March 28th – Vertical Gardens Opening at Exit Art (N.Y.)

Above: A living wall in Paris by Patrick Blanc (left), and “Vertical Garden (Weeds)” by Naomi Reis

Date & Time: Opening Saturday, March 28th, 6-8PM (Closing May 23rd, 2009)
Venue: Exit Art (Go here for map & hours)
Location: 475 Tenth Ave. at 36th St / New York, NY 10018
Price: $5 suggested donation

A “living wall,” a part of a building made entirely of vegetation, is not a fantasy. Just look at these pictures and see for yourself. In cities where arable land is scarce, it makes perfect sense to build vertically oriented “sky farms” for cultivating both food and oxygen, two things all humans need to live. So what’s stopping us? This ingenious method of farming is not only practical; it provides us with a dream-like vision of the future, where cities of glass and metal could possibly be infused with green patches of living, organic architecture.

One of the original plans for a World Trade Center memorial included a glass building with certain floors dedicated to tree nurseries. As the trees matured, the idea was to distribute the trees throughout Manhattan in memory of those who died. Unfortunately, some people were not thrilled with the idea of Manhattan regressing to the forest it once was…but hey, if they’re doing it in Paris, why not New York? Read on:

NEW YORK – A project of SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics), Vertical Gardens is an exhibition of architectural models, renderings, drawings, photographs and ephemera that depict or imagine a vertical farm, urban garden or green roof. It features over 20 projects, both imaginary and real, by artists and architects that envision solutions for building greener urban environments. The highlight of this exhibition is an eight-foot high living green wall by Edmundo Ortega and Dianne Rohrer.

The past decade has seen a greater emergence of green roofs and vertical gardens created by artists, designers, architects and urban gardeners to combat the lack of flora in the city. Buildings around the world — from the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, to the Queens Botanical Garden in New York — have embraced green walls or roofs for all their economical, environmental, and aesthetic values. Vertical farms and gardens are also being envisioned as new ways to feed local and organic foods to city dwellers. Largely based on the principles of hydro-ponics, vertical gardens would also be mostly self-sustaining because they would capture large amounts of natural sunlight and water, and could use wind as an energy source. In a country where cities are suffocated by high rises, cement and industrial materials, where can green space exist? As this exhibition demonstrates, one possible answer is “up.”

These and other urban parks and gardens provide areas for socialization and recreation; a location for a city farm or community land-trust; an outlet through which hundreds of people can learn about farming and agriculture; and the addition of much needed plant and animal life to the otherwise concrete jungle.

FEATURING PROJECTS BY:

Abruzzo Bodziak Architects; ATOPIA; Bob Bingham and Claire Hoch; Patrick Blanc; Bohn & Viljoen Architects; Dickson Despommier; Evo Design with Mica Gross; Todd Haiman; Haus-Rucker-Inc.; Edmundo Ortega and Dianne Rohrer; Claude Boullevraye de Passillé; Oda Projesi; Rael San Fratello Architects (Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael); Naomi Reis; Roomservices (Evren Uzer and Otto Von Busch); SITE (Denise MC Lee, Sara Stracey and James Wines)

Also featuring photographic documentation of existing buildings containing vertical farms, gardens or green roofs, including those by Hundertwasser; Renzo Piano with Chong Partners and Stantec; Emilio Ambasz & Associates; Humpert Wolnitzek; Chad Oppenheim Architecture and Design; Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership, Downs/Archambault & Partners, LMN Architects; Scandinavian Green Roof Institute; Conservation Design Forum of Chicago and Atelier Dreieitl of Germany; Enrique Browne and Borja Huidobro with Ricardo Judson and Rodrigo Iturriaga; and others.

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About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in JTHomesteader.com with Stephanie Smith. https://linktr.ee/jaywbabcock

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