A healthy environment that is also visually appealing in our homes has become increasingly sought when it comes to designing houses and residential spaces, especially during the world’s current context. One of the most successful ways of achieving this is through a thoughtful design of the landscape that complements the built project. The art of landscaping is the arrangement of nature’s raw material elements, like vegetation and planting, combined with nonliving elements, such as exterior structures, paving, and decking, in order to create site-specific solutions that enhance the exterior spaces of a project.
The discipline requires knowledge and very specific techniques that many times go beyond the architectural fields per se, and it is why landscape architecture and design has appeared as an expertise branch of design. This has made it very common for architects to resort to collaborative work with landscape offices when working on residential projects.
Particularly in residential landscape architecture, we have found two main ways of resolving gardens, depending on the setting and context on which the project sits. In houses that are already set in natural and green environments, the main objective of landscaping is to tame this exterior greenery as it approaches the house. On the other hand, when the project is located in more dense residential areas, the challenge is to integrate greenery into the house as much as possible through terraces, exterior flooring, and interior courtyards.
This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Collective Design. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has approved a comprehensive plan to transform Champs-Élysées, the city’s most famous avenue. Though the €250m makeover will not happen before the French capital hosts the 2024 Summer Olympics, the proposal aims to turn a 1.2 mile stretch of central Paris into an expansive garden. The proposal includes reducing space for vehicles, turning roads into pedestrian green areas, and creating tunnels of trees to improve air quality.
Plans for the latest iteration of Champs-Élysées were unveiled in 2019 by local community leaders and businesses, while a major redesign has been proposed since 2018. The redesign aims to address the avenue’s “loss of splendor” over the last 30 years. Architect Philippe Chiambaretta of PCA-Stream created the latest plans for the development proposal. Chiambaretta said the Champs-Élysées has become a place reflecting the problems faced by cities around the world, namely pollution, the rise in transportation by car, tourism and consumerism.
The Champs-Élysées’ name is French for the mythical Greek paradise, the Elysian Fields. As The Guardian notes, it was originally a mixture of swamp and small gardens. It was renamed the Champs-Élysées in 1709 and extended. However, today it is famous for “its expensive cafes, luxury shops, high-end car salesrooms, commercial rents among the highest in the world and the annual Bastille Day military parade.” The new plans include redesigning the famous Place de la Concorde at the south-east end of the avenue.
The transformation of the Champs-Élysées aims to be complete by 2030.
Chapman Taylor has unveiled a masterplan for an 80-hectare World Horticultural EXPO in Łódź, Poland’s third-largest city. Also known as Green EXPO, the international exhibition devoted to the use of greenery and landscaping in urban environments will be located in the heart of the city center, in proximity to the main railway station, and surrounded by the urban fabric.
Developed on a site that includes two existing parks, the project is also adjacent to the city’s Medical University. Part of the city’s longer-term development strategy, the masterplan will introduce substantially more green space within the city’s urban fabric. It will act as an engine of urban regeneration, creating pocket gardens, living streets, and a network of over 120km of green trails.
Focusing on regenerating, restoring, recycling, repurposing, and reusing, Chapman Taylor’s masterplan concept is arranged around four themed zones: Nature of Leisure, Nature of Living, Nature of Health, and Nature of Business. Moreover, an overall “Nature of Us” theme “combines elements of all the others to reflect a modern city that provides employment, facilitates rest and recharging in green surroundings, showcases cultural diversity, and provides daily close contact with the environment, delivering significant physical and mental health benefits”.
Nature of Leisure: May the 3rd Park represents forest and lake environments, offering family recreation as well as sport and fitness options for people of all ages within the park’s restored and enhanced spaces, designed with respect for its history.
Nature of Living: Baden Powell Park will host the main EXPO program, including the Polish Pavilion, the City of Łódź Pavilion surrounded by Gardens of Four Cultures, the international participants’ National Gardens, an amphitheater, a viewing tower, and exhibition halls.
Nature of Health: the Zieleniec area includes environmentally friendly design solutions combined with EcoUMed Health Academy’s Horti-therapy program, Gardens of Healthy Food, Clean Air and Water, Gardens of Senses, and the Circular Village.
Nature of Business: the Zatorze area will host conferences, seminars, scientific meetings, and business networking, with a focus on the exchange of ideas for improving quality of life.
Created in consultation with the city and more than 50 other organizations, the project was originally scheduled for 2024, but the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the Łódź event being rearranged for 2029. Anticipating 4.5 million visitors from 43 countries, the project will be open for six months for the Expo. After its completion, some facilities will remain, while others will be converted to new uses such as permanent exposition spaces as well as business and administration, cultural, educational, healthcare, sport and leisure, recreational and gastronomic facilities – all within a mostly retained and carefully maintained, landscaped green environment. In addition, some pavilions, structures, and installations will be moved to other locations within the city, mainly its public green areas, parks, and squares.
Modern Portuguese architecture has a renowned tradition of exploring the virtues of the landscape, either by integrating or emphasizing the natural elements to create new landscapes that result from the overlapping of culture and nature. Some fine examples are the Boa Nova Tea House and the Leça da Palmeira Tide Pools, both designed by Álvaro Siza, reacting to the rocky seascape where they lie, each in its own way.
However, it is not just Modern Architecture that is concerned with the landscape. In Portugal, contemporary works have been revealing exciting examples of the possibilities of approaching the natural environment, exploring its potential without compromising its integrity. To illustrate this, we have gathered 12 contemporary projects that use different resources to explore the relationship between natural and built.
Public space has always been a top priority in every city’s urban planning agenda and given today’s world context, these urban spaces have emerged as fundamental elements of cities and neighborhoods. Plazas, squares, and parks, undeniable necessities in the urban fabric, have become, today, more vital than ever.
Not only these spaces have a positive impact on health, but they generate recreational space to exercise, play, meet, and socialize with others. In addition, quality public and open spaces are key in generating human connections within cities’ neighborhoods. Having an open space to enjoy, certainly prompts a sense of community and belonging to one’s own proximate environment, whilst creating positive psychological effects by establishing relationships between members of the community.
To provide people with accessible, human-centered, quality spaces, cities have sought help from architects. In fact, the high demand for these types of places required excellent design and architectural value. Below is a selection of projects that have successfully regenerated existing urban spaces and transformed them into active and vibrant squares, plazas, and riverfronts.
The plaza also works as a transition between two worlds, the city, and the neighboring park. The landscape character of the park continues into the plaza in the form of the organic pattern of trees. Towards east and west, the plaza is raised up and folded to provide niches. In addition, it has a sculptural expression that refers to its historical past as part of the fortifications. The surface functions as a large urban playground and a space for activity.
The idea with the new Israels Plads is to celebrate the significance and the history of the site and revitalize it, turning it into a vibrant, diverse plaza for all kinds of people – for leisure, culture, activity and public events.
A people-centred planning that offers the opportunity to gain new public spaces by creating proximity squares in the chamfer corners and green-healthy streets where previously there were cars.
Where previously there was an urban highway, now there is a healthy street full of life and green, where there was a traffic intersection now there is a liveable plaza. Car noise has been replaced by children playing, cheerful conversations between neighbours or elderly people chess games … The transformation continues together with this flexible landscape capable of integrating new changes derived from urban testing and social innovation.
What was previously a largely unused space adjoined by historical buildings is now becoming a new, inviting public amenity where you can casually enjoy a coffee in your lunch break or get some work done outdoors while children play in the water, young people skate and students relax in the sun…
The real challenge was to preserve cultural heritage while creating space for social transformation. And the solution was innovative architecture that caters to the needs of today’s society: bright, friendly, open, and connecting.
Based on thorough field investigation, the following strategies were proposed: 1. Separate pedestrians from vehicular traffic to give way to slow-traffic circulation and ensure safe daily trips of residents; 2. Highlight the functional characteristics of each public space and simplify/enhance the existing site as needed; 3. Enhance the slow-traffic loop and public experience, and link up the industrial exhibition area, river landscape, community park, market, theater, and buildings of different historical periods to offer diverse daily experience.
We transformed the square into a captivating, dynamic public space with multi-character environments and qualities that are inclusive of different groups of people.
In place of the former central axis, we created a “city carpet” that functions as three squares, each with its own unique character: The Event Square is a paved urban space that is also used for weekly outdoor markets. The “Green Square” is for relaxing on the lawn and enjoying the seasonal landscaping by the city’s planting department. The Cultural Square has a renovated fountain and a new shallow pool for playing in water on hot days. This square is connected to the municipality and a movie theater that is located inside.
The project’s landscaping was studied anew, and turned into a local ecosystem anticipating the creation of a new urban ecology for the city. Local species were chosen to increase the system’s natural resistance by reacting to ongoing climate change. Trees, shrubs and perennials were combined to foster urban biodiversity and control the city center’s microclimate. Albania’s nature’s richness in diverse species and varieties is thus valorized, allowing public space to assume bot recreational and educative functions.
The mall’s underground parking level has been transformed into a sunken public plaza dominated by an urban pool and verdant local plants and surrounded by a shadowed arcade. The pool has been carefully planned to be a perfect gathering spot for all seasons: the water level will rise and fall in response to the rainy and dry seasons, and in hot weather mist sprayers will reduce the local temperature to provide welcome relief to visitors, reducing the use of air conditioning in the summer months. This space hosts playgrounds, gathering spaces, and a stage for performances, while the artful deconstruction of the building’s concrete frame has left a number of follies that can in due course be converted to shops, kiosks, and other amenities.
At a macro level, the design seeks to establish a park that serves two functions. Firstly, as a destination where people can pause, interact, and enjoy river views. Secondly as a device that links the disparate levels of the lower river path, upper promenade, and main street.
For some, it’s a space to play, for some a place to contemplate, a place to find solitude or a place to be in community. For others, it’s a means of access or a place to exercise. A new market, concerts, yoga classes, boot camps, skateboarders, meeting friends to eat together, all occupy this space. Sitting down in the park and overhearing both young and old as they discover it for the first time is a real joy.
With construction of all phases now complete, the redevelopment of Hamburg’s Niederhafen flood protection barrier re-connects its river promenade with the surrounding urban fabric of the city; serving as a popular riverside walkway while also creating links with adjacent neighbourhoods.
A minimum width of ten metres ensures this popular riverside promenade offers generous public spaces for pedestrians, joggers, street performers, food stalls and cafes. Shops and public utilities are also accommodated within the structure at street level facing the city. Wide staircases resembling small amphitheatres are carved within the flood protection barrier at points where streets from the adjacent neighbourhoods meet the structure; giving passers-by at street level views of the people strolling along the promenade at the top of the barrier as well as views of the masts and superstructures of ships in the Elbe.
Note: The quoted texts are excerpts from the archived descriptions of each project, previously sent by the architects. Find more reference projects in this My ArchDaily folder created by the author.
This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: How Will We Live Together. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics here. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.
With the high population density of cities and voracious appetite of the market for every square meter, it is not uncommon for urban vegetation to be forgotten. For this reason, forests, vegetable gardens, and vertical gardens have aroused much interest and figured into a variety of different innovative proposals. Using the vertical plane to maintain plants in an urban setting is a coherent and common-sense solution, especially when there is little possibility of bringing green to the level of the people on the streets.
Vertical vegetation works as more than just an aesthetic adornment. Plants block a part of the solar radiation that hits a building’s surfaces, making indoor spaces cooler and reducing the need for air conditioners. This measure can save electrical energy by 30% due to evaporative cooling and shading . In front of a blind gable, plants can lower the temperature of the masonry, reducing heat gains, while over an opening, it can filter sunlight that would enter the space. Deciduous vegetation options are an interesting possibility as well, allowing solar radiation to enter in the winter bur stopping it in the summer. In addition to making the air quality better, the leaves also absorb sound (research shows a decrease of up to 5 dB) and reduce discomfort due to unwanted external noise. Finally, it allows the facade to change its colors periodically, with blossoms attracting bees and other insects that are important for the environment and food production.
Some vertical garden systems use felt pockets, where the substrate is inserted and the roots of the plants develop. In others urban garden typologies, masonry blocks or other façade elements simply leave space for the development of foliage.
But a very simple way to grow an urban garden is to use climbing plants with metal grids and cables where the plants cling to and grow, creating a vertical vegetation cover. The design is quite simple. There are usually small stalls, where substrates are inserted for plant roots to develop. A light structure of galvanized metal or stainless steel, resistant to weather and corrosion, is usually spaced between 5 and 20 cm from the facade, allowing the plant to grow with an ample amount of free space.
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Wall system, where climbing plants or cascading groundcovers are trained to cover specially designed supporting structures. See more
It is important to note that each species of vine requires different kinds of support, allowing it to develop in the most effective way. There are species that cling to the surface without any support, while others curl up through the stem, leaves, or even through the thorns. Therefore, it is essential to research the desired plant species, learn whether it adapts well to the local climate and chosen facade, and as a result develop the solution that best suits it.
In the gallery below, see a collection of projects that use this method to create green facades through grids and steel cables:
In the city of Milan, architecture firm LAD identified a busy roundabout with the potential to host a new public square typology. Sovraparco, literally “over park,” is a design by the Italian firm to better utilize an existing area in the city, Piazzale Loreto, by infusing it with greenery and public space. The project intentionally does not impose on the surrounding buildings to revamp the area, but instead inserts itself into the central space and aims to rethink what belongs to the public sector.
Present day Piazzale Loreto is an important central hub and gateway to Milan, yet is surrounded by uninspiring facades and contains no usable public green space. LAD felt it their duty, once they recognized the opportunity, to take on the problem with an architectural solution. Though it is a project with no client or request for proposals, the firm uses Sovraparco to make a statement about the responsibility of designers to use their skills to improve the built environment when and where it is needed.
The proposal is a hanging garden above a public square (or circle, more accurately). The imposition of the circle restores the site’s original form as it was in 1865 when it had once already been a public plaza. By inhabiting what is currently a shapeless void, it restores focus to the public, pedestrian function of an area today dominated by vehicles. Below is a heavily trafficked underground junction which would be opened to an airy sunken plaza with the Sovraparco concept.
Above, in the garden, the reversed dome shape shields views of the traffic beyond while remaining open to the sky. Visitors are relatively shielded from the pollution and vehicle noise, semi-isolated in the middle of an urban area. The garden has two levels, connected by a system of ramps, with an oculus in the center that looks down into the plaza. LAD determined that with today’s dense urban fabric, introducing green space to the city would be most quickly and efficiently achieved via an addition to an existing space rather than wholesale substitution.
MVRDV has broken ground on a wholesale market for fruit and vegetables in Tainan, Taiwan. Defined by a terraced, accessible green roof, the open-air market will serve as both an important hub in Taiwan’s supply chain, and a destination for meeting, socializing, and taking in views of the surrounding landscape.
Named the “Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market,” the MVRDV scheme transforms an often-prosaic aspect of the food industry into a public experience of food and nature. Located in a strategic position between the city and mountains, with good public transport links, the scheme sits at a convenient node for traders, buyers, and visitors.
The scheme comprises of a simple open structure, with high undulating ceilings allowing for natural ventilation, and an undulating terraced green roof that steps down to ground level to offer public access. The dynamic terrace, housing different products from the area, takes on the appearance of rolling green hills, thus becoming a continuation of the landscape. On one side, a four-story structure contains the market’s administrative offices, a restaurant, and an exhibition center for agricultural products. This simple building intersects with the main structure, thus offering secondary access to the landscaped roof.
The landscaped roof will be divided into terraces, each growing a different crop. Pineapples, rice, roses, and tea will be separated onto levels determined by the plant’s climatic requirements. Sheltered spots, benches, and picnic tables will be incorporated into the roof, offering a balance between agricultural productivity, and recreation.
Tainan, in my opinion, is one of those towns which is so beautiful to me because maybe most of its nature, agriculture fields, farms, sea, and mountains. Tainan Market can become a building that symbolizes this beauty as it compliments both the landscape and its surrounding environment. It is completely functional and caters to the needs for auctioning, selling and buying goods, but its terraced roof with its collection of growing products will allow visitors to take in the landscape while escaping from bustle below.
-Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV
The design for the scheme was completed in collaboration with LLJ Architects, with completion expected in 2020.
Project Name:Tainan Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market Location:Tainan Xinhua district, Taiwan Year: 2016+ Client:Tainan City Government Agriculture Bureau Size and Programme: 80,000 m² wholesale and auction market including 11,510 m² roofed area (first phase) covering 180 market plots and space for auction, logistic, freezer storage and service facilities; administrative office, gates, and a roof-top restaurant. Architect: MVRDV Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas Partner/Director: Wenchian Shi Design Team: Hui-Hsin Liao, Xiaoting Chen, Chi Yi Liao, Chiara Girolami, Enrico Pintabona, Maria Lopez, Gustavo van Staveren, Emma Rubeillon, Dong Min Lee, Jose Sanmartin, Cheng Cai, Nienhsun Huang. Visualizations: Antonio Coco, Pavlos Ventouris Copyright:MVRDV 2018 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries) Co-architects:LLJ Architects; 510 Wu Yi Ling Architects, Taipei, Taiwan Landscape: The Urbanists Collaborative, Taipei, Taiwan Structure: Columbus Engineering Consultants Inc., Taipei, Taiwan Installation: Frontier Tech Institute, Taoyuang, Taiwan Soil and Water: Kuo Soil and Water Technicians, Taipei, Taiwan
Schmidt Hammer Lassen has announced details of their second U.S. project: the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, Massachusetts. An adaptive reuse project that will bring new life to Boston’s Commonwealth Pier, the 68,500-square-meter mixed-use project seeks to reactivate a historic maritime hub to create a new waterfront destination.
The largest pier building in the world when completed in 1901, the Commonwealth Pier will be reactivated with the introduction of new materials, increased daylight, and new points of connectivity. The exercise in adaptive reuse will contain flexible office space, dynamic event space, new retail, dining, and public amenities.
Central to the SHL scheme is the iconic Headhouse structure, is the preservation of rich historic architecture. Stone arches and cornices of the Headhouse will remain intact, while columns and column connections will be exposed. A northern extension will see the addition of curtain walls and other lightweight materials to allow the building to integrate seamlessly into its neighborhood context.
Throughout the development, 15,200 square meters of enhanced outdoor space will include courtyards, walkways, green spaces, and a grand plaza. To the southwest, a 2,300-square-meter waterfront plaza will become a central node for the pier, accommodating year-round events with dotted tree planting, custom seating, and moveable fixtures.
Meanwhile, a paved pedestrian path will run the entire perimeter of the project, with views of downtown, East Boston, and Boston Harbor. Throughout the path, niches cut into the building’s façade will create unique public seating areas, with shelter, signage, and connectivity to retail and dining.
The Seaport World Trade Center has a rich history and the ambition to become a central component of the rapidly developing Seaport District. This project is about more than redesigning a building. It becomes a masterplanning task as thousands of people will utilize the building and its surrounding plazas, courtyards, and walkways each day.
-Kristian Ahlmark, Partner and Design Director, Schmidt Hammer Lassen
The scheme was developed in collaboration with developer Pembroke Real Estate LLC, executive architect CBT Architects, and landscaping by Sasaki. Construction is expected to begin in 2020.