Variable: plant objects by Frédéric Malphettes

The French designer Frédéric Malphettes designs unusual objects for the greening of outdoor areas. The special feature, besides the clever design, is also the multiple applications.

The new products of the French designer include the plant module “Vétagére” and the climbing support “Anno”. The latter consists of a geometric structure of metal elements that are fastened to the wall or ceiling. The individual elements can be freely combined in terms of their structure. “Anno” can thus be used for greening walls or as a climbing support in flowerpots or as decorative room dividers.

The modular object “Vetagéré” also offers a variety of possibilities for use. Flowerpots of varying heights made of fibre reinforced concrete can be combined to form a greened shelving unit. Shelving of light oak serve as connecting elements. “Vétagére” can be used in both private and public spaces. The plant shelving unit has several different functions on the balcony and patio: it can act as a divider between interior and exterior, screen individual areas or simply serve as a variable green object.

Further information: fredericmalphettes.com

Library with garden: project by Stewart Hollenstein

Stewart Hollenstein have recently been awarded an honourable mention in the international design competition for the Regional Library in Varna, Bulgaria. The competition was organised by the Varna Municipality and the Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria.

Varna is a major tourist destination located on the edge of the Black Sea and is often referred to as the summer capital of Bulgaria. The Stewart Hollenstein scheme picks up on the rich history of Varna as a city of generous public gardens, merging this with the library program. A series of stacked landscapes, each with their own distinct character, provide a multitude of indoor and outdoor spaces for library and civic activity. The library is envisioned as the heart of cultural life in the city.

The design features a Children’s floor with an adventure garden, a flexible youth zone with hammocks, mobile shelving and pot plants, a quiet study floor with native garden and a roof top events terrace with views to the city and Black Sea beyond. The ground floor is an event hub, connecting the library with the activity of the street and adjacent town hall and bringing the landscape inside. The ground plane is designed as a highly inviting and open space with every side of the library activated with public programs including exhibitions, conferences, public program rooms, café and a generous public foyer.

 

Green Towers: Residential Project by MAD

The concept of “Cloud Corridor” by Chinese architectural office MAD addresses the concern of sprawl in cities and presents a typological alternative: the high-density vertical village. By reorienting the streets vertically, nine interconnected residential towers redistribute the urban fabric to cohere disparate neighborhoods into a vertical village with public spaces and gardens in the sky. Connective corridors weave circulation between towers to foster a sense of community among residents and activate the towers as a bustling village within the city.

Proposed as an urban landmark, “Cloud Corridor” expresses a devotion to nature. Each floorplate boasts gardens to accompany residential units. The garden patios and courtyards provide a lush environment amid the surrounding urban density, and provide a retreat from the everyday among nature.  Elevated corridors and multi-level garden patios shape the city skyline and provide viewing platforms for residents to overlook the bustling activity below and the natural landscape beyond. “Cloud Corridor’s” podium dually serves as a public park and as a transportation hub. The sculpted area is covered with a grass lawn and punctuated by trees; the transformation of its massing suggest the image of rolling hills.

Green Sculpture: The Biesbosch Museum in the Netherlands

For most visitors, the Biesbosch Museum is the starting point for exploring the Biesbosch National Park. Like a green sculpture the museum has been completely transformed and extended with a new wing by Studio Marco Vermeulen.

Both the new wing of the museum and existing volume are designed to minimize energy consumption. On cold days, a biomass stove maintains the building at the right temperature through floor heating. On warm days, water from the river flows through the same piping to cool the building. Sanitary wastewater is purified through a willow filter: the first in the Netherlands. The old and new sections of the museum are surrounded by earthworks and covered with a roof of grass and herbs. The roof adds ecological value, creating a sculptural object that reads as land art and, at the same time, manifests itself in the surrounding landscape.

Water safety was the key reason for the development of the Biesbosch Museum Island. As part of a national water safety programme, the 4450-hectare Noordwaard polder has been turned into a water-retention area. The Museum Island, which will be realized in the spring of 2016, is a freshwater tidal park that receives river water through a newly dug creek. A meandering path provides access to the island, which continuously changes in appearance because of the changing water levels.

Further information: biesboschmuseumeiland.nl and marcovermeulen.eu