Amazon’s Headquarter Goes Green

Amazon’s plans for its new headquarters look like a futuristic utopia. A structure of three merged bio-domes with lots of plants in it will be built in front of the new main building in the centre of Seattle.

The intent behind the design is to create an alternative environment where employees can work and socialize in a more natural park-like setting. The facility will incorporate dining, meeting and lounge spaces and a variety of botanical zones modeled on montane ecologies found around the globe.

The design of the new headquarters was developed by NBBJ, who also designed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project is expected to start construction later in 2013 and could take up to eight years to finish.

Further Information: inhabitat.com and amazon.com

Superkilen: Copenhagen Park Project awarded

The district of Nørrebro is a multiethnic society in the northwest of the Danish capital Copenhagen. It is a vibrant place where many different cultures live peacefully next to each other. This quarter got the attention of architects, landscape designers and city planners all around the world: Its artistic refurbishment was awarded with the 2013 Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design by the American Institute of Architects.

Superkilen is a spectacular park project which was realized by the two architect companies BIG and Topotek 1 together with the artist group Superflex. The district has been divided into three zones, each with its own theme and color scheme. The square for markets, culture and sports is completely covered in shades of red. Streets, open spaces and house walls are shining in bright tones of pink, orange and crimson, turning a grey area into a lively dynamic spot. The zone with the most living areas is colored black with white lines winding through the streets. The largest part of the district is the green park area where hills and playgrounds invite families to spend their time.

There are one hundred different urban elements from over fifty countries placed throughout the whole district, for example a bench from Ethiopia, pipes from Israel and soil from Palestine. These everyday and free to use items are turned into exhibition pieces and represent the many different cultural heritages of the inhabitants.

The Jury of the American Institute of Architects commented on the award: “This project is a joy! This is not only original, but stunning to behold. It is noteworthy for its aesthetic approach, which is straightforwardly artificial rather than pretending to be natural.”

Superkilen is a city project which changed the looks of an otherwise very dull place into a vibrant and lighthearted area. It is cost effective and relatively easy to realize. The idea could be used as a model for other cities. 

Further Information: detail-online.com

From Grey to Green: Europe’s largest Sky Garden opens to the Public

An exciting project is developing in Berlin right now. In the middle of the densely populated German capital a group of volunteers are building Europe’s largest community roof garden on a parking deck. The 12.000 m² surface has not been used since 2003. 22 meters above ground level vegetables, fruits and herbs will be growing in the near future on euro pallets, in carton boxes and in rice bags.

Everybody can join in; there will be community beddings which can be cared for by groups of people and other lots which can be rent. The main idea behind the Himmelsbeet (Sky garden), as it is called, is that people are being brought together through working with natural resources and that city dwellers learn how to  produce own food from regional grounds. Schools and kindergardens can go there to teach the children about planting and growing, there will be workshops about gardening and even a café on the rooftop. The demand is high for such a project, there are already waiting lists for the beddings.

The project is depending on donations, the organization is non-profit based and needs support. The company Neudorff is donating soil and other materials.

The roof garden will be open for the public in May and the initiators are more than excited about. this europewide unprecedented gardening project ; if it were successful it could be a great example for other cities worldwide. 

Further Information:  Himmelsbeet / Neudorff

Creating the Greenest City: Vancouver 2020 Action Plan

We all want to live in a city that is vibrant, affordable, and sustainable. We value the beauty of our natural setting, and rely on the prosperity that has been created from our abundant natural resources.

The Greenest City 2020 Action Plan (GCAP) for Vancouver builds on the 2009 work of Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Greenest City Action Team. This group of local experts researched best practices from leading green cities around the world, and established the goals and targets that would make Vancouver the world’s Greenest City.

During the development of the GCAP, many people gave their time and ideas. More than 35,000 people from around the world participated in the process online, through social media, and in face-to-face workshops or events. More than 9,500 people, most of whom lived in Vancouver, actively added their ideas, insights, and feedback to help determine the best path to achieve this plan.

The race to become the Greenest City in the world is both a friendly and fierce competition. It’s friendly because when one city succeeds, we all benefit from the shared knowledge and improved health of our planet, as well as the new opportunities that emerge in the green economy. The race is a fierce one because the stakes are so high. In fact, the kind of change needed for all of us to thrive in healthy and prosperous communities requires a world full of Greenest Cities.

For further information: vancouver.ca/greenestcity

 

Improving the Garden Centre Industry Worldwide

The International Garden Centre Association (IGCA) provides valuable benefits for members around the world. Its key event each year is the International Garden Centre Congress held in a different country every year and provides unrivalled networking opportunities for members. The Congress sees over 200 of the best Garden Centre operators in the world meet together for one week and visit the best in Garden Centre retailing that the host country has to offer.

Milton Vadoulis from Vadoulis Plants Plus, Australia said: “We are a long way from the rest of the world in Australia but by attending IGCA Congresses, I have been able to see the latest trends in plants, catering, giftware and all other garden-related products. The Congress has helped me improve my business plus lift sales and profitability. The networking and communication opportunities with my peers provided by the Congress are an added benefit for my business.” John Zaplatynsky from Gardenworks, Canada said: “I have attended five Congresses now and there is no doubt that the ideas I have picked up have made a huge difference to my business. I now have friends in Garden Centres around the world and we discuss trends as well as very important business statistics such as wages to sales, average sale and many other areas that help us all. We are able to exchange ideas with members via Facebook and get great value out of the quarterly International E-News. One important aspect of the Congress is a working programme for younger employees and managers.”

The International Garden Centre Association is an independent not for profit organization committed to the continuous improvement of the international garden centre industry through co-operation with global partners to align international, regional and industry agendas. The Congress was held in Germany this August and will be in Australia in 2013 and Ireland in 2014. We ask you to contact us, enquire about joining and start benefiting.

Further information: intgardencentre.org