Come and grow – the spoga+gafa blog » Articles by: Leif Hallerbach

Floating garden: project for New York

With the “Swale” green project, New York will be richer by one more attraction as of June: the unusual greenhouse is planned as a floating island on the East River.

As a community project, “Swale” is supported by, among other institutions, the administration of New York parks and the US Coast Guard. The floating garden island offers the residents of the city a variety of attractions: besides walking paths through the greenery, an event area and a garden for self-subsistence with fruit and vegetables are planned. In the “Floating Food Forest”, raspberries and blueberries will be cultivated for direct consumption, as well as cabbage, turnips and other vegetables for harvesting and taking away.

The goal of the project is to strengthen the consciousness of New Yorkers with regard to the themes of environment, recycling and sustainability. The river water is purified for the irrigation of the plants on the island. In this way the greenhouse should also contribute to the preservation of the ecosystem. “Swale” will float on the East River throughout June. Four fixed stations of one week each are planned. The artificial island will be borne by an approximately 400 square metre floating platform of recycled ship containers. Following the start in June, the drifting garden will dock at one of the New York shores.

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Dining like in the jungle: project in Thailand

A restaurant in the style of a terrarium: the “Vivarium” in Thailand was transformed by the design studio Hypothesis from an old warehouse into a green oasis.

The foundation for the “Vivarium” was a former industrial hall that originally served for storing tractors. The Thai design studio “Hypothesis” recognised the potential of the building and designed it as a modern restaurant with industrial charm. The objective of the project was the linking of old and new and the integration of a lot of green. For the “Vivarium” concept resulting from this, which is oriented to a terrarium in terms of its design, the project was awarded the INSIDE Award in the category Bars and Restaurants.

A large part of the original structure was retained in order to maintain the industrial character of the warehouse. New and old elements were differentiated from one another by colour: that already present remained white, while new elements were painted rust red. The special thing about “Vivarium”, however, is the generous use of plants and natural elements. Thanks to the luxuriant greenery of hanging plants in the upper area of the former industrial hall, guests are reminded of a jungle. The decor adapts to it: animal figures, branches and tree roots decorate the room-high shelves between the tables and emphasise the green atmosphere.

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Green Mosaic: Botanical Garden for Houston

Dutch landscape firm West 8 has recently planned a new botanical garden in Houston, Texas, featuring a mosaic of gardens and a bridge incorporating an arch of trees.

The Houston Botanic Garden will be on an area of  49 hectares, which is bordered by the Sims Bayou, a major waterway in Houston. West 8’s Master Plan takes its inspiration and structure from the existing site and gives forethought to the biggest environmental challenges: flooding and intense weather event. The design proposes lifting the existing topography to elevate the gardens and permanent structures out of the flood plain. With the water bodies as site-organizers, the Garden is divided into two main precincts: the “Island” and the “South Gardens”.

The “South Gardens” is the place of arrival for all visitors. It features an open lawn, which is a relaxing, day-to-day place for picnics and strolling, but also supports community events. A hike/bike trail extends along Glenview Drive, with a proposed section along Sims Bayou that would connect the Garden to the extensive network of Greater Houston hike and bike trails.  The Island will be dominated by gardens, both naturalistic and cultivated. These gardens provide year-round beauty, delight the senses, and educate young and old alike. A conservatory building extends the plant repertoire to provide a setting for exotic plants from tropical climates. Visitor-oriented amenities like educational facilities, an events pavilion, a café, and a lecture hall, are strategically located to provide destinations and provisions for guests. Construction of the first phase is slated to begin in 2018.

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Plant lamp: “Mygdal” from Nui Studio

Plants can’t thrive just anywhere: plant lovers have it especially difficult in dark places. The plant lamp of the German design duo Nui Studio offers new possibilities.

“Mygdal” utilises the physical similarity between sunlight and LED light. The Nui Studio designed the plant lamps in such a way that a completely autonomous ecosystem prevails indoors. The plant is inserted and surrounded by glass. It can now practice natural photosynthesis. As a homage to the Danish glassmaker Peter Kuchinke, the name of the lamp means “fertile earth“.

The plant lamp is equipped with an innovative glass coating, with which current is carried over the surface. This means that no other connection between the lamp and the power source is necessary. Thanks to the flexible power supply, “Mygdal” has versatile uses: as a hanging, floor or table lamp.

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Urban landscape: green project for Paris

The project “Réinventer Paris” is seeking new ideas for urban planning. The contribution of Jacques Ferrier Architecture and Chartier Dalix Architectes would like to significantly increase green space in the French capital.

“Reinventing Paris” is a project initiated by the city that hopes to give innovative ideas for the development of the metropolis a push. Architects and urban planners are invited to concern themselves with various locations in the capital, including the central ring road Boulevard Périphérique. For the connection from Paris to Neuilly, the partners Jacques Ferrier Architecture and Chartier Dalix Architectes are planning an unusually green project: a network of gardens and green areas should provide the framework for greened residential and office buildings and create space for public life.

The roofs of the expandable buildings should also be connected with one another and have lush roof gardens – a tea plantation is planned, among other things. Pavilions offer residents the possibility to work or relax, even at airy heights. In the interplay of urban landscape and greened development, the project should primarily show how greenery can be integrated even more intensively into the city and the life of Parisians. A school for urban horticulture planned for the area underlines this approach.

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