Green walls formed of shelves of plants instead of glass/steel facades are a key feature of the Green Villa in the Dutch city of Sint-Michielsgestel.
The three-storey housing block will follow the mansard roof shape of the neighbouring building, but its entire frontage will be covered in giant rows of shelves covered in greenery.
A key aim is for plants and trees to help us to offset CO2 emissions, cool the urban environment, and promote biodiversity.
Green Villa’s grid of plants will double as a “three-dimensional arboretum” and “tree library”, with each plant labelled with a nameplate and accompanying information.
Stored rainwater will be used to water the plants via a sensor-controlled irrigation system built into their planters to keep them green all year round.
Potted plants, bushes and trees will sit upon shelves of varying sizes and depths. Species planned for the living facade include forsythia bushes and jasmine plants, as well as pine and birch trees. Further pots are to be installed on the roof.
“This design is a continuation of our research into facade-less buildings and radical greening,” said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV.
“The idea from the 1990s of city parks as an oasis in the city is too limited. We need a radical ‘green dip’,” he added, referencing an upcoming book of the same title from think-tank The Why Factory.
The Green Dip reports on the project developed by The Why Factory, the University of Technology Sydney and Delft University of Technology examining how nature can be better integrated into the urban fabric of cities.
“We should also cover roofs and high-rise facades with greenery,” continued Maas, who leads The Why Factory.
MVRDV has also designed a skyscraper in Shenzhen, China, with rooftop gardens and outdoor parks at various levels.