Posts Tagged ‘green roof’

Edible L.A.

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

An edible rooftop garden prototype on a residential building in Los Angeles is planted with fruit trees, vines, herbs, and vegetables that will be tended and used by residents and the chefs at the well-known ground floor restaurant, Blue Velvet. 

A Celebration of Light and Life

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Get an online sneak peak of the new California Academy of Sciences, which will open this week. Unlike typical natural history museums, which architect Renzo Piano dubbed “kingdoms of darkness,” the stunning new facility is suffused with light. The combined natural history museum, aquarium, indoor rainforest, planetarium, and world-class research and education facility is on track for LEED Platinum certification. Its 2.5-acre living roof, which mimics the San Francisco Bay area’s rolling topography, is designed in part as replacement habitat for the imperiled Bay Checkerspot butterfly. A transparent four-story dome in the Academy’s east wing houses the “Rainforests of the World” exhibit, complete with birds, butterflies, and frogs living amongst the jungle vegetation. As executive director Greg Farrington notes, the new Academy looks forward and embraces life rather than cataloging the dark halls of distant history. The museum seeks to explore, in his words, “how we got here, and how are we going to find a way to stay.”

Living Walls

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Now that green roofs have become accepted, if not yet common, a growing number of designers seem to be exploring the next great frontier in living architecture – green walls.

This past February in Paris I stumbled across the Musée du Quai Branly and was blown away by its 8600-square-foot Plant Wall designed by Patrick Blanc. A horticultural tour de force, Blanc’s creation reportedly includes more than 150 different plant species. A portfolio of Blanc’s living walls can be found on his website.

I’ve seen a number of spectacular green roofs both in the U.S. and Europe (my current favorite is the new roof on Queens Botanical Garden’s LEED Platinum Visitor and Administration building, one of the few planted with native species). Because green walls are even more visible to the public, they’re bound to capture the fancy of landscape designers. They could even revive the venerable tradition of the garden folly. Case in point: Gas Design Group’s “Topiade” (topiary + façade) overlays for an existing Louis Vuitton store.

By the way, living walls can have some if not all of the environmental benefits of green roofs: They can reduce storm-water runoff, trap and break down airborne toxins, and by decreasing the urban heat island effect, help keep cities cool.