun and which happens to have a beautiful interior greenwall to cleanse the air.  Plans include the roof to be topped off with a greenroof, which would be quite a fun and responsible topper!

Via Inhabitat,  9.15.12.

Venice  Architecture Biennale – August, 2012

image  © designboom

This year’s Venice Architecture Biennale 2012 showcased a very interesting hanging system for growing plants indoors.  “Between Air” is a unique design by architects Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano of the firm  SelgasCano,  in collaboration with biologist Josep Selga and agronomist Juan Laureano, presented at the Spanish Pavilion here.

image  © designboom

The suspended hydroponic system of recycled plastic airpots is connected by these neat looking porous cylindrical forms, planted with a variety of succulents, herbs and even tree seedlings!  Indoor growing with a new technology and high style.  Watch a short video from the architects at designboom.

Via designboom of 8.29.12

Milan Design Week – April, 2012

Photo © Fabrikaat

FABRIKAAT was a Dutch exhibition included in the Milan Design Week last April. Students Micaela Nardella and Oana Tudose from the  Master of Interior Architecture and Retail Design program at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam  designed “Brick Biotope,” a set of modular brick nests with planted areas that can be  mortared into walls for birds.

Photo © Fabrikaat

What an awesome idea!  Easy, practical and I’m sure our bird friends will love it.

Via Inhabitat of  4.27.12

Canada Blooms Garden Festival – March, 2012

Photo © b sq. Design Studio

Constructed out of shipping pallets,  b sq. Design Studio Inc created the colorful and stunning “Plug and Play – the Pallet Garden” at the Canada Blooms Garden Festival  in Toronto  last March.

Photo © b sq. Design Studio

They used 105 pallets to create the dazzling and environmentally friendly display, which was meant to show we can use common materials at our disposal to create a thing of beauty, not to mention a thing of importance.  The recycled structures include an observation tower, planters, a water feature, and even wooden greenwalls planted with edibles.

Via Treehugger of 3.21.12

What a quirky set of some very cool projects designed and implemented in environments where just about anything goes – pure inspiration for the rest of us.

Hopefully we’ll see more of these  prototypes  built in the real world, not just a design festivals and competitions.  As far as the “Chic Sustainability Watch” goes, now it’s Haven’s turn!

~ Linda V.

Only 4 Weeks for the WGIN World Green Roof Conference 2012 in Hangzhou: Chinese Visa Tips

September 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm

On October 22 through 26, greenroof and greenwall professionals from around the world will  gather and share information, encourage multi-national participation and business, and see wonderful local green infrastructure projects  with the opportunity to tour amazing cities and sites beyond at  the  2012 Hangzhou China World Green Roof Conference.

Our Chinese World Green Infrastructure Network friends from the  International Rooftop Landscaping Association  put it more eloquently:

“[The]  World Green Roof Conference (WGRC) will build a friendly public platform for elites both from the Vertical Planting industry around the world and those who share concern for the global environmental protection to exchange information on new concepts, technologies and policies of ecological environmental protection as well as to promote the development of Green Roof industry in all countries, thus contributing to tackling global warming and solving the conflict between human and land.” ~  2012 Hangzhou China World Green Roof Conference

Hangzhou West Lake, via wallpaperstravel.com

I count myself honored (and lucky!) to be one of the keynote speakers for the event; I will be presenting Haven Kiers’ and my annual Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design for 2012.

The Forbidden City; Photo Courtesy of Wang Xianmin

Aramis and I are so excited about our upcoming trip!  We hope you have also made plans to attend this once in a lifetime opportunity as well.

The Great Wall; Photo Courtesy of Wang Xianmin

Not only are we looking forward to reuniting with old friends and making new ones, we are thrilled to be going on Tour Two, the 6-day “Beijing and Xi’an, the Tour of China’s Ancient Capital Cities” afterwards.  We can’t wait!

Yu Garden; Photo Courtesy of Wang Xianmin

By the way, Tour Two is a 4-day tour to “Suzhou and Shanghai.”  Having to choose between the two was painful, so we decided to spend two days in Shanghai after the tour.

Century Avenue, Shanghai; Photo Courtesy of Wang Xianmin

One thing you will definitely need is your Chinese visa.  It’s not hard to get, it’s just time consuming, so if you haven’t done the paperwork yet, hop to it!

If you are a U.S. citizen, visit the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. website for all the requirements.

Here are some tips for U.S. Citizens:

The People’s Republic of China currently maintains one Embassy in Washington D.C., but also maintains 5 consulates-general in the following U.S. cities: New York; Chicago; San Francisco; Los Angeles; and Houston, TX.  If you live in any of these, you can walk your application in with no appointment necessary.

If not, you can use one of the online services available who will walk in your application to your corresponding state (check here).  Since we live in Atlanta and our corresponding Chinese consulate is in Houston, we opted for this and used travisa – which can help any world citizen.  Check out the U.S. citizen  requirements, time schedule, and fees.

We chose the  China Regular (5 Business Days) processing time and mailed it overnight, just in case.

About the # 5. Official Invitation from China – ask the  2012 Hangzhou China World Green Roof Conference  organizers for this – they will email you an Invitation Letter in your name in PDF which you’ll print and include with your package.  Contact William Wei,  Secretary-general,  International Rooftop Landscaping Association for complete information at:  wrgmay2010@hotmail.com.

NOTE:   Unless you have your  own account with UPS, FedEx, etc., do NOT include a prepaid return envelope as travisa will mail it back to you using their own account (which you’ll have to pay for anyway).

Scenic Hangzhou, via HANGZHOU.GOV.CN

If you haven’t already, make sure to read Greenroofs.com’s guest feature article  You’re Invited to Hangzhou, China for the 2012 World Green Roof Congress, By  Wang Xianmin, Secretary-general of the  2012 Hangzhou China World Green Roof Conference.

Hope to see you in Hangzhou next month!

~ Linda V.

Don’t Miss the Early Bird Discount for CitiesAlive this September 15!

September 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm

As I’ve mentioned before, the heavy fall line-up of conferences is here!  Get ready for some awesome speakers, networking, and travel!

For those of us here in North America, the one surely not to be missed is the 10th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof & Wall Conference – the one that started it all – in beautiful Chicago, Illinois this October 17-20 2012.

As usual, programming at CitiesAlive features the leading experts from green roof and wall design, policy and research, plus engaging ‘On the Roof With’ sessions that bring living architecture to life.  In addition to inspiring plenaries, top-notch presentations, fantastic receptions, a record-setting Rise of Living Architecture Commemorative Edition book-signing – of which, by the way, I’m very proud to be included – and trade show, you can add in professional training workshops and inspirational green roof and wall tours to make your CitiesAlive 2012 experience unforgettable.

Aramis and I, along with many of our Contributing Editors will be hand, either speaking, exhibiting, taking a course, or just joining in the fun of going on the tours and, of course, networking!   For example, now for the 6th year, Haven Kiers and I will be delivering our fast-paced and fun 2012 Top 10 Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design – see the entire Agenda here.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure to read our Guest Feature Article this month by Steven Peck, GRP, Honorary ASLA, and Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities entitled “10th Anniversary – CitiesAlive Returns to Chicago To Celebrate and Plan Ahead.”

Greenroofs.com has been a part of the CitiesAlive Conferences from the beginning in 2003 and we wouldn’t miss it!   Can’t wait to get back to the Windy City ~ we hope to see you there as well.

Visit www.citiesalive.org to learn more and register to learn about the future of green infrastructure and earn credits through LA CES, GBCI, AIA CES, APLD, RCI, and GRHC.

But don’t delay – save up to $169 if you register now for the 10th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof & Wall Conference.

Happy greening!

~ Linda V.

Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: June 1, 2012

June 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video.  Here is the transcript from June 1, 2012 from our daughter, Anjuli – click on the photo below to see the video, or here.  Enjoy!

– Hello, I’m Anjuli Velázquez and welcome to “This Week in Review” for June 1st, 2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the City Creek Center, built in 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah. City Creek Center is Utah’s newest retail and dining destination and one of the largest sustainably designed urban communities in the state.  It covers two downtown city blocks and features a unique shopping environment with a retractable roof, a creek winding through the property, a pedestrian skybridge, and two 18 foot waterfalls.  The Center’s fully retractable glass roof is the nation’s first in a shopping center and retracts over the retail galleria so visitors can enjoy the shopping center in any kind of weather.  It also features three unique fountains that delight and entertain Salt Lake City shoppers with musically choreographed animations using the elements of fire and water.

Designed by SWA Group, City Creek has earned Silver LEED for Neighborhood Development as a pilot project.  Sustainable principles have been applied in design, construction and operation of City Creek; for example, more than 50% of the demolition debris was recycled. The 1-kilometer-long recreated creek with live fish and other flora/fauna habitat serves as the central organizing feature for the retail/housing/office development downtown, and is the largest flowing watercourse of its kind built on-structure in the U.S.  The water portion of the creek totals about 19,000 sf of over-structure greenroof, but paving, plantings, courtyards, and roof gardens add up to a total of 90,000 sf over-structure.  There is also a pond with live trout, lush plantings of native material and an interactive fountain in which children can play.  American Hydrotech supplied 300,000 sf of waterproofing for the entire City Creek Center.

– To learn more about the City Creek Center,  click on our project of the week photo on our homepage (or on the above photos).

What’s New

Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Video

– Watch our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011  Episode #25: “Biodiversity and Greenroofs” Panel Presentation  with  Christine Thuring, Nathalie Baumann, Gary Grant and Dusty Gedge.

And find the rest of the videos in this series on our GreenroofsTV page and/or our greenroofsTV YouTube channel.

–  The Greenroofs.com eNewsletter

– Our May 2012 eNewsletter is out!    Check your inboxes for what’s been going on here all month long and if you’re not  subscribed,  click on the mail icon on our homepage and enter your e-mail address!

Advertiser Press Releases:

–  LiveRoof ® Selected for Green Roof on Biomedical Discovery District Facility at the University of Minnesota.

Joblinks

–  Sika Sarnafil USA is seeking a Technical Sales Representative in the Greater Chicago Area, Illinois.

Industry News

–  The American Institute of Architects introduced the first overview guide on how architects can implement the International Green Construction Code in their practice which was introduced in March by the International Code Council.  The guide, entitled simply, “Guide to the IgCC,” is meant as a one-stop-shop document exclusively for AIA-member architects working in jurisdictions where the IgCC is adopted or soon will be.

–  According to the 2012 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, results show a preference for an undemanding outdoor space for lots of entertaining.  Landscape architects with a specialization in residential design across the country were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements.  When thinking of gardening, Americans tend toward the practical and sustainable with native plants (86.3%), food/vegetable gardens (81.2%) – with over half of them preferred to be organic (61.2%), rain gardens (55.6%), and rooftop gardens (38.3%).

–  Sky Gardens Blog

–  Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts: “Submission Deadline to the Green Roof and Wall Awards of Excellence Extended to June, 1st!,” “Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 25: Biodiversity and Greenroofs Panel Presentation,” and “Greenroofs.com’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: May 25, 2012.”

– “Upcoming Events“

– June 1: is the new submission deadline for the Green Roof and Wall Awards of Excellence presented in Chicago at this year’s CitiesAlive in October.

–  June 2nd: is the Summer Exhibition – Urban Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in Brooklyn, NY.

The new Garden Shop will have  Green Roofs and Rooftop Gardens, a comprehensive look at New York’s most exceptional rooftop gardening projects””including BBG’s Visitor Center””on sale for the first time.  Featuring an authoritative guide to NYC green roofs””including a rooftop farm in Queens and a high school classroom in the Bronx in addition to BBG’s own Visitor Center””Green Roofs and Rooftop Gardens offers inspirational ideas and practical advice for a gardener of any level interested in learning more about gardening on the highest level.  Chapters include contributions from editors here at Greenroofs.com including: Green Roofs Past, Present, and Future, by Linda S. Velazquez, Green Roof and Living Wall Trends, by    Linda S. Velazquez  with Haven Kiers, and Green Roof Horticulture, by Edmund C. Snodgrass.

–  June 2nd-3rd: is the Mother Earth News Fair, in Puyallup, WA. Follow on Twitter: @MotherEarthFAIR #MENF

–  June 5: is World Environment Day. Follow on Twitter: @UNEPandyou

–  And June 6th-7th: is the 7th Annual Northeast Buildings & Facilities Management Show & Conference, in Boston, MA.

– “In the News“

 

–  Jackie Wills of The Guardian, reports on “M&S: a sustainable blueprint to behold.”  The retailer’s landmark Ecclesall Road M&S store combines a range of unique characteristics, from LED lighting to rainwater toilets; and has become a learning store, where sustainability skills are shared among staff and local students.  It is the first United Kingdom store to win full Forest Stewardship Council project certification.

Some of the unique features include: natural ventilation in the stockroom and staff areas rather that air conditioning, glass doors on mobile fridges that cut energy use by 45% and an HFC-free refrigeration system, water use has been cut by 46% by installing low flush toilets, sensor taps and a rainwater-harvesting tank below ground.  Also, sun pipes bring natural lighting onto the shop floor, every brick was reclaimed from a disused mill in Manchester and polishing the concrete floor meant no need for coverings; and the shop has a sedum roof and a living wall for wildlife, which among other environmental benefits, will insulate the store and filter pollution.

–  Sarah DeWeerdt of The Atlantic Cities, talks about “A 30,000-Square-Foot Community Garden, in a Parking Garage.”  The project, dubbed the UpGarden, will have space for about 120 local gardeners.  The project came about because Seattle’s P-Patch community gardening program was looking for space to build a new garden in the neighborhood.  Eric Higbee, a landscape architect working on the project says, “as far as we can tell it’s the first community-managed food production garden on a rooftop” in the country.

Typical green roof technologies were too expensive, so they settled on a series of wooden raised beds 12 to 18 inches deep, which will be filled with potting soil, which is lighter than topsoil.  Roofs are bright and hot, which should make it easier to grow hot-weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants but to offset the windy element and to help the soil stay moist, the team is considering putting in a drip irrigation system.  The knowledge developed here will aid in the development of other rooftop gardens in Seattle and elsewhere around our country.

– To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our In the News or Newslinks section of our website.

– Send us your green articles, videos and images to editor@greenroofs.com and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything Greenroofs.com by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, being a member of our network on LinkedIn, and subscribing to our greenroofsTV channel on YouTube!

– This has been This Week in Review for June 1st,  2012 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velázquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by Greenroofs.com.*


Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!

~ Linda V.