Design experiment examines safety of food grown in urban vertical gardens

October 23, 2020 by  
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Interior architecture firm Annvil has brought together a team of urban planners, designers, environmentalists and natural scientists to study the interaction between the urban environment and horticulture. The project, called G(U)ARDEN, is a vertical garden experience set in Latvia aimed at exploring the safety of growing food in urban gardens. Urban agriculture has already been proven to reduce air pollution, collect and use runoff, increase productivity of space and aid in urban cooling, but it is still lacking in substantial scientific research in the safety of these plants being used for food. The G(U)ARDEN project will measure the biochemical composition of vegetables and fruits grown in urban environments, especially in places with intense traffic and air pollution.  Related: Snøhetta to revitalize Midtown Manhattan with vibrant garden The primary urban vertical garden of this project is located in Riga, Latvia and is made up of local plants from the city’s horticulture centers and nurseries. Researchers chose to use endemic plants to inspire residents to grow and conserve locally as well as to encourage sustainable and effective urban environmental development discussions. “Today we live in a digital world where everything is instantaneous. In answer to that, we want to stimulate people’s interest in real life — interest in the physical world and in being close to nature,” said Anna Butele, author of project G(U)ARDEN and the founder of Annvil. “We can do that by creating even more green environments in the city — meeting places that bring together different groups of society. This way we can also bring attention to neglected environments in the city.” The pilot program has started with the team studying the garden’s vegetable and fruit harvest in a scientific laboratory. Crops are measured for the presence of heavy metals, while the air and water is measured for microbiological composition to help identify all possible risk factors associated with the impact of the urban environment on edible plants . The data obtained from the experiment will aid in continued projects to help create a series of urban gardens in Latvia’s largest cities next year. + Annvil Photography by Ingus Baj?rs via Annvil

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Design experiment examines safety of food grown in urban vertical gardens

Renewable energy to power 2024 Olympic aquatic center

October 23, 2020 by  
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The architectural team of VenhoevenCS and Ateliers 2/3/4/ have revealed plans for a timber aquatic center in Paris, which will use a smart energy system to provide 90% of needed energy from recovered or  renewable energy  sources for the 2024 Olympics. The complex will also include a vast pedestrian bridge connecting it to the existing Stade de France. As the only new building constructed for the 2024 games, the timber aquatic center will remain useful well after the  Olympic  games end, with further opportunities for residents to learn swimming, practice sports, relax and build community. The idea is to provide healthy living incentives for the local people, as well as promote sustainability and biodiversity with abundant vegetation surrounding the structure. The proposal includes plans to create room for over 100 trees onsite to improve air quality, stimulate biodiversity and create new ecological connections. Related: Tokyo’s Olympic medals will be made from recycled phones According to the designers, the complex’s  solar roof  will be one of France’s largest solar farms and will cover 25% of all required electricity consumption, equivalent to 200 homes. With water preservation paramount for utility cost and environmental conservation, the building includes an efficient water consumption system to reuse 50% of the old water when freshwater is needed. The center also utilizes  upcycled furniture  in its design. All of the furniture inside restaurants, bars and entrances uses wood waste from the construction site or demolition sites, and the chairs are fashioned from 100% recycled plastic collected from a nearby school. The main structure is made of  wood , with a suspended roof shape that will minimize the need for air conditioning and make it more efficient to heat. The interior Olympic arena tribunes on three sides and contains room for 5,000 spectators to congregate around a massive modular pool for swimming, diving and water polo competitions. All other events will occur inside temporary venues or existing structures. + VenhoevenCS Via Dezeen Design: VenhoevenCS & Ateliers 2/3/4/ Images: Proloog

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Renewable energy to power 2024 Olympic aquatic center

Rooftop farm grows on award-winning Denizen Bushwick building

February 28, 2020 by  
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After five years of design and construction,  ODA New York  has completed Denizen Bushwick, a 1.2-million-square-foot rental development centered around community, art and green space. Set on the former site of Brooklyn’s historic Rheingold Brewery, Denizen offers 911 apartments — 20 percent of which are designated affordable housing — along with 15 mega-murals created by local artists and 100,000 square feet of outdoor space. Residents also have access to a rooftop farm with hydroponic gardens along with a variety of lush courtyards and corridors, many of which are open to the neighborhood. To create “a city within a city,” ODA New York broke up Denizen’s massive size with a 17,850-square-foot public park that bisects the development to create a green promenade. ODA’s in-house landscape team designed the parks, interior courtyards, and two roof gardens for a total of 100,000 square feet of outdoor space with rooftop amenities such as a dining area with four kitchens, and a mini-golf course, hammock garden, dog park and a fully staffed rooftop farm with garden plots available to residents. Over 250 native New York trees and over 1,200 species of shrubs and perennials have been planted atop the roof. The impressive collection of amenities continues inside the building, which offers a coffee shop, game rooms, a bowling alley, a rock-climbing wall, a boxing ring, a movie theater and more. Fifteen large-scale  murals  made by local artists punctuate the development and can be viewed from multiple courtyards; five murals are visible from publicly accessible parks.  Related: Awesome Airbnb Rental Lets You Go “Camping” in an Indoor Micro-Cabin in Brooklyn “We are proud of what has taken shape at  Bushwick ,” Eran Chen, Founding Principal of ODA, said. “Not only were we able to transform a dilapidated industrial building and turn it into a magnate for community, but we’re influencing how people connect, how cities are developed, and paving the way for architecture to be part of the solution.” Denizen Bushwick has received the ULI New York Award for Excellent in Development — Market-Rate Housing along with the 2019 SARA NY Design Award.  + ODA New York Images via ODA New York, Eric Laigne and Imagen Subliminal

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Rooftop farm grows on award-winning Denizen Bushwick building

myfoods smart greenhouses can grow nearly 900 pounds of produce a year

February 4, 2020 by  
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At CES 2020, French startup myfood presented a smart greenhouse that it says can grow up to 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of organic fruits and vegetables a year with only a few hours of work a week. Combining permaculture principles with smart technology to monitor plant health, the myfood smart greenhouses aim to change people’s relationships with food as a means of reducing the global carbon footprint . The startup has distributed nearly 200 smart greenhouses in 14 countries around the world and hopes to target the North American market next. Based in the French commune of Molsheim, myfood was born as a reaction against the agro-food industry’s intensive use of pesticides and fertilizers that have contributed to the loss of biodiversity and negatively affected human health. To reconnect people with nature, myfood developed a series of compact smart greenhouses to give communities around the world the opportunity to cultivate a healthy and diverse diet with fresh produce year-round from the comfort of their homes. Related: 3-hectare desert farm in Jordan can grow 286,600 pounds of veggies each year myfood currently has three types of smart greenhouses. For urban dwellers, the startup developed the 3.5-square-meter City smart greenhouse that can produce up to 100 kilograms of fruit and vegetables and can fit atop a rooftop, terrace , large balcony or small garden. Single urban dwellers with a very small living footprint can consider the 0.65-square-meter Aerospring Vertical Garden, which can grow up to 40 kilograms of fruit and vegetables a year in a small pot. The largest option, which is best suited for a single-family home with a yard, is the 22-square-meter Family smart greenhouse that can grow up to 400 kilograms of fruit and vegetables a year and is ideal for four people. All myfood structures are designed for easy and quick installation and are equipped with LED lighting and other energy-efficient systems that can be monitored remotely from a smartphone. Buyers also have the option to customize their smart greenhouses to best suit their needs, from off-grid applications to winterizing. “ Climate change requires a profound change in our consumption habits to limit our carbon dioxide emissions,” said Mickaël Gandecki, myfood co-founder. “To easily cultivate in a sustainable and efficient way, we employ both a synergy between fish and plants, as well as an approach inspired by nature and based on cutting-edge agronomic research. The connected and intelligent features enrich the experience by collecting parameters useful for managing the greenhouse. A dedicated social network supports users from the launch of the project, to the first harvests and beyond.” + myfood Images via myfood

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myfoods smart greenhouses can grow nearly 900 pounds of produce a year

Seaweed pavilion encourages environmental conservation at WEF

February 4, 2020 by  
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In the landlocked Swiss town of Davos-Klosters, German designer Julia Lohmann has brought multi-sensory elements of the sea to guests of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 50th Annual Meeting. Hidaka Ohmu is a seaweed installation accompanied by a seaweed prototyping workshop. Created as part of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum exhibition, ‘Partnering with Nature,’ the installation aims to “encourage participants to play with natural elements, learn about the symbiotic relationships in nature and be inspired to imagine a more cohesive approach to working with nature.” Made from kelp and rattan, the organic pavilion immerses visitors in the scents and colors of the ocean as a reminder of the importance of environmental conservation. The Hidaka Ohmu installation is part of Julia Lohmann’s Department of Seaweed, an ongoing collection of work that explores the sustainable uses of seaweed and ways the material can be used to spark dialogue. At WEF, the installation took the shape of an organic pavilion with a rattan frame and semi-translucent kelp panels, the colors of which change depending on the light. Hidaka Ohmu takes its name from the Hidaka kelp used for the installation and the pavilion’s resemblance to Ohmu, the massive insect-like creatures from the 1984 Japanese animated film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind , a cautionary sci-fi tale of environmental devastation. Related: 100% biodegradable, edible packaging is so much better than plastic In addition to exploring the sights and smells of Hidaka Ohmu, WEF participants were invited to create objects from seaweed themselves in Lohmann’s Department of Seaweed prototyping workshop. The workshop aims to make science and our relationship with nature more tangible as a means of encouraging environmentally responsible actions and raising awareness about climate change . The installation and workshop were presented from January 21 to January 24, 2020. “We need an empathic, more than human-centric way of engaging with nature,” Lohmann said. “Every species has an equal right to life on this planet. We can use the same human ingenuity that has led to the climate crisis we are facing now — and design has a lot to answer for in this — to protect and regenerate the ecosystem that sustains us.” + Julia Lohmann Photography by Valeriano Di Domenico, Farouk Pinjo, Claran McCrickard, and Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary via WEF

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Seaweed pavilion encourages environmental conservation at WEF

Old bus is converted into a mobile greenhouse to teach students about sustainable eating habits

October 15, 2019 by  
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Sometimes, a little hands-on education goes a very long way when it comes to instilling sustainable and healthy eating habits in children. Parents in New Jersey are rejoicing thanks to a refurbished bus that is on a mission to educate young students on a variety of food education issues, from better eating habits to urban gardening. Designed by Tessellate Studio , the Mobile Food Lab is a 300-square-foot bus that has been customized with a built-in greenhouse, classroom science lab and art exhibit space. Working in collaboration with Reed Foundation , Tessellate Studio designed the bus to offer customized space for sustainable food education for the New Jersey area. Inside the Mobile Food Lab, students will find a hydroponic garden that grows sustainable veggies, fruit and herbs as well as space to conduct food experiments. There’s even an art studio. Related: Toronto’s converted veggie bus brings produce to food desert areas To make space for the educational activities, which welcome up to 30 students at a time, the converted bus is divided into three zones. The central area is “the social zone,” which is comprised of skylights and 4,000 feet of rope that is hung from the ceiling to create a nest-like sanctuary. This space was designed to facilitate conversation and brainstorming. The next area is for cooking and consists of a lush, hydroponic garden. In this space, students can learn the ins and outs of urban gardening , while also using the adjacent food preparation area that includes a stove top, sink and cutting service. Moving farther along the bus, students will find a fun food science area. This space comes complete with digital microscopes, LCD monitor, test tubes of herbs and spices and a “taste” chart, with which students can learn the science of taste. At the end of the mobile lab, there is an arts area tucked into a small nook. This section was customized to store two foldable carts that can be wheeled off the bus to create additional space for arts and crafts activities. According to the studio, the bus was strategically designed to “help children develop a healthy connection to food by harnessing their innate curiosity through a multi-sensory experience of smell, sight, touch and taste. The MFL uses food as the medium to teach a curriculum of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM).” Launched in September 2018, the Mobile Food Lab has set up its sustainable food education bus in a number of areas throughout New Jersey, including schools, parks and various public events. In fact, the project has been so successful since its inception that the lab has earned a runner-up award in the Social Impact category of the Core77 Design Awards . + Tessellate Studio + The Mobile Lab Via Core77 Images via Mobile Food Lab

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Old bus is converted into a mobile greenhouse to teach students about sustainable eating habits

TREDJE NATUR proposes angled timber housing that meets UNs sustainability goals

June 13, 2019 by  
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Copenhagen-based architectural firm TREDJE NATUR has unveiled an urban housing proposal that ticks all the right boxes for beautiful and sustainable design. Created to follow the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals — a blueprint of 17 goals ranging from affordable and clean energy to responsible consumption and production — TREDJE NATUR’s proposed mixed-use development is estimated to save 30 to 50 percent of carbon emissions compared to conventional housing construction. Named “New Angle” after the timber townhouses’ sharply pitched rooflines, the site-specific housing development emphasizes safe and low-carbon community living, biodiversity, flexibility and protection from the elements and traffic noise. Created as part of a feasibility study for the Copenhagen Metropolitan Area, New Angle comprises nearly 130,000 square feet of housing and a little over 160,000 square feet of office space. The development has been proposed for a commercial site sandwiched between two different motorways and a ring road. TREDJE NATUR’s design is a direct response to the site conditions, particularly the noise nuisances from surrounding traffic. The layout and shape of the houses create an inward-looking development that ensures optimized daylighting for all residents, ample green space and protection from traffic noise. Set on a parking plinth, the townhouses are arranged in an L-shaped ring with steeply sloped roofs angled toward the central common green space that can be used for urban gardening and recreation. The angle of the roof profiles not only shields residents from traffic noise, but also allows for integrated solar panels with maximum performance and rainwater collection systems. The renderings show the housing would be built primarily from timber with a strong emphasis on the outdoors and neighborly connection. Related: World’s first upcycled high-rise is proposed for Copenhagen “The CO2 savings happen through the building design, choice of materials, systematic solutions, focus on climate and biodiversity and overall by creating a framework for a strong community and a sustainable lifestyle,” explained the architects, who said the design is a more sustainable alternative to the conventional multistory building. “Apart from significant CO2 savings, calculations also show that the project is economically sustainable and can be constructed with low establishment costs compared to similar housing units.” + TREDJE NATUR Images via TREDJE NATUR

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TREDJE NATUR proposes angled timber housing that meets UNs sustainability goals

A 1923 building in Quebec is now a light-filled public market complete with aquaponics systems

June 7, 2019 by  
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Discerning foodies in Quebec will soon have a beautiful new market to buy their locally grown fare. Local architectural firms Bisson Associés and Atelier Pierre Thibault are at the final stages of converting the Pavillon du Commerce, which dates back to 1923, into the light-filled Grand Marché, a public market that features aquaponics systems. As one of Quebec’s most beloved buildings, the architects were determined to retain as many original features of the nearly century-old Pavillon du Commerce as possible while turning it into a modern public market . The renovation managed to conserve the building’s beautiful wooden ceilings and brick walls as well as its original columns and pediments. Related: MVRDV-designed market in Taiwan will grow food on a massive green roof Although the new market, which boasts a whopping 96,875 square feet, retains a lot of the building’s original features, the architectural team managed to implement a number of modern materials into the new space. For instance, the interior facades of the building as well as the individual stalls were all constructed using CLT panels . The market will also be equipped with an on-site food waste management system that collects organic matter to be sent to the city’s biomethanation plant. According to the architects, the new market was designed to be a city landmark and general meeting place. The stalls are carefully placed in a village-like layout meant to foster socialization. The interior space is bathed in natural light thanks to large skylights and fully-opening windows on the south-facing facade, and it also features a wooden, bleacher-like staircase where people can sit and chat. In addition to selling local fare, the market will include a family space for workshops, a cooking school, an urban gardening education center and a technology showcase that highlights agro-food innovation. To focus on sustainable food growth, the market is working with the Institute on Nutrition and Functional Foods to install an aquaponics system and a mycelium incubator in the market. Not only will this space be used to sustainably grow food, but it will also be designed as a training and research center for the general public. + Bisson Associés + Atelier Pierre Thibault Photography by Maxime Brouillet via v2com

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A 1923 building in Quebec is now a light-filled public market complete with aquaponics systems

This Garden Planner makes urban gardening easy

February 18, 2019 by  
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Gardening can seem like a daunting task. When do you plant? What should you plant in your area? How can you effectively grow produce? When you start asking the questions, it may become too overwhelming to tackle. But don’t walk away from the idea of a balcony overflowing with greenery just yet, because the team at The Green Conspiracy understands your angst. With all of these questions in mind, The Green Conspiracy has designed a journal that can guide you through the process from initial planning to harvest. Specifically targeting urban gardening with its unique challenges, the Garden Planner provides step-by-step instructions to help you monitor your progress. Related: Farmscape helps communities embrace urban farming The template allows the user to list what was planted and then chart the plant growth in order to keep a record of problems, timelines and harvests. The goal is not only to identify problems early, but also to produce a record that will provide information for successful subsequent planting seasons. Another section of the planner actually includes a planting calendar, so you can organize when seeds or plants should go into the ground. Designed similar to old-style address books, the handy tabs down the side will help you find information quickly. In the plant profile section, you can store information gathered elsewhere along with original seed packets for reference later. The tips section provides essential information and advice, specifically targeted toward gardeners growing in the city. There is also space to sketch out the design of your urban garden or even to include recipes for when the produce is ripe. With an obvious interest in sustainability, the Green Conspiracy has focused on an eco-friendly design using vegetable-based oils and renewable raw materials. As a result, the planner is 100 percent recyclable . The designers of the Garden Planner felt compelled to motivate the urban gardener , and it seems to be a hit with both seasoned and newbie green thumbs. With a new launch on Kickstarter already earning nearly 60 percent of the goal, it seems that many people share a common interest in organizing their urban gardening efforts. The Kickstarter campaign closes March 7, 2019. + The Green Conspiracy Images via The Green Conspiracy

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This Garden Planner makes urban gardening easy

Brilliant home made out of cascading concrete planter boxes grows more than 40 types of edible plants

January 31, 2019 by  
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Built for a retired couple who loves to grow their own food, this home design by Kuala Lumpur-based firm FormZero is comprised of several concrete blocks planted with more than 40 types of edible plants on every floor. With various patio spaces that double as mini home gardens , the Planter Box House oscillates between garden, farm and living space. The home’s overall design was heavily influenced by Kuala Lumpur’s vernacular. Being that the area is a tropical region, the homes are often built with split bamboo, a practice that goes back to the area’s indigenous people. By using bamboo as form work for the concrete cladding, the architects not only paid homage to the local history and culture, but ensured a durable design that would last years. Using the two durable and low-maintenance materials added extra resilience to the design so that the three-story home could withstand heavy rain storms and local pollution. Related: Giant bamboo planters protect a Ho Chi Minh City home from the sun and rain In addition to the home’s resilient features, the architects worked closely with the homeowners to create a design that would enable the couple to grow their own food . Accordingly, the design is a 3,650 square feet building that spans over three stories, with every level outfitted with various concrete planters that provide ample space for growing a variety of plants. A custom-made irrigation system, a joint endeavor between the couple and the architects, enables the boxes to store and reuse rainwater. The cascading design was a strategic feature that helps each box enjoy optimal natural light , but also adds a system of natural air ventilation throughout the interior. On every floor of the home, large sliding glass doors that lead out to the balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows create a strong connection to the exterior. All-white walls and minimal furnishings, along with the abundance of greenery, will allow the homeowners to enjoy a healthy, self-sufficient lifestyle as they age. + FormZero Via Archdaily Photography by Ameen Deen via FormZer

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Brilliant home made out of cascading concrete planter boxes grows more than 40 types of edible plants

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