Search articles from the Journal of Living Architecture

The Journal of Living Architecture (JLIV) is published exclusive here, on the Living Architecture Monitor website. The magazine will publish the abstract of each published JLIV manuscript in the quarterly issue of the LAM, with a link to the full paper here.

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This paper discusses the design and installation of an extensive west facing living wall on the University of Texas at Austin campus. The pilot project illustrates the importance of bringing multiple expertise together to address challenges in urban design. In its hot and subtropical climate, this custom, prefabricated system holds 99 hexagonal cells that are alive with diverse regional plant species, and varied wildlife habitats. The design of the honeycomb system allows for an appropriate level of installation and fabrication efficiency, alongside its aesthetic provision. Every cell in the wall holds flora and fauna specificity with a geometric logic for self-shading the substrate volume. The appropriateness of the vegetation indicates that there are suites of native plant species, tolerant of higher temperatures and limited water availability, especially critical in the specific climate of this application. The project ultimately manifests a new approach to architectural design with a living wall system to integrate fauna with flora and utilizes nature’s intelligent honeycomb patterning throughout its fabricated domain.

Key words: living wall, habitat, collaboration, modularity

This study focused on the evaluation of a modular green roof system designed for residential roofs to determine its thermal performance. The green roof system was installed on roof models with three slope angles: 1˚, 20˚ (5/12 pitch), and 40˚ (10/12 pitch). Differences in the average temperature of the undersides of the roof decks were compared between green roof models and shingle roof models at the three slope angles. Experimental data were collected for three summer months to compare the cooling load difference of both roof types at all slope angles. A case study was conducted on a residential single-story unit in St. Louis, Missouri. Results showed that a residential green roof system can yield significant energy savings in the summer season. Roof slope angle is also an important factor in heat gain of building envelopes due to its relationship with the sun’s incident angle that affects the solar irradiation on the building.

Key Words: Green roofs, heat flux, energy savings, roof slope, urban heat island effect

Little research is available on green roofs in the harsh New England climate. Performance of 12 plant species and effects of adding soil nutrients were measured on an established green roof in central Massachusetts over two growing seasons, starting when maintenance ended, two years after planting. Sedum hybridum plus ellacombianummaintained about 60% cover where planted and reached 50% cover elsewhere. Other species had 0-10% cover. Volunteer species combined had up to 60% cover, bringing totals to 70-90%. Nutrients had little effect. Low-maintenance green roofs appear feasible in New England, but species should be locally pre-tested. Volunteers may enhance performance.

Key words: green roof, low maintenance, New England, Sedum hybridum, soil nutrient addition

Living walls are comprised of tropical plants that are susceptible to a variety of insect pests, but little information is available to help achieve effective pest control on vertical plant canopies. Although insect natural enemies can provide efficient pest control in indoor environments, the vertical canopies of living walls present challenges for natural enemy dispersal and success. During this six-month study, commercially-available natural enemies were released to control aphid outbreaks and a heavy infestation of soft brown scales on an indoor living wall. Three lady beetles were used: Lindorus (Rhyzobius) lophanthae (scale destroyer) and Cryptolaemus montrouzieri (mealybug destroyer) were released for scale control, and Adalia bipunctata (two-spotted lady beetle) was released to control aphids. Chrysoperla carnea (green lacewings) were released to observe natural enemy migration. Brown soft scale on Schefflera was reduced from 83.2 to 7.5 scales per leaflet (mid-May to mid-October; 91% reduction). C. montrouzieri was the only natural enemy able to establish itself on the wall, and their larvae were easy to monitor. Although the physical environment of the upper and lower canopies differed considerably, the natural enemies used were able to migrate freely and provide effective pest control.

Key Words: Adalia bipunctata, biological pest control, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, lady beetles, living wall

Extensive green roofs (EGRs) have been promoted as a multifunctional urban green infrastructure (UGI) solution that can ameliorate some of the negative environmental effects associated with urbanisation and provide habitat for wildlife. To date ecological EGR research remains limited, yet studying and understanding the ecology and ecological processes of these novel urban ecosystems could maximise their potential to conserve biodiversity and deliver multiple ecosystem services to urban areas. Here we present an overview of how a novel ‘ecomimicry’ approach can be used to ensure that locally important habitats are created and restored as part of urban green infrastructure strategies, and that biodiversity is embedded at the heart of EGR design. This can help urban developments meet sustainability targets and contribute to the goal of no-net-loss of biodiversity. Conserving urban biodiversity through ecomimicry will increase opportunities for urban communities to reconnect with nature and improve the quality of life for people in cities.

Key words: ecomimicry, biodiversity, extensive green roof, ecological design