Sourced from The Daily Beast
Spend a little time on websites devoted to what’s new and next in global architecture, and you might notice a surprising abundance of greenery on buildings. Not just a living wall here or a rooftop meadow there but entire façades draped with plants and terraces overflowing with lush vegetation.
These days, more and more architects—including such celebrated names as Thomas Heatherwick, Kengo Kuma, Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel, and the firm MVRDV—are designing structures that would put the mythic Hanging Gardens of Babylon to shame.
High-rise towers are being reimagined as vertical forests, while some visionaries are contemplating future cities where virtually all buildings would be arrayed with plants, trees, and other flora.
It’s all an extension of the decades-old movement promoting environmentally sensitive, sustainable, and socially conscious architecture—a movement made more urgent by climate change and explosive population growth.
Increasingly, architects and developers are embracing the benefits of using extensive vegetation on buildings, ranging from energy-saving thermal insulation and solar shading to mitigating air pollution, increasing urban biodiversity, and enhancing quality of life by bringing nature into places that are often proverbial concrete jungles.
“Trees and green spaces have been disappearing from our cities for decades, and this has taken a big environmental toll, from worsening air quality to extreme urban heat islands with no plants to help absorb that heat and cool the air,” Mun Summ Wong, co-founding director of the Singapore-based firm WOHA, told The Daily Beast. “We’re also losing community spaces. So much can be gained from re-greening cities—not just on an environmental level but on a social one.”