Part Two: Integrating Nature into the Concrete Jungle – Vegitecture

In Part One of this series, I outlined the need for the human soul to interact with the natural environment by introducing plants to the urban landscape. We have found that advancements in technology and environmental consciousness have helped to open the door to reviving cities lost to the concrete jungle.  In this post, I will explore Vegitecture and examine three projects befitting the title.

What is Vegitecture?

Simply put: A unique form of architecture that seamlessly integrates plants into a building’s frame work. Vegitecture’s environmental impact is as noticeable as its plants too. That impact helps to reduce effects of heat island and smog, boosts shading, food production, and so on. As stated by Landscape+Urbanism, here are four defining elements in vegitecture:

1. Using vegetation as a primary component of the building skin and roof systems.
2. Creating usable site area in urban development by implementing landscaping on structure.
3. Blurring the lines between interior and exterior spaces through design.
4. Use of these strategies for environmental and social benefits.

Simple inclusion of plants here and there in architecture, pocket parks, on roofs, and on the street, make the concrete jungle a more friendly place for people to call a city home. Such projects befitting of the title vegitecture include a Miami parking structure, a design competition for an extension of nature over a busy freeway, and the lush greenery on the sides of an office building.

Arquitectonica was the lead on this Miami Parking Garage and have proven in their work, that integrating plants into urban environments is a must. From an aesthetics point of view, the inclusion of plants is wonderful, but its the softening effect and the calmness that plants can provide in chaotic surroundings that are subconsciously important.

The recent ARC: International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition is a perfect example of vegitecture and the future of cohabitation. With land development occurring and the continual threat on nature, wildlife have been separated from their habitats. We can’t expect animals to bring together their environments when humans have intervened. This project allows humans to live their fast-paced, modern lifestyles while reducing the impact on the animal kingdom. Read more about the competition, the winner, and the ideas behind the concepts.

Located in Santiago, Chile, the Consorcio Office building’s vegitecture acts as a vital environmental mitigation strategy: “The Consorcio Building in Santiago is one of the most sustainable office buildings, with up to 48% less energy usage thanks to its green wall, which turns red in autumn.” Inclusion of such plants bring insects into the picture, and help to spread and pollinate plants in the urban realm. (The beautiful colors of the plants aren’t too bad either.) This is a strong example of the benefits that vegitecture has on the environment, nature, and the personal well-being of those in the city.

Photo credit courtesy Landscape+UrbanismTreehugger, and Olin Studio

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