Green architecture

It is another beautiful day in Tucson, but there is a squadron of clouds overhead, and reinforcements parked over the Catalina Mountains, so we may get more rain.  A pyrrhuloxia (Arizona’s version of a cardinal) flew cheeping into the yard today, a splash of red in an otherwise grey-green desert.  But I guess my “restaurant” was only hot on the weekend; only about 6 finches at the birdfeeder this morning.

As a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited architect I am always attracted by  new Green design.  The Wendell Wyatt Federal Building in Portland, Oregon was featured in a NY Times article last week: 

This is an architectural rendering of the trellises designed to shade the western facade of the main federal building (right)

Of course, our dearly beloved senator McCain is no-ing yet again.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the plan. In December, Senator John McCain of Arizona …Republican, criticized the cost of the project and ranked it second on a list of what they called the 100 worst stimulus-financed projects.

French botanist and artist Patrick Blanc’s is world-renowned as the inventor of mur végétal walls that flourish without soil, on a durable frame of metal, PVC and a special felt.  In the US his 800-square-foot vertical garden for the Goodwill-Milgard Work Opportunity Center in Tacoma, Washington was unveiled in September (above)

Patrick Blanc has been creating these botanical tapestries since 1988 … all over the world, but is only gaining fame fairly recently and international attention thanks to several high profile jobs, such as the Marche des Halles in d’Avignon (below),  

the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris by Jean Nouvel (below left),

the Caixa Forim in Madrid by architects Herzog and de Meuron (below right)… just to name a few.

Blanc’s vertical gardens don’t need soil as soil is merely a mechanical support. Only water and the necessary minerals the plants need dissolved in a solution are used, together with light and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis to happen. It’s like art by hydroponics, which is just the man-made way of recreating what already happens in nature.

Blanc will be designing a vertical garden for the new wing of the San Francisco Drew School.  This will be Blanc’s largest American green wall.  I can hardly wait to see it.

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