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
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!
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.
– Para Eco-House, Tongji University
The pre-fab Para Eco-House from Tongji University architectural students in China draws inspiration from Daoist principles.
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.
London Design Festival – September, 2012
Kicked off on September 14, the London Design Festival offers some unique entries, one being this high eco-style boat house.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.