GPW: Hotel Ushüaia Low-Tech Vertical Garden

June 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Greenroofs.com 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.



Greenroofs.com”™s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: June 10, 17 & 24, 2011

June 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on  Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video.  After a summer vacation, here’s the transcript from June 24 which also covers the weeks of June 17 & 10, 2011 from our daughter, Anjuli –  click on the photo below to see the video, or here.   Enjoy!

–   Hello, I’m Anjuli Velazquez and welcome to This Week in Review for this week, June 24th 2011, as well as for the past two weeks since I was gone for a little summer break, on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Projects of the Week

–   Our project of the week is the Hotel Ushuaïa Low-Tech Vertical Garden built in 2011 in Ibiza, Spain.  Situated in the Hotel Ushuaïa de Ibiza, the four panel eco.bin greenwall acts as a sound barrier between the open air disco, which is located in between the hotel’s central courtyard and the surrounding guest rooms.  The garden wall consists of rows of ceramic terra cotta containers whose circular openings are individually filled with growing medium and planted. Each interconnected planted ceramic has its own substrate and vegetation, and works together to create this sound-absorbent garden space.  This is the first such type of greenwall garden system in the world.  Also, the designers have selected a variety of native plants which can adapt and thrive in these Mediterranean conditions; and as you can see, they provide a multitude of colors during the year.

–   Our project of the week last week was the NYC Parks Five Borough Administrative Building built in 2007 in Randall’s Island, New York, New York. In response to Mayor Bloomberg’s visionary 2007 PlaNYC initiative, the Five Borough Technical Services division began a program of installing green roofs of various designs, realizing that they could contribute significantly to the city’s sustainability effort.  To date, the division, together with Parks’ Green Apple Corps and others, has installed 24 systems covering over 29,000 square feet of roof on the west wing of the building including Green Paks, GreenGrid, BioTrays, Bioroof, Xero Flor, and many custom designs. Five Borough’s is the only known green roof in the U.S. to feature such a vast array of distinct systems side-by-side, which vary by types of growing medium, depth of growing medium, and plant selection.  And there are also other non-traditional green roof systems here including a green wall, container systems, a “walkable” atrium system, as well as planters on top of parapet walls.  By the way, look for a very in-depth look at this roof as our Guest Feature Article coming very soon!

–   Our project of the week for June 10th was the Ruthven Garage built in 2010 in Tacoma, Washington.  In 2010, Jenny Ruthven was a horticulture student at Oregon State University, and after graduating found employment within the green roofing industry and wanted to design and install her own greenroof, and her parents’ garage was the perfect spot.  With the help of family and friends, they had to first add some additional structural support to the garage and replace the 29+ year old shingles. Then, they used a custom made blend of soil which ended up consisting of about 52% inorganic and 48% organic.  Inorganic was all pumice, with a bit of perlite thrown in. Half of the organic component was cedar grove compost, and the rest was coconut fiber, peat moss, mushroom compost, chicken compost, and steer compost. They planted 432 plants, with about 60 different species and varieties total.  Looking back now, Mom Sandra says that she  figured that she’d really like her greenroof, but had never   anticipated how much.

–   To learn more about the Ruthven Garage greenroof, type in project ID #1150 in our Projects Database, the NYC Parks Five Borough Administrative Building greenroof, project ID #787 and as always for our current project of the week, this week being the Hotel Ushüaia Low-Tech Vertical Garden, click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.  And, you can also always go to our Sky Gardens Blog and read Linda’s expanded post about our project of the week every week!

What’s New“

–  Advertiser Press Releases:

–  LiveRoof ® Adds an Architectural Specialist, Michael R. Selleck, in Chicago to Support Sales of the LiveRoof ® Hybrid Green Roof System.

–  Tremco Headquarters Completes Comprehensive Green Renovation, Becomes a Showcase of Sustainable Construction Technology.

Registration is now open in Ottawa, Canada – for a Green Living Technologies International (GLTi) Green Wall Seminar.

–  Skyland USA is pleased to announce the launch of a new rooflite ® certified growing media website.

–  Joblinks:

The University of Sheffield is looking for a Hydrologist or Urban Drainage Marie Curie More Experienced Researcher in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

–  You can go to  greenroofs.com/joblinks.htm more information on this job and other Green Roof Job postings.

–   Make sure to check out our latest Guest Feature Articles and Blog Posts:

–   Christine Thuring gives us her latest report on the 1st International Green Roof Students Conference in Sheffield, UK.

–   And Steven Peck fills us in on a Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ 2011 CitiesAlive Conference update.

–   Over at the Sky Gardens Blog, catch up on all of Linda’s other posts about Chris Wark’s 2011 7-part Green Roof Energy Series is now available on PDF, and the Greenroofs.com’s “TWIR” on GreenroofsTV for June 3rd, 2011.

–  Industry News

–   Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway announced the 15 winners of Department of Environmental Protection’s 2011 Green Infrastructure Grant Program. Selected from a total of 52 applications, the 15 winners will share approximately $3.8 million of funds to build green infrastructure projects that will reduce combined sewer overflows and improve water quality in the New York Harbor.

–  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities announces co-host agreements with the City of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for its 9th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference November 30th – December 3rd, 2011.

–  The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) has selected 13 educational and cultural facilities for this year’s CAE Educational Facility Design Awards.

–   “Upcoming Events“

–   June 21st-25th: is the 2011 APGA Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

–   June 27th-29th: is the 48th International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) World Congress in Zurich, Switzerland.

–   And on June 29th-30th: is Greenbuild EXPO Exhibition & Conference of Sustainable Building in Manchester, United Kingdom.

–  For more Upcoming Events visit our homepage.

–   “In the News“

–   Julia Johnson of the Ottawa Citizen reports on “Old film treasure preserved in federal news archives building.”  Earlier this week, Library and Archives Canada unveiled its new $14.7-million preservation facility for nitrate film on the government’s Shirleys Bay campus.  The new building now houses 5,575 reels of nitrate film dating back to 1912.  Archivist and librarian of Canada, Daniel Caron says that the new facility was also designed to be environmentally friendly, including efficient mechanical systems, insulated walls and a greenroof.  And Mario Gasperetti, the archives’ manager of strategic accommodation adds that the greenroof helps with keeping the vault cool by reducing heat exchange and instead of using manicured grass on the roof, it is designed to look exactly like the meadow landscape surrounding the building.

–   Julie Young of the Richmond Times-Dispatch talks about “Burnt-out home goes from ashes to awesome.”  She says a few years ago, the 1920s row house on Grove Avenue was an “architectural corpse.  Its skeletal remains consisted of a disfigured facade, broken bones and devastating internal damage.”  Then along came Dr. Susan Miller and her husband Dr. Kenneth Kendler to the rescue.  In 2008, they signed on to breathe life back into this burnt down home.  Over the next two years, “The Phoenix” was reborn and filled with green eco-friendly sustainable features like their own greenroof, the 25 foot tall green wall located in the home between the dining room and great room, thirty photovoltaic  roof panels, solar panels, concrete countertops flecked with reclaimed glass and rocks their now-adult children collected as kids, and much more.  The living wall ecosystem was designed by Scotty Guinn Dilworth of SG Designs and installed by Capitol Greenroofs who also installed the roof-top garden.

–   Ted Kortan of NewsNet5.com announces “Tremco Incorporated headquarters dedicated in Beachwood.”  Tremco Incorporated, a building products and solutions company, and subsidiary of RPM International, dedicated its renovated 40-year-old corporate headquarters last week.  Tremco said the project has resulted in a “high performance” building that is substantially more efficient, cost effective, and sustainable than the previous headquarters, with features like their vegetated roof with almost 1,600 plants and the area’s first solar powered electric car charging station.  Joining with company officials at Tremco’s Green Road campus for the dedication were Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, U.S. Congresswoman Betty Sutton and Beachwood Mayor Merle Gorden.

–   Sandy Bauers of Philly.com says “A tiny step forward for green roofs in Philadelphia” includes “a cheerful puff of plant life atop a bus-stop shelter.”  Tiffany Ledesma Groll, the project’s coordinator said, “We basically see this project as an opportunity to inspire homeowners.  A lot of the green roofs that are really fabulous and gorgeous are on high-rises” – which most people never see.  She goes on to say, “We thought it would be fun to bring it down to eye level.”  Last week, workers from Roofmeadow, a Philadelphia green roofs company that did the installation pro bono, were busy topping the shelter with its “mini-oasis.”  They planted a fuzz of pink dianthus, multicolored portulaca, and sedum and Roofmeadow also has committed to maintaining the roof for its first two years.  Charlie Miller, president and founder of Roofmeadow, said the roof “will give people a sense of familiarity…how it contributes to the quality of life.”  His son, Ari, designed the installation so it could be replicated as a “kit” for other bus-stop roofs in the city.

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

–   Have something you think we should know about and post on our website?   You can send us your green articles, videos and images to  editor@greenroofs.com.

–   Stay up-to-date with what’s going on at  Greenroofs.com by subscribing to our  greenroofsTV channel on YouTube, following us on  Twitter, liking us on  Facebook and being a member of our network on  LinkedIn.

–   This has been This Week in Review for June 24th, 2011 as well as June 10th and 17th on GreenroofsTV.    I’m Anjuli Velazquez 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.