Aleksi Vesaluoma has grown experimental building structures with mushroom mycelium. These structures are an interesting step towards zero-waste architecture.
Architect Hiroshi Sambuichi has designed an interesting underground installation called ‘The Water’ at the Cisterns in Copenhagen, Denmark. Sambuichi talks about bringing out the natural beauty of the place. ”I want people to understand that they live in beautiful places”. The installation is certainly ethereal and features, among others, a small moss covered island that bathes in natural light amidst the darkness of the Cisterns.
This nine story apartment building in Bogotá, Columbia is clad almost entirely in beautiful green walls. The large project is a collaboration between builder and designer Exacta Proyecto Total, Paisajismo Urbano and Groncol. In a dense area like this, I would imagine also the neighbours to be delighted about the green walls. The whole system is pretty impressive and the video is very informative about the benefits of the living walls.
Vuosaarenhuippu hill in eastern Helsinki is an ecologically interesting destination. The 65 meter high hill used to be a dumping ground for construction waste until the late ’80s. During the ’90s and early ’00s the area was converted into a wild fell-like recreational area. Today the hill has an impressive wealth of flora and fauna. There are currently over 400 species of plants, some of which are endangered. Also many wild animals such as fox, moose, viper, short-toed snake eagle and even lynx have been seen on the site.
Because of the dumping ground history the hill has metering, collection and treatment systems for potential gas and leakage emissions. The area works also as a refuge for doomed plants: many plants have been moved there from urban development areas around Helsinki. Also some land masses are still brought in from these areas. The seeds in these land masses are expected to further strengthen the biodiversity on the site.
Today the place still looks like a man made mound with lots of rocks, transplanted stumps, deadwood and other seemingly out of place quirks. But it is interesting to witness the biodiversity and to see how nature is really reclaiming the area.
The plant filled Forest Bus delights passengers in Taiwan. Local florist Alfie Lin and designer Xiao Qing-Yang converted the bus into a relaxing oasis with moss, flowers and ferns. The pleased passengers have hoped that the refreshing conversion could be permanent and it is easy to see why.
In Rotterdam we saw this fabulous Bobbing Forest installation by the Dutch artist Jorge Bakker. The installation consists of floating buoys that have live trees planted in them. In the winds and waves of the Rijnhaven bay, the trees bob and sway around beautifully. The Bobbing Forest creates an interesting, new type of forest close to a very concrete-jungle part of Rotterdam. Kudos for the people who have made this happen!
Northern Europe’s first floating trash collector was just installed in Helsinki. The small sea cleaning gizmo called Seabin was placed in front Uunisaari island. The pilot project is a collaboration between the Seabin Project and the technology group Wärtsilä. Another Seabin will be added to the area in June. It will be interesting to see how successful this device is in cleaning the litter from the waters. Currently the seabin needs frequent maintenance and trash collection but we’ll see how the design evolves.
Happy International Compost Awareness Week! The Compost Story by by Kiss The Ground and Elevate tells about the importance of composting. In Finland we have pretty good public composting systems in many cities, but globally most of the food waste goes to landfills. If you don’t have much space you might even build a small compost on your balcony.
The spring has finally sprung here in Finland, too! New life blooms everywhere, even in the cracks of rocks and hard surfaces of the pavement. It’s miraculous how little these plants need in order to live, grow and prosper.
The film The Nature Of Cities by Throughline Productions follows the journey of Professor Timothy Beatley as he explores urban projects around the world, representing the new green movement that hopes to move our urban environments beyond sustainability to a regenerative way of living. Timothy Beatley has written many remarkable books about Biophilia. One such book is the Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design which we highly recommend for anyone interested in biophilic urbanism.