Amazon’s triple-domed Spheres in downtown Seattle will be partially open to the public beginning January 30th. The enormous glass bubbles, designed by NBBJ as part of Amazon’s sprawling urban campus, were first approved in 2013. The glass and steel domes vary in size, with the largest bubble spanning 130 feet in diameter and topping out at 95 feet tall. All three Buckminster Fuller-emulating domes are linked, forming a biomorphic greenhouse with 65,000 square feet of workspace and conference areas for Amazon employees. Instead of aping its namesake, the Amazon Spheres have selected plants from a wide variety of sources. The Seattle Times recently toured the Spheres, and gave a rundown of the gardens and 400 plant varieties, within. The garden in the Seventh Avenue sphere holds New World plants mainly from Central and South America, though a 40-year-old Port Jackson fig tree, so large that it had to be craned in, is clearly the centerpiece. An Old World garden grows inside of the Sixth Avenue sphere, where guests and employees will see plants from Africa and Southeast Asia, alongside an entrance-adjacent, 60-foot-tall living wall, and tank filled with aquatic plants and animals from the Amazon. Amazon’s horticulturists have curated a range of plants that could survive alongside the Spheres’ human occupants comfortably. During the day, the spheres will be kept at 72 degrees and 60 percent humidity, which will drop to 55 degrees and 85 percent humidity at night. All of the plants were grown to maturation in a 40,000-square-foot greenhouse offsite and transplanted, beginning on May 1st of last year. Designing offices and meeting spaces alongside climate controls for hundreds of different plant species was no easy task for NBBJ. Fake logs and stumps circulate air from piping within, while the Spheres are warmed in part by excess heat generated from a data center nearby. More details on which companies will be filling the two public retail spaces at ground level are forthcoming. (This is not the first time NBBJ has ventured into novelty office design). Members of the general public can place a reservation to visit the Spheres here, though be warned; the Seattle Times is reporting that 20,000 guests already have the tour booked solidly through April.
Posts tagged with "Greenhouses":
In Singapore, this cooled conservatory contains more than a quarter of a million plants from every continent except Antarctica. Designed by British firm Wilkinson Eyre, the project known as "Gardens by the Bay" houses a 1.2 hectare "Flower Dome" that emulates the cool/dry climate found in the Mediterranean and a 0.8-hectare "cloud forest" that recreates cool/moist climates synonymous with tropical montane regions. The owner's technical representative, climate engineering firm Transsolar, produced a proof of concept with small demonstration greenhouses to aid the project. Adrian Turcato of Transsolar, was on hand to elaborate further. "Plants thrive outside," said Turcato. "Successfully including plants into buildings requires a deliberate design of a facade system that allows [plants] to thrive without compromising human comfort or operating costs," said Adrian Turcato, speaking to The Architect's Newspaper. Turcato added that "balancing plant requirements for light with human comfort by a direct manipulation of facade thermal and solar control" was also a key goal when developing the proof of concept. In 2012 the cooled conservatories were named World Building of the Year and in 2013 the project won the RIBA Lubetkin Prize. Turcato will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York April 6 and 7. There he, Krista Palen (also of Transsolar), and Vishwadeep Deo from facade consultants Front Inc. will be providing a workshop addressing the issues raised by Turcato and will discuss the Gardens and the Bay—a case study among many, along with more practical demonstration calculations and processes—in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com.
For artists living in a city that thousands of creatives call home, finding space to showcase your art is a never-ending struggle. Added to the pressure of paying rent and putting food on the table, it can feel like an impossible undertaking. But visual artist Mary Mattingly has discovered a unique (and legal) way to create her own space: calling the Hudson River its home, "Swale" will be a community garden erected on a barge. Its soil will contain an assortment of vegetable and fruit trees; all of the plants on board will be edible. Mattingly also envisions a mobile greenhouse where the public can harvest and cultivate their own crops. Expected to run in the summer, the 80 x 30 foot structure will travel to different piers in the five boroughs. Mattingly is aware that the project is a risky endeavor. Since "Swale" is a vessel open to the public, it will be regulated by the US Coast Guard. On top of the community garden will be a 12 x 12 foot pavilion built by Sally Bozzuto of Biome Arts. The triangular prism will be an open meeting place for performance artists, activists, and visitors. Digital sensors embedded in plant beds will capture temperature rates, soil moisture and pH content to give visitors an idea of the inner workings of the nautical garden.
A straight-forward, standard-issue park just won't do for the uber-trendy, graffiti-covered streets of Miami's Wynwood Arts District. Instead of merely carving up green space within the artsy district, Tony Cho, a local real estate broker and developer, launched an international design competition to turn a parking lot into a public space worthy of its distinguished neighborhood. The Miami Herald reported that 238 submissions from 23 countries were received for Cho's competition, and, lo and behold, the only entry from Miami came out on top. After all entries were reviewed, the blind jury selected a proposal by local artist Jim Drain, and Roberto Rovira and Nick Gelpi, both professors of architecture at Florida International University. The Miami-based team beat out the competition with "Wynwood Greenhouse," a plan that is obviously a lot more than a standard-issue greenhouse. Underneath a familiar glass canopy, which is actually made of aluminum, the designers have created a multi-functional park with native grasses, flowers, green walls, a paved pathway, and moveable seating. At the center of the scheme is an old oak tree that is currently on the site and will appear to break through the aluminum structure that will rise around it. When complete, the 14,000-square-foot, privately-run public space will be able to accommodate farmers markets, fashions shows, and art installations. And at night, the "greenhouse" will glow with LEDs. If Cho can raise $1 million for the park, as he expects he can, it should open next year.
From junk metal and rubble to tomatoes and kale. That’s the plan for a vacant lot in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. located just under six miles from the United States Capitol building. Over the next few months, the 2.3-acre site, which has been covered in trash for years, will be transformed into the world’s largest urban greenhouse. The National Journal reported that the project is getting some help from BrightFarms, a company that supports urban agriculture projects around the country. This latest project in D.C., though, will be much bigger than anything they've created before. When complete, the 100,000-square-foot greenhouse will produce one million pounds of produce a year. That major haul will be sold at 30 local grocery stores, which will boost fresh food options and cut down on the stores' carbon footprints. The space will also host educational programs to teach kids about urban farming, and is expected to create 20 to 25 permanent jobs. The project was first announced a year ago, but got a boost earlier this year when grocery store chain, Giant, signed on for the project. According to a press release, the greenhouse is being built "in partnership with the City’s Department of General Services and the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation in support of the Mayor’s Sustainable D.C. Plan, which aims to make DC the greenest, healthiest and most livable city in the nation." It's expected to take four to five months to build.
Bombay Sapphire is in the process of converting a historic paper mill into a facility for producing their famous gin. Overseeing this transformation is the ever-busy Heatherwick Studio, which has been brought on to renovate the 40 derelict buildings found on the site. Their most drastic intervention to the extant campus comes in the form of a soon-to-opened visitor's center that was recently awarded a BREEAM 'outstanding' rating for sustainability, an international system for ranking green buildings. The building is composed of the original structure and two new large glass outgrowths that are seemingly blown out of its interior and into a surrounding body of water. These alien forms are, in fact, drawn from the shapes of the curvaceous copper stills traditionally employed in gin distillation. One temperate, the other humid, the two greenhouses are populated by the various botanicals incorporated into gin production. The glass additions sit partially in the shallows of the River Test that snakes through the entirety of the mill. Integrated photovoltaic cells, a biomass boiler for recycling organic matter, and energy-producing water turbines all contribute to the center's elevated BREEAM status. The watery foundations of the greenhouses are indicative of Heatherwick's attempts to emphasize the role of the river in their refurbishment of the site. The firm hopes to increase the Test's visibility while using it as an organizational device for traversing the numerous buildings in the facility.
Rotterdam Centraal Station's relationship to the existing urban fabric called for different treatments of its north and south facades.To call the commission for a new central railway station in Rotterdam complicated would be an understatement. The project had multiple clients, including the city council and the railway company ProRail. The program was complex, encompassing the north and south station halls, train platforms, concourse, commercial space, offices, outdoor public space, and more. Finally, there was the station’s relationship to Rotterdam itself: while city leaders envisioned the south entrance as a monumental gateway to the city, the proximity of an historic neighborhood to the north necessitated a more temperate approach. Team CS, a collaboration among Benthem Crouwel Architekten, MVSA Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten, and West 8, achieved a balancing act with a multipart facade conceived over the project’s decade-long gestation. On the south, Rotterdam Centraal Station trumpets its presence with a swooping triangular stainless steel and glass entryway, while to the north a delicate glass-house exterior defers to the surrounding urban fabric. Team CS, which formed in response to the 2003 competition to design the station, began with a practical question: how should they cover the railroad tracks? Rotterdam Centraal Station serves Dutch Railways, the European High Speed Train network, and RandstadRail, the regional light rail system. Team CS wanted to enclose all of the tracks within a single structure, but they came up against two problems. First, the client team had budgeted for multiple freestanding shelters rather than a full roof. Second, this part of the project was designated a design-construct tender in which the winning contractor would have a high degree of control over the final design. To work around both issues, Team CS turned to an unusual source: agricultural buildings. “We started to come up with a project built from catalog materials, so efficient and so simple that any contractor would maybe think, ‘I’m going to build what they draw because then I can do a competition on being cheap, and then I don’t need to [reinvent] the wheel,’” explained West 8’s Geuze. For the spans, they chose prelaminated wood beams meant for barns and similar structures from GLC. They designed the five-acre roof as an oversized Venlo greenhouse. It comprises 30,000 laminated glass panels manufactured by Scheuten. Integrated solar cells, also provided by Scheuten, produce about one-third of the energy required to run Rotterdam Centraal Station’s escalators. The north facade of the station continues the glass house theme. “We [took] the roof and we pull[ed] it over to the facade and made the entire elevation out of that,” explained Geuze. “What is on the roof becomes vertically the same. In plan you see a zigzag sort of meandering facade.” By day, the glass reflects the nineteenth-century brick architecture characteristic of the Provenierswijk neighborhood in which the station is located. At night, the relatively modest entrance seems almost to fade into the sky, except for a slice of white LED lettering over the passenger portal. Rotterdam Centraal Station’s south facade, by contrast, is self consciously extroverted. The entryway, which spans 300 feet over the subway station, was given a “very sculptural identity,” said Geuze, with a triangular mouth framed by stainless steel panels. ME Construct welded the 30-foot-long panels one to another to create a non-permeable surface. Within the steel surround are horizontal glass panels (Scheuten) through which the vertical interior structural beams are visible. “This plays beautifully with the station because the roof makes a triangle. The horizontal and vertical lines are a beautiful composition within,” said Geuze. Two reminders of the 1957 central station, demolished to make way for the new iteration, make an appearance on the south facade. The first is the old station clock. The second is the historic sign, restored in LED. “They are in a beautiful font, blue neon letters,” said Geuze. “We put them very low on the facade, the letters. The font became a part of the identity.” While its preponderance of glass and stainless steel marks it as a contemporary creation, Rotterdam Centraal Station was inspired by historic precedents, like Los Angeles’ Union Station and the European railway stations of the 1800s. Geuze spoke of the interior’s warm material palette, including a rough wood ceiling by Verwol that bleeds onto the building’s south facade. “We thought we could learn a lot [from history] instead of making what is totally the [norm] today with granite from China,” he said. “We have to make a station which is part of this tradition of cathedrals, where the use and aging is relevant and interesting.”
Gotham Greens, the company that currently operates a 15,000-square-foot greenhouse on top of the Greenpoint Wood Exchange in Brooklyn—is bringing its green thumb to roofs across New York City with three massive new rooftop farms in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Soon, the biggest of the three planned farms at 60,000 square feet—among the largest rooftop farms in the country—will be built atop an industrial facility in Jamaica, Queens. The New York Daily News reported that Gotham Greens received a $900,000 grant last year from the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) to cultivate the sprawling new hydroponic farm on a rooftop in Jamaica. The three urban farmers behind the venture anticipate an opening as soon as 2014. The company has several new projects germinating in Brooklyn and the Bronx as well. In Gowanus, Brooklyn, Gotham Greens have been selected to operate a 20,000 square foot greenhouse atop a new Whole Foods grocery store slated to open in the fall. According to Whole Foods, the new facility will be "the nation’s first commercial scale greenhouse farm integrated within a retail grocery space." Gotham Greens will grow produce to be sold in Whole Foods stores across New York City, a move that's expected to reduce emissions from transportation and provide the freshest produce possible. In the Bronx, the company has also set in motion plans to build another rooftop farm on top of the future Oak Point food distribution facility in Hunts Point with $400,000 in funding it received from the REDC initiative. In dense cities where buildings are plentiful and land is scarce, rooftop farming is growing in popularity. Such operations provide a number of community benefits from employment to access to fresh produce. And for landlords, it comes with its perks: it is revenue producing while also reducing a building's energy consumption and rain run off. Across New York City, a number of other independent urban farms have sprung from the roofs of buildings such as Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; the Brooklyn Grange in Long Island City and the Brooklyn Navy Yard (currently the city's largest at 65,000 square feet), and the Sky Vegetables-run farm on top of Arbor House in the South Bronx. According to the Daily News, current rooftop space in Queens could support up to 1,100 acres of rooftop farms, with Brooklyn and Manhattan coming in at 940 acres and 400 acres respectively.