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Landscape 2021

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Midlands-based landscape leader Jane Findlay takes on LI presidency

Midlands-based landscape leader Jane Findlay takes on LI presidency

Birmingham-based landscape architect and practice head Jane Findlay CMLI became the new President of the Landscape Institute on 1 July 2020. Jane will serve in the role for the next two years. She takes over from Adam White FLI, who will serve a final year on the Board of Trustees as the Immediate Past President.

Whether urban, suburban or rural, today’s construction challenges are complex: flood alleviation, carbon reduction, rising populations, tensions between public and private modes of transport, the juxtaposition of community and commerce, and, of course, economic viability. New LI President Jane Findlay believes that finding solutions to these challenges is the domain of the modern landscape professional.

Original article on Landscape Institute

UK buys 322 million more plants in 2020 than in 2019

UK buys 322 million more plants in 2020 than in 2019

According to a recent study, the UK has planted 322 million more plants in 2020 than in 2019. £5.4 billion has been spent on outdoor spaces, although now lockdown is easing many admit they will not be focusing as much on their gardens. During lockdown, the country has spent an average of three more hours a week in gardens. Those without outdoor space have also been buying plants, with the average person buying two new houseplants in the last three months.

The study was conducted by Homebase, which is now encouraging people to continue the trend with its new campaign Great British Green Up. The intention is to keep UK gardeners thinking about the plants they need in the garden for vital pollinators.

Original article on Gardens Illustrated

Barcelona opera house reopens with a live audience of 2,292 plants

Barcelona opera house reopens with a live audience of 2,292 plants

A string quartet serenaded the “growing” audience at the reopening of Barcelona’s Liceu on Monday. Spain, a country deeply rooted in live music traditions, is marking the return of classical concerts following coronavirus lockdown. But it wasn’t members of the public who attended this first opera house showing Instead, the seats at the Gran Teatro del Liceu were reserved for the leaves, shoots and roots of an all-plant audience, or a “vegetable kingdom”, as artistic director Víctor García de Gomar coined it.

The Uceli Quartet performed Puccini’s single-movement ‘Crisantemi’ (Chrysanthemums) for the 2,292 potted patrons. The ‘Concert for the Biocene’ took place on Monday (22 June), and though the guest list was strictly limited to vegetation, humans still enjoyed the event via a livestream.

Eugenio Ampudia, the artist behind the concert, wanted to reflect the social effect that the confinement of lockdown has caused, across the globe. “At a time when an important part of humankind has shut itself up in enclosed spaces and been obliged to relinquish movement, nature has crept forward to occupy the spaces we havPlant-wrapped towers, botanical gardens anchor Foster + Partners’ One Beverly Hillse ceded,”.

All the leafy concert attendees have been donated to health workers following the event, to thank them for all their efforts during the pandemic.

Original article on Classic FM
Plant-wrapped towers, botanical gardens anchor Foster + Partners’ One Beverly Hills

Plant-wrapped towers, botanical gardens anchor Foster + Partners’ One Beverly Hills

  Alagem Capital Group, in partnership with London-based real estate investor Cain International, has revealed the Foster + Partners-designed master plan for a 17.5-acre mixed-use development that will pack a massive amount of landscaping into the heart of Beverly Hills.

The two existing hotels, both owned by Alagem Capital, will remain and be joined by a third “ultra-luxury hotel” along with a pair of balcony-wrapped residential high-rises with just north of 300 new residences between them. The master plan also calls for a four-story pavilion that will be home to retail and dining. In a central design element that appears more Singaporean than Southern Californian in flavor, the development will be anchored by 10 acres of planted open space, including 4.5 acres of open-to-the-public botanical gardens and sculpture parks with a mile-long network of public footpaths winding through it all. Per a press release, an additional 3.5 acres of gardens and a single mile of pathways will be reserved for residents of the complex, dubbed One Beverly Hills, as well as guests staying at the trio of hotels.

 Mark Rios of Los Angeles-based multi-disciplinary design firm RIOS—formerly RCH Studios—is serving as the landscape architect of One Beverly Hills.

“The native landscape of Southern California provides endless inspiration for natural beauty and organic sustainability,” said Rios in a statement. “The One Beverly Hills Botanical Gardens will create a horticulturally-rich terrain and lush escape for Beverly Hills residents and visitors.”

Working alongside Foster + Partners, Rios and his team have envisioned a total of nine botanical garden “experiences” for One Beverly Hills. Each of them will showcase the “diverse landscape of California” and include an array of public amenities such as shaded seating areas, commissioned art/sculptures, and water features. Programming and operations within the gardens, described collectively as a “purpose-driven space that supports sustainability, environmental education, and welcomes all,” will be overseen by a community-based conservancy organization. Three hundred different species of plants and trees are slated to be used in the ambitious landscaping scheme.

 Merv Griffin Way, which cuts directly through the development site to link Santa Monica Boulevard with Wilshire Boulevard, will remain open to vehicular traffic but be capped beneath a landscaped platform that allows for the compound’s signature gardens to flow continuously without interruption.

The vegetation-heavy project will be submitted for planning in the coming months and, if all goes as planned, construction will kick off next year with an estimated 2024 completion date.

Original article on ArchPaper
Productora designs pink concrete playgrounds in Mexico

Productora designs pink concrete playgrounds in Mexico

 Pink concrete forms seats, steps and climbing walls in these two public parks designed by Mexican architecture firm Productora.

Infonavit, a federal company in Mexico that designs worker's housing, tasked Productora to create the two parks for residential communities in Tlalnepantla de Baz and Tultitlán, Mexico. Both public spaces are situated on narrow strips of land between apartment buildings and roadways.

  "Besides being used by all the people who live around either to do exercise, concerts, gathering and so on, they also have been used for the buildings around them to extend their activities in an open area," Productora told Dezeen.

"They offer to the communities a new space that not only works as a park but also as space that articulate and connect the neighbourhood."

  Each park is outfitted with pink pigmented concrete playground equipment, seating and pavilions. The studio chose this material to create a uniform design throughout the park and because concrete requires little maintenance.

The Tlalnepantla park built for the El Tenayo Housing Unit is split into nine parcels that each measure 20 by 20 metres. They are arranged in a row on top of an inclined stretch of land that makes use of the site's existing topography.

At one end of the park, there is a multi-use court painted with yellow and green circles. Two sets of pink concrete bleachers are set up in front of the playing field for spectators.

Another segment is occupied by a triangular pavilion, a skate park, playground structures and a civic area with a flagpole. A series of stairs and ramps link each of the distinct sections to meet accessibility requirements.

 Tultitlán's park is located across from the Hogares Castera housing and is formed by a concrete pathway measuring 15 metres wide and 200 metres long. A number of 50 centimetre by 50 centimetre concrete cubes are scattered across the park's entrance to establish meeting points.

A triangular pavilion, similar to that in Tlalnepantla park, occupies the long corridor, along with several concrete platforms and sculptures that double as playground equipment and grandstand seating.

The recreational space is surrounded by grassy patches and trees and also includes three sports fields.

Productora worked with the local communities to develop the projects, which also involved updating sidewalks, street lighting and furniture and landscaping.
"Both were projects where the community was involved, there were surveys and meetings with neighbours where they express their concerns and needs," the studio added. "Somehow, they were projects designed together with the users."

Photography is by Erick Mendez.

Original article on Dezeen
NUDES designs the forest school in india with a rooftop cycle track and 'live' skin

NUDES designs the forest school in india with a rooftop cycle track and 'live' skin

 As part of a competition to design a new school in pune, india, NUDES reveals its winning entry, titled the ‘forest’. as the name suggests, the first prize scheme explores the relationship between nature and education and is based on five main principles of ‘grow’, ‘learn’, ‘reuse’, ‘plant’ and ‘play’. the resulting project aims to bring a vibrant, green building into the heart of a dense urban environment, which has seen major development in the past decade. 

NUDES has designed the mass of the building as two ‘green’ cylindrical volumes that are connected by a rooftop ‘infinity’ cycle track. each cylindrical volume represents a stage of phased construction with planned programmatic activities. the entire built-up construction of the school is approximately 125,000 ft2 and houses learning environments from early childhood education to 12th grade. the curved elevations are defined by a series of uniform protrusions and the lush vegetation that occupies them. this element of the project is intended to form a ‘live skin’ that will improve air quality and overall student health.

  The round form of the plan also harnesses the idea of facilitating student centric interaction and learning. on the ground level, a central atrium draws in light and provides a social, gathering space, in addition to cross ventilation across classroom corridors. designed for a site of approximately 2.5 acres, the school building occupies the front end of the rectangular linear plot to create an open space for play and sport towards the rear. The space occupied by the footprint on the ground is reflected by the ‘8’ loop on the rooftop. the ‘loop’ is imagined as a bicycle track for a city starved of pedestrian walkways and cycling tracks. in addition, the loop can also be used for non-programmatic activities, workshops, student exhibitions, student led markets and recreation.

Original article on DesignBoom
Increased plant imports highlight need to support UK horticulture

Increased plant imports highlight need to support UK horticulture

  • 65% of larger retailers surveyed are importing more bedding plants than last year.
  • Almost three quarters of retailers in the survey (72%) said that they were currently unable to get the stock of bedding plants their business needs from UK growers.
  • The UK’s horticulture industry is supporting 50% of the policy goals in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan – it’s better to develop a green economy here than UK offshoring its environmental responsibilities and opportunities.

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is calling for the UK Government to address the growing need to support UK horticulture and with it, support a green economic revival post-COVID-19. A new HTA industry survey reveals that over half of British ornamental growers (52%) expect a further downturn in sales from June to August as they have not been able to plant crops during lockdown, and this is now resulting in increased imports.

Original article on HTA
ETH Zurich combines 3D printing and casting to make more efficient concrete structures

ETH Zurich combines 3D printing and casting to make more efficient concrete structures

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a machine that controls the setting rate of concrete to offer a "seamless transition between casting and 3D printing" so that structures can be made that use less material. The system called Fast Complexity combines two existing technologies for creating concrete forms – 3D printing concrete and casting into formwork. It was developed by Ana Anton, Andrei Jipa, Benjamin Dillenburger from ETH Zurich's Digital Building Technologies group and Lex Reiter from its Physical Chemistry of Building Materials group. 

By controlling the setting rate of concrete, the system can either 3D print the fast-hardening concrete for more structural elements without formwork or extrude a more fluid concrete that can flow into castings. It is hoped that the Fast Complexity system created at ETH Zurich will form part of the advancement of 3D-printed technologies that will enable more complex structures to be printed with concrete.

Original article on Dezeen

Living wall made of waste planned for London

Living wall made of waste planned for London

A five-storey living wall made of recycled aluminium and recycled garden waste is to be built in the City of London to promote circular economy principles.

The City of London Corporation obtained planning permission for the wall at 20 Cousin Lane, which will use two metric tonnes of recycled aluminium.

Planners at the City Corporation, waste firm Veolia UK and Red Squirrel Architects have worked on the design. Cans recovered from Veolia's Materials Recovery Facility in Southwark, which sorts recyclying collected from homes and businesses in the City of London, will be used in the process. They will be shredded and re-cast by a specialist metal fabricator near London into latticed modular honeycomb panels. The aluminium panels will be hung within a grid of recycled steel girders. Compost made from recycled garden waste will be used to plant an extensive wall and planter boxes on the buildings facades.

The project is expected to be completed in 2021.

Original article on CIAT

MAD Architects Unveils Shenzhen Cultural Park Topped with Giant Stones

MAD Architects Unveils Shenzhen Cultural Park Topped with Giant Stones

 Architecture studio MAD has revealed its design for the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park, which will be topped by two pavilions designed to look like groups of large stones. The ambitious cultural complex covers an approximate area of  51,000 square meters, with a total building area of ​​182,000 square meters, and includes the Creative Design Hall, the Shenzhen Science and Technology Museum, with an expansive public green space along the waterfront in Shenzhen, China.

 Set between the young vibrant city of Shenzhen, and the quiet oceanfront, “Shenzhen Bay Culture Park” juxtaposes two transcendental scales of time – the ‘ancient’ and the ‘future’ – through the setting of an ethereal artistic urban landscape. 

MAD’s scheme is formed by a sprawling green plaza. A reception area, standard exhibition halls, public education space, library, auditorium, theater, café and supporting business are spread out across the ground floor. Sunken into the terrain, these programmatic functions remain unseen. Instead, they are visualized as an earth-art landscape. The park is an extension of the city’s main road towards the water. Pedestrian walkways and cycling paths weave between the buildings and across the sprawling lawn, providing citizens with an expansive recreational space along the waterfront. 

 The sweeping green roofs and recessed courtyards form the foundation of this ‘three-dimensional’ citizen’s park. It not only serves as a 24-hour open public space, but it also functions as a performance venue and exhibition area. A mirrored pool at the heart of the site serves as an en plein air seaside amphitheater that can accommodate 10,000 people. Along the top floor of the south pavilion, visitors can walk through the exhibition space to reach a viewing platform that overlooks Shenzhen Bay and the city skyline. The special exhibition hall’s highest space soars to 30 meters. The unique gallery can accommodate a diverse display of large-scale installations, videos, multi-media, and performances, delivering stunning architectural spatial effects. 

 Floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights throughout the main public space on the first floor, wash the interior with natural light, while also drawing the natural scenery and spirit of the park inwards, blurring the division between the indoors and outdoors. 

The main public area has several standardized exhibition halls that can host a range of works, such as sculptures and special collection displays. The versatility of these exhibition spaces allows them to accommodate a variety of programmatic needs. 

The complex is expected to be completed in 2023.

Original article on UrDesign
Architecture student Eliza Hague designs inflatable greenhouses from shellac and bamboo

Architecture student Eliza Hague designs inflatable greenhouses from shellac and bamboo

 Master of Architecture (MArch) (RIBA Pt II) student Eliza Hague has created a design for inflatable greenhouses made from shellac and bamboo to help communities in India grow their own food supplies.

The studio she belonged to emphasised learning from nature and applying these ideas to designs which challenge the unsustainable designs of Architecture. 

Her innovative design concept uses shellac-coated bamboo to create a material similar to paper which she used to create a greenhouse structure to encourage those living in Jaipur, India, to grow their own food. Eliza’s design aims to provide a more sustainable alternative to the current most popular greenhouse covering material in India, polythene sheeting, which needs replacing annually and creates excessive plastic waste.

 She used locally-sourced bamboo to make a paper-like material and covered it with a shellac coating, a natural resin extracted from trees, which makes the covering weather-resistant and longer lasting. She then was able to use this material to fashion origami-like domes and beams to fashion a greenhouse. Eliza investigated the Mimosa Pudica plant as part of her studies, which closes its leaves in response to danger. The plant inspired the inflatable origami hinges of her greenhouse project, which mimicked the process of how the plant folds its leaves.

 The beams can be collapsed to transport them as flat objects, and then inflated with air and covered with the bamboo-shellac material to form the greenhouse dome. Black solar balloons would also be used to sit between the infill beams and cladding for hinges, which can also expand and contract in reaction to the Sun’s heat to allow ventilation in the greenhouse.

Talking about the designs and her experience as a student at Westminster, Eliza Hague said: “In light of the pandemic, the idea that architecture can provide spaces to encourage self-sufficient living has become more prevalent as we rely on supermarkets more than ever. This notion stimulated the desire to create a design that not only responded to its local environment, but proposed innovative solutions to these challenges.”

Original article on University of Westminster

Breaching timber fins support three overlapping rooftop gardens of new Maggie's Centre in Leeds

Breaching timber fins support three overlapping rooftop gardens of new Maggie's Centre in Leeds

 Following Maggie Keswick Jencks’ belief that people should not “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying,” Maggie’s centers are places where people with cancer can go with their families for free practical and emotional support. Maggie herself was a vivid gardener and understood the calming and restorative effect it can have. 

Thomas Heatherwick interpreted the brief ‘to create a home that people wouldn’t dare build for themselves’ into three lush overlapping rooftop gardens supported by branch-like glulam fins. The resulting interior looks like sitting in the hull of a ship.
To minimize disruption Heatherwick had the timber structure manufactured in Switzerland and assembled on location in just eight weeks. The structural wood is mostly forested spruce. A material that expands and contracts with the seasons.

 The building is made up out of three large volumes that function as counselling pavilions, with common rooms in between them, organised in a circle around a central space. The layout is meant to create an open and inviting space. 

The architects looked for ways to make the building feel like home with the use of warm natural materials, lush greenery, abundant natural light and shelves filled with nick-knacks. Lights were integrated at an early stage of the process into the shelves that are placed in between the fins. They mean to give the idea the wooden cores could glow. 
Landscape designer Balston Agius opted for planting based on the British woodlands, with hardy native species that support the area's biodiversity.

Original article on Archello
New augmented bricklaying technology integrates craftsmanship into the digital fabrication process

New augmented bricklaying technology integrates craftsmanship into the digital fabrication process

The façade of this winery building in Kitros, Greece is made from 13,596 individually rotated and tilted bricks and was assembled on-site with an innovative augmented bricklaying process that combines the power of computational design with the dexterity and skills of human craftsmanship, introducing a new fabrication paradigm.  The technology used was developed by Gramazio Kohler Research – the Chair for Architecture and Digital Fabrication at ETH Zurich.

By optically instructing masons with tailored digital information through a custom augmented reality user interface, a direct connection to the digital design model can be established. This craft-specific user interface allows masons to intuitively understand where to place the bricks according to the digital blueprint and computationally derived spatial model. The technological innovation of this system uses real-time feedback to precisely relate what has already been physically built to the digital model, exceeding the accuracy of conventional holographic representations used as state of the art in this domain. Through this augmented reality interface, the masons no longer depend on physical templates but can work with enhanced spatial precision while maintaining their craft and expertise in mortar handling.

Original article on Archello

New lockdown garden competition to be judged by Alan Titchmarsh

New lockdown garden competition to be judged by Alan Titchmarsh

Perennial have gathered together a team of the country’s finest gardeners to judge their HortAid-20 Gardening Competition. Perennial President, Alan Titchmarsh MBE, is heading up the judging panel which includes Rachel de Thame, Clive Nichols, Ann-Marie Powell, James Wong, Jo Whiley, Lee Connelly (The Skinny Jean Gardener), Lesley Watson, Michael Perry and garden judge guru, Jim Buttress.

Alan Titchmarsh says:
“During the current crisis, the need for Perennial’s help has never been greater. It really is a lifesaver for gardeners and all people in horticulture who are in need of support, and our current work is making a vital difference to so many in these life-threatening times.  That is why the team at Perennial have set up the HortAid-20 Gardening Competition to help raise funds.  With categories to suit everyone, whether you have a large garden or small, or even no garden at all, please do enter, have a bit of fun and help the men and women who have devoted their lives to making our landscape a better place.” 

WIN AMAZING PRIZES…The overall winner will receive a £250 gardening hamper, courtesy of Suttons and all category winners will win a £25 Suttons gift voucher and the chance to meet one of the celebrity judges and a signed certificate.

The deadline for entries is 15th August 2020. Click here for details on how to enter.
Heatherwick Studio designs tower to become overrun by its lush planting

Heatherwick Studio designs tower to become overrun by its lush planting

 In a move away from the enclosed steel and glass towers that populate the skyline of Singapore, Heatherwick Studio’s EDEN draws inspiration from the lush tropical setting of the area’s 19th-century houses. Containing twenty apartments with just one apartment per floor, EDEN is less a tower and more a home in a garden. Over time, the building is designed to mature and become overrun by its lush planting. 

To accommodate the plethora of greenery, Heatherwick Studio had to rethink the floorplate of a typical apartment tower. By moving services to the perimeter, they were able to create a large central living space on each floor, surrounded by smaller individual rooms and wide, shell-like balconies that could be filled with tropical plants. 

  The entrance at ground level to EDEN matches the drama of the building’s exterior. Only 1.5-meters wide, the entrance is more than ten times as high and lined with black granite. The entry opens into a 19-meter-high lobby at the heart of the building, hung with living plant chandeliers.  

Throughout the building, materials were selected for their warmth and natural quality, with imperfections revealed rather than concealed. This includes the natural imperfections inherent in the 180 million-year-old Jura limestone that was used for the handmade parquet, and the balcony floors laid with textured herringbone-patterned slate. Solid exposed timber is used for the oak kitchen cabinets and walnut for the entranceways. 

 In terms of sustainability, the building incorporates sNew-generation solar panels that can incorporate any pattern have been installed this week on the façade of BAM’s head office Bunnik, Netherlands.New-generation solar panels that can incorporate any pattern have been installed this week on the façade of BAM’s head office Bunnik, Netherlands.everal active and passive energy-conserving features. The deep cantilevered balconies provide solar shading while also maximising the benefits of natural light coming into the apartments through full height bi-folding doors. Windows in the living space open on three sides to allow for natural cross-ventilation while the glazing is set back to reduce solar gain. 

Original article on Archello
H&P Architects tops Vietnam house with plantable roof to create

H&P Architects tops Vietnam house with plantable roof to create "cube of earth"

 H&P Architects has designed the AgriNesture house in Vietnam to have a large space for agriculture so that its owners can grow their own food.

The house in the town of Mao Khe in QuangNinh Province was designed by H&P Architects to create a growing space as millions of hectares of agricultural land have been lost in the country to urbanisation and industrialisation.

The building's roof is meant to be used for planting and has a system for rainwater collection and the re-use of water, which means that the owners can be partly self-sufficient.

"The house is like a cube of earth cut out from a field," the studio said. "Inside this cube are many nooks of the nest connected to a section of field at the top roof."

 As well as on the roof, planting continues through the house, with a combined sink and planter made from concrete holding an indoor tree, and a selection of green plants suspended from the ceiling.

Skylights and large windows let shafts of sunlight into the house, which the architects said can also be used as a "home for all" in the service of education, health, and community.
The studio hopes that the house will become a template for further houses topped by planted areas and has already begun work on its successor.

Photography is by Nguyen Tien Thanh.

Original article on Dezeen

ODA Introduces New Approach to Tower Building in Seattle

ODA Introduces New Approach to Tower Building in Seattle

 ODA released images of its 1,185’ mixed-use tower in downtown Seattle. Showcasing a novelty in high-rise design, the project underlines the value and importance of outdoor space. Carving out a void in the middle of the tower, the design creates a shared outdoor amenity space with impressive views to Mt. Rainier.

The ODA-designed Seattle Tower holds retail, parking, and co-working spaces on the lower floors and a total of 1,080 residential units on the upper levels. Located in downtown Seattle, the structure takes on a recognizable design with a carved void in the middle that encompasses amenities and offers stunning views of Seattle's natural landscapes, from the mountain to the sea.

  Moreover, these elevated features generate a generous place to connect with neighbors.
While in most high-rises one cannot open a window, ODA conceived innovative design strategies that allow the resident “to open a door onto a garden in the sky”. Reflecting Eran Chen's belief that “every city dweller should have access to outdoor space in their homes”, the project creates unique suspended gardens that echo the topography of the surroundings.

Original article on ArchDaily
inFORM studio & Buro Happold win Providence River Pedestrian Bridge Design Competition

inFORM studio & Buro Happold win Providence River Pedestrian Bridge Design Competition

inFORM studio and Buro Happold entry states: "The proposed Providence River Pedestrian Bridge can become a spatial mediator between urban and ecological spaces and function as an integrated series of programs into the waterfront public spaces, allowing east and west to become a singular meandering public space. With this perspective, the proposal is better understood less as a bridge and more as an urban intervention."

Original article on World Landscape Architect
New-generation solar panels that can incorporate any pattern 

New-generation solar panels that can incorporate any pattern 

Years of research, experimentation and testing have gone into the panels, which have been designed for incorporation into large surfaces. BAM said that they can be fabricated in any size and colour pattern, and will help to make the built environment energy-neutral in an attractive way. The facade still looks the same but now generates energy, said BAM. It also offers companies the opportunity to incorporate a work of art or logo.

Compared to a classic solar panel, the yield here is about a quarter less. In the case of facade modules that are optimised for colour and yield, the efficiency is about 85 per cent compared to non-printed panels. The facade panels in the BAM facade have a capacity of 220 watts peak (Wp) per panel.

Original article on The Construction Index

RHS Cancels all 2020 Shows

RHS Cancels all 2020 Shows

RHS Statement: It is with great sadness that we have made the hard decision to cancel RHS Flower Show Cardiff and RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in 2021. The RHS has consulted all partners and stakeholders and is very sorry for the disappointment this will cause its loyal members, visitors and everyone involved with the shows.

In addition, the London RHS Spring Launch Show in April 2021 will move to RHS Garden Hyde Hall, where it will be enjoyed by more visitors and we hope to move the London RHS Botanical Art & Photography Show, also in April, to another venue in London.

Original article on RHS
Brooklyn's Domino Park Painted Circles on the Grass to Ensure Social Distancing

Brooklyn's Domino Park Painted Circles on the Grass to Ensure Social Distancing

 To avoid crowds and ensure social distancing, New York City authorities have painted white circles on the grass of brooklyn’s domino park. the initiative gives visitors visual guides that delimit safe socializing areas due to COVID-19, making sure they can sunbathe and enjoy time outdoors while maintaining the required distance.

 De Blasio affirmed that the COVID-19 indicators overall continue to improve, despite a slight rebound in daily hospitalizations and the proportion of positives among the total number of tests. New York has been the most affected city in the world by the COVID-19 pandemic. according to data from the john hopkins university, more than 28,000 deaths have been registered throughout the state.
Original article on DesignBoom
Shelters for city-dwelling bees

Shelters for city-dwelling bees

As cities grow and bee populations continue to dwindle, designers are increasingly looking for ways to bring nature to urban areas. In celebration of World Bee Day, Dezeen rounded up some urban shelters for the vital insects. In the age of the anthropocene, the importance of bees – and other pollinators such as butterflies and moths – has become more apparent than ever, with more than 75 per cent of the world's food crops and 35 per cent of global agricultural land depending on animal pollination.

Nearly 35 per cent of invertebrate pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, and about 17 per cent of vertebrate pollinators, such as bats, face extinction globally. Climate change, pollution and loss of habitat are some of the main issues threatening the yellow and black insects.

To raise awareness of the importance of bees and other pollinators, and to encourage people to take action in protecting them, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day.

 Refugio by MaliArts

Mexico-based studio MaliArts aimed to generate a closer bond between human-centric cities and nature with its Refugio project, which comprises of three structures built for solitary bees.

Each design serves a different purpose: to give shelter, to provide food or to offer water. The wood and ceramic shelters are designed in such a way as to attract the endangered insects, based on nesting sites found both in nature and on farms.

 Food for Buzz by Matilde Boelhouwer

While these aren't shelters, Matilde Boelhouwer's Food for Buzz designs offer a place for the "big five of pollination" – bees, bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths – to rest and recharge.

The Dutch designer created a series of artificial flowers from screen-printed polyester that serve as emergency food sources for the city-dwelling insects by turning rain into sugar water.

  Vulkan Beehive by Snøhetta

Norwegian architecture studio Snøhetta aimed to encourage bees to take up residence in the city of Oslo with these Vulkan Beehives.

Covered with a pattern of distorted hexagons, the wooden structures are able to house 160,000 bees, which can enter through a small slot towards the base of each hive.

Original article on Dezeen
German designers develop anti-COVID playground

German designers develop anti-COVID playground

 Berlin-based designer Martin Binder and psychologist Claudio Rimmele have developed a playground where children can meet without the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The 'Rimbin' concept looks like water lilies in a pond, with each child allowed his or her own modular platform inside a circular playground.

It's designed on the look and strength of an Amazonian water lily, which can bear a heavy weight.

Each platform has walls that the children can see over, and they are large enough to accommodate a number of youngsters from the same household.

Pods contain disinfection dispensers and children reach their pods using a separate path.

Once inside they can talk to each other using voice tubes that “enable children to have a secret, playful dialogue without the control and supervision of their parents.

"Children need to play interactive games outdoors. They need the stimulus for motor and mental development and for learning social skills,” the design duo adds.

Original article on Commercial Interior Design
AIPH and ICLEI announce partnership to stimulate Green Cities and build CitiesWithNature

AIPH and ICLEI announce partnership to stimulate Green Cities and build CitiesWithNature

The AIPH, through its Green City initiative, and ICLEI, through its Cities Biodiversity Center (CBC), announce a global partnership to collaborate on the CitiesWithNature partnership initiative, ahead of International Biodiversity Day on Friday 22 May.

Biodiversity is essential for sustainable development and human wellbeing; this is the message from the United Nations ahead of International Biodiversity Day on Friday. The theme this year is “our solutions are in nature,” which could not be more pertinent at this time when our cities face many challenges.

CitiesWithNature provides a shared global platform for cities, researchers, practitioners, partners, and urban communities to connect, learn, share, act, and inspire each other to strengthen collective action in mainstreaming nature into our cities and surrounding regions. It enables the global celebration, enhancement, and protection of nature for the benefit and overall wellbeing of cities and people in cities. This partnership aligns the common goals of the two organisations towards promoting sustainable urban development.

For more information about the CitiesWithNature Partnership Initiative, please visit the online platform.

Original article on AIPH
Students can Now Join ASLA Free of Charge

Students can Now Join ASLA Free of Charge

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announced that any students qualifying for Student, Student Affiliate, or International Student memberships can join the Society free of charge. "ASLA is committed to fostering the next generation of landscape architects," said Wendy Miller, FASLA, president of ASLA. "Students are being hit particularly hard in these difficult times. ASLA wants to make sure we're there to provide resources, encouragement, and professional development opportunities for students looking to move forward in landscape architecture."

Student ASLA members will gain access to a suite of educational and professional resources, including:

  • ASLA exclusive Mentorship Program, connecting students with professional mentors.
  • Membership in one of 20 Professional Practice Networks
  • Free access to the ASLA online learning library, JSTOR, and Virtual Portfolio Reviews
  • Access toJobLink– ASLA's platform to connect landscape architecture job seekers with hiring firms
  • Preparation materials for the L.A.R.E. examination
  • Opportunities to shape the Society’s future through participation in various committees, such as the Climate Action Committee and Student Advisory Committee
  • Digital subscription to the award-winning Landscape Architecture Magazine

To take advantage of free membership, interested students should fill out this short survey.

Original article by ASLA

LI makes big changes for new membership year

LI makes big changes for new membership year

Flexible payment options for members struggling under the COVID-19 pandemic, plus changes to membership grades to welcome new members in future

In the run-up to the new Landscape Institute sessional year, the LI is offering its members deferred payment options to help them deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020-21 LI membership year begins on 1 June 2020. Members who pay by monthly Direct Debit won’t need to make any payments for the first three months. From September 2020, they will pay in nine monthly installments.

Visit the member support section to find out more about setting up a Direct Debit and the delayed payment offer.

The LI also reminds members that concessionary membership rates are available for those whose circumstances have changed. In the circumstances, this may be pertinent for those whose incomes have reduced, or who have become unemployed. 

This announcement follows a number of other measures the Institute has introduced to support members at this difficult time:

Introducing Associate membership

Following consultation with its members and approval at the 2019 Annual General Meeting, the Institute has welcomed former Licentiate members back under the new ‘Associate’ grade.

This is part of a broader, long-running initiative to make the LI broader and more inclusive, reflecting the changing needs of the landscape sector. The Institute is adjusting its membership and entry standards to welcome more practitioners who work across the breadth of landscape fields.

A consultation on a new LI competency framework is open now and running until 31 May. Members and related professionals alike are urged to have their say and help the LI shape the future of the profession.

Original article on Landscape Institute
UK Government plans to announce garden centres can reopen from Wed 13 May

UK Government plans to announce garden centres can reopen from Wed 13 May

DIDCOT, UK: The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), the trade association for the UK garden industry, welcomes the news that garden centres will be allowed to open from Wednesday in England.

HTA’s official statement reads, “This is a hugely positive economic move and hopefully this will be confirmed tomorrow night by the Prime Minister. Based on the specific comments we have seen from government sources, it is good to see that they have recognised that the physical layout of many garden centres with large open air spaces make them suitable for early re-opening. This is something we have highlighted many times to government at all levels since the start of lockdown.

“As this is the peak of the garden industry season – 70% of plants are sold between March and June – opening garden centres now will be welcomed by the 23m gardeners in this country and the UK garden industry. We hope the news of reopening from Monday in Wales and Wednesday in England is a sign to come for the rest of the UK.

“The HTA has produced Safe Trading Guidance, which covers all aspects of how garden centres can re-open while ensuring staff and customer safety at all times. While many are ready to open and have been working hard to put in place the necessary measures, our priority over the coming days will be to provide help to those that need further support. This is to ensure that we can get as many businesses back up and running but only when they can open safely.

“Although opening gardening centres is hugely welcomed across the horticulture supply chain, this isn’t the single answer for the £1.5bn British nursery market, who have already had to dispose of hundreds of tonnes of plants. The only way to rescue the British nurseries sector is for the UK Government to introduce a Dutch-style stock compensation scheme.”

Original article on Floraculture
£2bn to fast-track walking and cycling schemes

£2bn to fast-track walking and cycling schemes

Transport minister Grant Shapps has pledged £2bn to help councils fund a rapid switch of road space over to greater walking and cycling use.

The move promises a surge in minor works for local authority highways and streetwork firms who will be asked to mark out pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors in England over a matter of weeks.

This will be financed with a  £250m emergency active travel fund – the first stage of the £2bn investment plan to boost walking and cycling in response to covid 19 social distancing public transport constraints.

The government said it would fund and work with local authorities across the country to help make it easier for people to use bikes to get around – including Greater Manchester, which wants to create 150 miles of protected cycle track, and Transport for London, which plans a “bike Tube” network above Underground lines.

Fast-tracked statutory guidance, published over the weekend and effective immediately, tells councils to reallocate roadspace for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.

Shapps said that in towns and cities, some streets could become bike and bus-only while others remain available for motorists.

More side streets could be closed to through traffic, to create low-traffic neighbourhoods and reduce rat-running while maintaining access for vehicles.

“The government expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel,” he added.

Original article on Construction Enquirer

Düsseldorf office is clad in “Europe’s largest green façade”

Düsseldorf office is clad in “Europe’s largest green façade”

An office complex has been completed in the centre of Düsseldorf that includes some 30,000 plants in its cladding.

The 41,400 sq m Kö-Bogen II project, designed by local firm Ingenhoven Architects, has the appearance of a green hill in Gründgens Square, between the iconic Dreischeibenhaus and the Düsseldorf Theatre. Two of the building’s walls and its roof are clad with steel pots, planted with grass and a type of evergreen shrub known as hornbeam. The cladding, which also includes irrigation and drainage systems, was developed in association with the Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin.

Ingerhoven comments on its website: “The ensemble marks the conclusion of an extensive urban renewal project in the heart of Düsseldorf. It also represents a paradigm shift: from an urban perspective, it signals a departure from the automotive era and a turn towards people-oriented planning. And with Europe’s largest green facade, it offers an urban response to climate change.”

According to Ingerhoven, the façade will offer the same benefits to the city centre as 80 deciduous trees.

Original article on Global Construction Review

First phase of Edinburgh's Garden District approved

First phase of Edinburgh's Garden District approved

The first phase of a plan to build thousands of homes on Edinburgh's greenbelt have been approved by Scottish Ministers.

Murray Estates, controlled by former Rangers owner Sir David Murray, has secured planning permission in principle for 1,350 homes. The company said 330 of the properties would be affordable housing. A primary school, shops and a 40-acre community park are also planned for the site. The wider £1bn Garden District project could eventually see 6,000 homes built over 20 years. 

Following scrutiny by a government-appointed planning official, ministers have agreed to grant permission in principle subject to conditions. These include Edinburgh councillors' approval of the project's masterplan. In its decision, the Scottish government said the benefits of the proposed scheme outweighed the loss of green belt at the location.

The first phase could create up to 150 jobs initially and then sustain 137 jobs longer-term.

Original article on BBC

The Urban Tree World Cup 2020

The Urban Tree World Cup 2020

A World Cup format 32 tree tournament to crown the ultimate Urban Tree!

With the Olympics, Euro 2020, Wimbledon and countless flagship summer sporting events postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Arboricultural Association has launched the first ever World Cup of Urban Trees to fill the void and spark a discussion focused on trees.

Thanks to the Tree and Design Action Group (TDAG), and their fantastic Species Selection Guide; we’ve been able to include detailed infographics with each tree to help you make your choice.

The draw for the first round took place on Monday, with the 32 teams painstakingly selected from the hand-crafted ceremonial wooden bowl by Technical Director John Parker. After the glittering opening ceremony, John announced:

The tournament starts on 8 April with our first fixture the Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip tree) vs Sorbus aria (Whitebeam) and the first round will be complete 16 days later when Platanus x hispanica (London plane) face the Tilia x europaea (Common lime).

You’ll be able to cast your vote on the Arboricultural Association website each day or on Twitter (follow @ArbAssociation).

The winning tree will be planted in the grounds of the Arboricultural Association headquarters in Stonehouse.

Original article on The Arboricultural Association
Green Gamechanger: How Plants are Transforming Buildings into Thriving Vertical Forests

Green Gamechanger: How Plants are Transforming Buildings into Thriving Vertical Forests

 As the UK’s population continues to climb, expanding cities are eating away at the country’s already limited green space, with over half of all forests, gardens and farmland lost to new development every year. With urbanisation showing no signs of slowing, and with public demand for greener, healthier public spaces increasing, planners, designers and architects are looking to urban regeneration to transform cities into vibrant, sustainable destinations.

Green space is now considered to be an essential element of future city living, and with benefits ranging from improving physical and mental health to supporting biodiversity, plants have a crucial role to play in enhancing the long-term wellbeing of city dwellers. 

Creating a positive difference within inner city environments, living walls and green roofs have become a prominent visual stamp of ethical design, commended for their ability to transform an urban eyesore in a sustainable design statement. While cities such as London are championing their application within new developments as part of new urban greening policies, retrofits and regeneration projects can be a quicker and more efficient option to reintroduce green space back into existing communities.

Installed onto wasted vertical space, living walls can transform even the most unlikely structure into a thriving oasis, from concrete car parks and listed buildings, to dated residential properties and developments. Reducing waste by utilising the exterior of an existing structure, green installations can also go a long way in securing approval from planners, with local authorities often looking favourably on designs which promote urban greening.

With over 90% of the world’s population living in areas where air quality exceeds recommended guidelines, living walls offer a range of benefits to tackle the problems presented by densely populated cities, including filtering out harmful toxic pollutants generated by vehicles, as well as restoring nature and wildlife in urban areas. Reintroducing green space back into communities can also have a positive effect on mental health and well-being, with plants shown to have an impact on occupant mood and stress levels; while creating places where people want to live, work and socialise.

When applying to existing structures, living walls camouflage a build’s exterior, while protecting it from ageing and the elements. As well as moderating temperatures and improving overall efficiency – even for older buildings – in some cases, living walls can also increase a property’s value. Applicable to almost any surface and often featuring a variety of wall-mounted plants, from vibrant flowers and lush foliage, living walls provide an opportunity to maximise outdoor space in urban areas where accessible green space is limited.

With space only set to become more limited, living walls are an efficient green solution to not only reintroducing nature back into communities, but also in adapting to rising global environmental pressures. Paving the way for greener design and offering lasting social, environmental, cultural and economic benefits, plants are the key to a healthier construction and development future, helping to transform cities into living, breathing urban forests.

Original article on Refurb & Restore
First Beijing International Garden Festival gives hope to visitors post COVID-19

First Beijing International Garden Festival gives hope to visitors post COVID-19

  AIPH – International Association of Horticultural Producers – shares positive news during this coronavirus pandemic. In China, a new International Garden Festival launched on Tuesday (28 April) and will be open until 15 October. The festival will be on the site of Expo 2019 Beijing – where the world’s largest-ever horticultural expo event happened.

Last year’s AIPH-approved A1 International Horticultural Exhibition took place in 960 hectares of the landscape at the foot of the Great Wall, by the Gui river and amidst the Taihung mountains of Beijing’s Yanqing District. The area is now known as The Beijing Expo Park and continues to carry forward the expo’s legacy of Integrating Horticulture into Nature and Touching Souls with Nature.

The first Beijing International Garden Festival will feature a floral landscape of around 50,000 square metres and contain almost 100 outdoor gardens. The exquisitely designed gardens, flower border, flower fields and pavilions will feature classic styles from various countries, evoking the glory and charm of Beijing Expo once again. Representatives from international flower breeding companies, well-known gardening enterprises and architects from the United States, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands, as well as representatives from specialised educational institutions home and abroad will gather here during the festival, participating in exhibitions of theme gardens. Horticultural science seminars and experiential activities will occupy many during this festival.

 After such long periods of isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, Beijing International Garden Festival is seen by many as a welcome feeling of peace through nature. It will also advance global horticultural wisdom and champion the power of plants.
The Vice Mayor of Beijing, Madame Wong Hong and the President of China Flower Association (CFA), Madame Jiang Zehui attended the opening on 28 April. The AIPH secretary general, Tim Briercliffe sent a video message praising the festival’s initiative.

He says: “This exhibition marks the passing of a dark winter for the citizens of the world. Springtime always gives us hope. Whatever happens in the world, the buds will always come, and new life emerges from what seems dead. It reminds us that we will rebuild and recover from the difficulties and sadness of the months that have gone before.”

He adds: “What you are doing shows the resilience of the citizens of Beijing and the recognition that living green means living better. This message from Expo 2019 Beijing will last forever.”

For more information about the Beijing Expo 2019, visit here

Original article on AIPH
Zaha Hadid Architects aims for Greenest building in Shanghai

Zaha Hadid Architects aims for Greenest building in Shanghai

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has won an international design competition for the Shanghai base for the China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP).

The mixed-use project is made up of three towers containing offices, retail and leisure facilities will be sites in a park next to the Yangpu Bridge on the Huangpu River. In keeping with CECEP’s concerns for sustainability, ZHA hopes to make the 218,000 sq m building the greenest in Shanghai. If it is successful, the building will have a score of around 90 credits in China’s Three Star system for rating building sustainability, which may be the highest score in Shanghai.

The development includes green systems such as: Solar panels in the façade and roof, connected to battery storage and a microgrid, that aim to reduce energy consumption by 25% Thermal ice storage for cooling during the day, with ice generated at night using off-peak electricity Rainwater harvesting to irrigate green spaces A building management system that will monitor the interior environment and react to changes in temperature, air quality, daylight and the number of occupants.

Original article on World Construction Today

The world's first 3D printed irrigated green wall

The world's first 3D printed irrigated green wall

BANYON ECO WALL by BigRep is the world’s first fully 3D printed, irrigated green wall with an embedded water supply and drainage system. The innovation is made possible thanks to the world’s largest, serial production 3D printers (FFF), also by BigRep. The concept to date has been developed by NOWLAB, a BigRep Innovation Consultancy.

A drainage system is essential for the functioning of any irrigated green wall. Until now, 3D printed green walls either relied on (metal) drainage systems to be integrated later on or were based on complicated set-ups involving many parts. What differs here is that the drainage system is embedded and created during the printing process. Measuring 2000 mm x 2000 mm x 600 mm, the BANYON ECO WALL functions as a support structure for plants and a supply system for water. The design is structurally optimised with the plant carriers simply snapping into place. Miniature internal channels are designed for optimal water flow and feature an integrated ‘micro-shower’ mechanism to irrigate plants precisely where needed.

Irrigation systems, implemented to provide a controlled supply of water at requisite intervals, ensure the unique needs of plants and crops are met without the need for human intervention. The innovators hope that systems such as this will inspire designers and architects to design a greener future – be it from home, workspace or in these days, a home office. 

Original article on Archello

Reef wins £150M below-ground Cavendish project

Reef wins £150M below-ground Cavendish project

 Reef Group has won the go-ahead for its £150m subterranean plans to transform Cavendish Square into a health and wellbeing destination that links Harley Street to Oxford Street and Regent Street.

The scheme, which Westminster City Council passed via a virtual planning committee, regenerates the 1960s car park structure below the Georgian square and will total some 280,000 sqft across four storeys below ground. 

Reef Group joint chief executive Stewart Deering said that Reef had worked closely with the council to design an ‘iconic destination for London’.

 We will invest more than £150m in developing a vibrant, sustainable and sensitively designed place with a core focus on health and wellbeing’, he said. ‘The scheme is designed with flexibility in mind and we’re talking to occupiers from a variety of sectors. The health and wellbeing industry is predicted to grow substantially and Cavendish Square London is well placed to respond to this trend’. 

Featuring glazed lanterns, light wells and internal atria drawing natural light to the floors below, Cavendish Square London will be one of the West End’s largest ever developments, with floors of up to 80,000 sq ft and floor to ceiling heights of up to 8m. Above the development, Cavendish Square Gardens will provides a natural extension of the below-ground space and a physical embodiment of the scheme’s vision – ‘a wellbeing ecosystem in the heart of London’.

Original article on NLA
LI announces new plans to support parks and green space sector

LI announces new plans to support parks and green space sector

LI President-Elect Jane Findlay announces the creation of a new forum to support and champion the parks and green space sector.

‘For some time, many parks and green space practitioners have lacked a professional home,’ said LI President-Elect Jane Findlay. ‘The LI is committed to supporting all landscape professionals. A crucial step in fulfilling this aim is promoting the role parks and green spaces play in our communities, strengthening the voice of practitioners working in these important places.

‘COVID-19 has highlighted just how important parks and green spaces are. Now is the time for all involved in landscape, parks and place to come together.’

The new Forum will provide insight and guidance to the LI as it works to provide leadership and build capacity for the sector.

The Parks and Green Space Forum will help the LI…
  • work closely with national and local government and other stakeholders to highlight the importance of parks and green spaces
  • support the sharing of knowledge and research across the sector
  • develop a new membership qualification and learning offer to practitioners in green space management
  • promote new landscape apprenticeships to the parks and green space sector
  • explore options for a new parks and green space hub

This new Forum will work alongside the LI’s Landscape Management Leadership Forum, which will resume activity this year – focusing on practitioners working in landscapes at scale, protected landscapes, and landscape-related government agencies.

Next steps and future collaboration

During World Parks week (25 April – 3 May 2020), the LI will contact parks leaders with whom it regularly engages. It will also call for expressions of interest from individuals and organisations who wish to participate in the new Forum, which the LI will establish later this year.

Original article on Landscape Institute

Trees burst through walls of Ha Long Villa by Vo Trong Nghia Architects

Trees burst through walls of Ha Long Villa by Vo Trong Nghia Architects

  Vo Trong Nghia Architects has built a house on Vietnam's scenic Ha Long Bay with trees growing through its concrete walls. Big rectangular openings dot the concrete facade of Ha Long Villa, and each one contains a tree.

The Ho Chi Minh City studio, which won Architect of the Year at last year's Dezeen Awards, wanted to give residents the experience of living in nature.

"We have designed a sustainable home that exists in harmony with the surrounding environment and seeks to become part of its landscape," explained the studio, which also goes by the name VTN Architects. "The main concept of the house is to create space where people can live in a forest."

  VTN Architects hopes this house, which is part-building and part-landscape, can serve as a reminder about the importance of maintaining a balance between the two.

Ha Long Villa is pentagonal in plan and contains six storeys. These are connected by a staircase that spirals up around the perimeter. Planting boxes are slotted into the gaps between different sections of the staircase, creating plenty of space for the trees to grow.

Window openings align with the trees, allowing room for the branches to grow out. Creating this "buffer zone" around the exterior of the building has other benefits too – it helps to naturally cool the interior without the need for air conditioning.

  "This composition creates deep shadows, as part of the double skin green facade, against the hot tropical climate," said VTN Architects. "This buffer space between the interior and exterior spaces protects the house against the hot climate and noise."

The architects chose wood-textured concrete for the exterior wall, to give the building a natural, rock-like aesthetic. 

Living spaces can be found on the two lower levels, while bedrooms occupy the second, third and fourth floors. The fifth floor contains a garden where residents can grow their own vegetables. "These distinctive spaces offer residents options in their daily lives, like whether to dine inside or outside on a particular day," said VTN Architects.

Original article on Dezeen

Covid-19: Green space should be a priority in local plans

Covid-19: Green space should be a priority in local plans

The social distancing measures implemented to contain the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) has highlighted the ‘critical importance’ of high-quality green spaces within housing developments, says Ecological Planning & Research Ltd (EPR).

The consultancy highlights that green and blue spaces have long been understood to improve human wellbeing – people with access to such amenities have lower levels of mental distress than those without, as was outlined by a Public Health England report in 2014. 

For EPR, local plans should emphasise the provision of green and blue infrastructure, particularly in urban areas. Ben Kite, managing director of EPR, said: “The limitations imposed by Covid-19 lockdown have brought to the forefront the need to be clever about improving access and creating pockets of green space to protect our wellbeing, and that of the wildlife we are welcoming back to our streets, parks, and gardens."

Original article on The Planner

Newtab-22 uses seashells to develop concrete alternative

Newtab-22 uses seashells to develop concrete alternative

Sea Stone is a concrete-like material made from seashells that Newtab-22 is introducing during the VDF x Ventura Projects collaboration.

Newtab-22 is a London design duo consisting of Hyein Choi and Jihee Moon, which champions design with natural and overlooked materials. The studio is introducing its latest project, Sea Stone, as part of the VDF collaboration with Ventura Projects.

Sea Stone is a lightweight material made from discarded seashells salvaged from the seafood industry, which have been ground down and mixed with natural binders. Newtab-22 developed the project because shells are largely composed Calcium carbonate, giving them similar properties to limestone that is used for cement. The studio therefore hopes it can be utilised as a sustainable alternative to concrete.

Original article on Dezeen

Extending site working hours discussed with councils

Extending site working hours discussed with councils

Build UK is exploring the possibility of extending permitted site working hours across the country in a bid to help the construction sector get back to work safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The industry organisation confirmed that it is liasing with the Local Government Association over the idea, as part of a range of plans to get construction sites up and running again.

It is also focused on opening up the supply chain by demonstrating a demand for materials, as well as assessing the availability of hotel accommodation for construction workers living away from home.

And it is seeking further evidence from Public Health England (PHE) on the use of PPE and RPE to prevent the transmission of coronavirus on sites, as well as the interpretation of 15 minutes' face-to-face contact as set out in the government's guidance on social distancing in the workplace for construction.

In an update to the industry, Build UK also confirmed that it continues to be involved in the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Task Force, which is working on:

  • A review of government-backed loans and their suitability for construction businesses
  • Alternatives to invoking contractual clauses which are likely to be detrimental to the supply chain
  • An industry recovery plan
  • Releasing workers from furlough following the lockdown
  • Advice on re-opening offices following extended periods of closure

Original article on CIAT
Luca Fortin constructs concrete passageway for Quebec City park

Luca Fortin constructs concrete passageway for Quebec City park

 Two monolithic concrete walls by designer Luca Fortin are arranged "like an opened book" to form a passageway inside a Quebec City park.

Entre les lignes, which translates as between the lines, separates an urban area of the Canadian city from Chauveau Park located alongside the St Charles River. It is intended to beckon park visitors to pass through the rounded archway into the wooded space.

"Like an opened book, this work is an invitation to walk through a new landscape, whether real or imaginary," Fortin said.

"Offering visitors access to a transitionary space between the urban and the natural areas of the linear park of the Rivière-Saint-Charles, framed poetically by the wide arch-shaped portal," he added.

 "Acting both as an entranceway and finish line for its pedestrian public, the piece is an open invitation for contemplation, a catalyst to reawaken a desire to dream and reconnect to the natural landscape shared by all."

A rounded archway, cut out from one of the walls, straddles the path to form an access point through which park visitors can traverse. The pair are arranged at a slight angle from one another leaving a wide opening on one end that follows the pathway.

Photography is by Luca Fortin and Felix Michaud.

Original article on Dezeen

First phase of new village approved for Ebbsfleet Garden City

First phase of new village approved for Ebbsfleet Garden City

 The first phase of a new village for Ebbsfleet Garden City has been approved by planners.
Ebbsfleet Development Corporation approved plans for 281 homes in Ashmere, which will be the second village to be developed in Whitecliffe, formerly known as Eastern Quarry.

The homes in this first phase will comprise 175 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and 106 houses and 25% will be ‘affordable’ with a mixture of shared ownership and social rent. When complete, the village of Ashmere will have around 3000 homes, a new primary school and village centre.

Mark Pullin, Chief Planning Officer at Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, said: “Whilst these are challenging times for us all and working practices have changed in recent weeks, we have been able to approve these plans under powers already delegated to officers."

Ashmere is one of the first schemes in Ebbsfleet to adopt Ebbsfleet Development Corporation’s ‘Design for Ebbsfleet’ design guidance ( The guidance sets out four design characters for new neighbourhoods that have been derived from Ebbsfleet’s landscape and cultural heritage. The masterplan for Ashmere references all four languages to create neighbourhoods brimming with character that are distinctive to Ebbsfleet.

The landscape design also pushes new boundaries within Ebbsfleet and has been developed to take account of Ebbsfleet’s Public Realm Strategy which was published in 2019.  The Public Realm strategy was also developed by corporation, to put the ‘garden’ into the Garden City, creating green, healthy and sustainable tree lined streets across the city.  This has led to 40% more street trees, and considerably more street planting, when compared with typical new housing developments in the local area.

Original article on Refurb Projects
RHS announces details for Virtual Chelsea Flower Show 2020

RHS announces details for Virtual Chelsea Flower Show 2020

Details have been revealed of this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which will be virtual this year, due to current social distancing Coronavirus measures. The flower show, which will run between 18 and 23 May 2020 – the same dates Chelsea Flower Show would have run in the Royal Hospital Grounds in London. The 18 May will be a preview day, specifically for RHS members only.

Each morning there will be a tour from one of the world’s leading garden designers, florists or gardening personalities, of their own private gardens. A selection of UK growers from across the country will also allow virtual visitors an insight into how they grow their plants on behind-the-scenes tours. Certain nurseries will replicate the plant displays that were due to fill the Great Pavilion. There will be daily potting bench demonstrations, where nursery experts will share their plant expertise, growing tips and advice on looking after plants. Each lunchtime RHS advisors will be joined by a special guest for an interactive Q&A session. Chelsea Plant of the Decade, Product of the Year and the BBC/RHS People’s Choice Garden of the Decade will all be voted for by virtual visitors.

Sue Biggs, the RHS director general said: “We’re lucky to live in a digital age where we’re able to bring aspects of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show online so we can continue to share the world’s best in horticulture and bring garden design inspiration, breath-taking displays and horticultural knowledge for the nation to enjoy during this difficult time.”

Original article on Gardens Illustrated

Serpentine Pavilion 2020 postponed until next year due to coronavirus

Serpentine Pavilion 2020 postponed until next year due to coronavirus

The opening of this year's Serpentine Pavilion, designed by South African architecture studio Counterspace, has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Counterspace's structure was due to be open on 11 June 2020, marking the Serpentine Gallery's 20th summer pavilion. The Serpentine Gallery announced today that it will postpone the opening until next year but has not announced new dates. British architect David Adjaye, who is an advisor to the Serpentine Gallery and helped select Counterspace, said the postponement was needed to provide time to produce the pavilion following the UK lockdown.

"The global Covid-19 crisis has changed the immediate context," Adjaye said. "Rather than rush to execute Counterspace's stellar design as soon as it is safe to do so, the Serpentine has chosen to accept the slowness reshaping society today and utilise it to develop a deeper relationship with the architects. Covid-19 has brought the pavilion themes sharply into focus"

Counterspace's co-founder Sumayya Vally said the extension for the project would allow the studio to adapt the themes to suit a post-pandemic world.

Original article on Dezeen

Europe's largest green wall

Europe's largest green wall "will absorb eight tonnes of pollution annually" in London

 Sheppard Robson has unveiled the mixed-use Citicape House in London that will have the "largest living wall in Europe" to help improve local air quality.

Citicape House will be wrapped by a facade of 400,000 plants that are hoped to "capture over eight tonnes of carbon and produce six tonnes of oxygen" annually.

The building will be located on the UK capital's Culture Mile, a traffic-heavy area between Farringdon and Moorgate in the City of London.

It has been designed by London studio Sheppard Robson to replace an existing office building on the corner of Holborn Viaduct, and demonstrate how the built environment can address issues such as climate change and air pollution.

  "On a site that is so prominent, there was a real drive to inject some fresh perspectives on how to grapple with some on London's most urgent environmental issues, including air quality and noise and dust pollution," said Dan Burr, partner at Sheppard Robson.

"Rather than having an isolated patch of greenery, we felt that an immersive and integrated approach would have the biggest impact on the local environmental conditions, making a better and more liveable city, as well as articulating a clear architectural statement."

Its size and form is informed by a pre-war building that had previously occupied the tapering corner site and "formed an elegant prow".

The building's green facade will align with the trusses as an external expression of its elaborate superstructure.

  "We are very conscious to avoid 'greenwash'," Burr told Dezeen. "The facade composition expresses the truss that sits behind it so there's an integrity to the architecture."

"We thought about how our design can positively influence the dense urban fabric of the City," he continued. "How does a building on such a tight site, hemmed in by a busy vehicular thoroughfare on one side and by hard glass and masonry buildings on all other sides, make the most meaningful green impact?"

Beyond the Living Wall, the building is hoped to function as sustainably as possible, and will feature an external envelope with low U-Values and efficient glazing to minimise heat gain in the building, which will be teamed with renewable energy-sources including air-source heat-pumps.

It will also incorporate rainwater collection to irrigate the green wall and reduce stress on the site's existing infrastructure.

Original article on Dezeen

Green light for four new industry apprenticeships

Green light for four new industry apprenticeships

The Insitute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) has given the industry approval to start development on four new apprenticeships; Arboriculturist, Horticulture Technical Manager, Professional Arboriculturist and Professional Forester. 

These apprenticeships will be suitable for a wide range of roles including tree officers, arboricultural consultants, head gardeners, forest managers, greenspace/horticulture and landscape managers. This is an exciting development for the arboriculture, forestry and horticulture industries; helping employers develop people into these roles and providing a stepping stone into more senior positions while working on the job.

Apprenticeships in England are approved and regulated by the Insitute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) with groups of employers or ‘trailblazers’ developing the content. Once completed, these apprenticeships will attract Government/apprenticeship levy funding and be delivered by training providers to their local employers. 

The Arboriculture, Forestry, Horticulture and Landscape Trailblazer group (AFHLT) have been developing apprenticeships for their sectors since 2014 and have successfully completed standards for Arborist, Forest Operative, Horticulture / Landscape Operative and Landscape / Horticulture Supervisor. There have been in the region of 1,500 starts on this suite of apprenticeships since their approval. 

The new Arboriculturist (Level 4) apprenticeship will include: - assessing tree health and risk, managing contractors, handling complaints, applying the law in relation to tree work and making/assessing planning applications. The Horticulture Technical Manager (Level 5) will: - develop and manage parks, gardens, greenspaces and grounds (e.g. business parks, schools, retail sites etc), manage horticultural spaces, engage with clients, customers and visitors, including undertaking financial management and income generation. Both of these proposals were approved by the IFATE in December 2019.

Proposals for arboricultural and forestry apprenticeship roles at degree level were resubmitted in mid-February 2020, following feedback from the IFATE’s response to the original proposals in December 2019. The IFATE requested that the group explored combining the two professions into a core apprenticeship with options or provide sufficient detail to warrant different pathways. Following a lot of hard work by the AFHLT group and supported by the relevant sub-groups the original proposals were redrafted; a separate business case was created to highlight the differences between the professions; and additional Higher Educational Institution (HEI) evidence was compiled to enhance the redrafted proposals.

The IFATE have now approved separate degree-level apprenticeships in forestry and arboriculture for development. This is a great example of how sub-group members can contribute to change and enable the creation of such vital future opportunities for both professions. The chairs are extremely grateful to all involved.

The AFHLT recognises that these are challenging times for all employers and employees and our professions as whole. Even with the changes and sacrifices that we are all having to make at the moment, we hope that this good news will help to enhance opportunities for our industries moving forward in the future and aid us on as we look to recover.

The horticulture, landscape, forestry and arboriculture industries have worked tirelessly on these apprenticeship proposals and the ‘green light’ to start development is a huge achievement. It is likely that the development will take at least a year and employers who want to shape the future skills of the workforce should register their interest by signing up here.

Original article on BALI

Balconies become sculptural intermediate landscapes in Bangalore

Balconies become sculptural intermediate landscapes in Bangalore

 Located in a densely populated neighbourhood of Bangalore, the apartment building Axis Vanam (Vanam meaning ‘Forest’ in Sanskrit) functions as an environmental filter by introducing ‘intermediate landscapes’ that connect residents with green space.

This mid-size housing project, designed by Purple Ink Studio, comprises 20 living units stacked over five levels. The outward-facing units are oriented to ensure ample light and cross-ventilation. A central core is lit with skylights and louvres at the terrace level assist in the facilitation of stack ventilation, thus making the development less dependent on mechanical ventilation. The balconies/decks are staggered to create double-height volumes that extend off either living or master bedroom areas.

 The compact 2-Bedroom units include flexible areas to the exterior in the form of balconies that can hold soil. So rather than providing individual garden boxes for tenants, the form of the balcony itself becomes the planter. These ‘garden decks’ provide private gardens at all levels.

Formwork for the bespoke balconies was studied via a prototype measuring 4 feet wide and 6 feet high. Ideally, the architects wanted to pre-cast the balconies but due to budget constraints, the balconies were individually cast. The structure supporting the planted balconies features deeper than normal beams to accommodate soil load.
12mm thick brick cladding along with exposed grey textures form the prime façade materials. The alternating decks and materiality of the façade are enhanced by the movement of the sun and the subsequent quality of light and shadow. Common areas are finished with stone flooring and terracotta jalis for skylight areas.

Original article on Archello
Up to £2,500 funding available for women in landscaping

Up to £2,500 funding available for women in landscaping

Women & Leadership International is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across the UK’s landscaping industry.

The campaign is providing women with grants of up to £2,500 to enable participation in a range of part-time fully online leadership development programs.

Participants will benefit from course content such as Leading Authentically, Engaging with Challenge and Conflict, Developing a Leadership Mindset, Team Dynamics, and Purpose Priorities and Professional Development.

Through their work with various stakeholders and creditors, Women & Leadership International are also able to offer a higher scholarship value compared to previous intakes to further encourage organisations and individuals to invest in their female leaders during this period of uncertainty.

Many British Association of Landscape Industries members may have been furloughed by their organisations; however it is worth bearing in mind that although those affected are not allowed to do any work whilst on a leave of absence, they are allowed to undertake training.

Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to Friday 19 June:

Original article on BALI

Self-sufficient village plan in Sweden inspired by computer games and organic cooking

Self-sufficient village plan in Sweden inspired by computer games and organic cooking

Swedish firm White Arkitekter is working with Silicon Valley's ReGen Villages to create a fully circular, self-sufficient village in Sweden.

ReGen says its 'village operating system' is able to control multiple smart home amenities from a central hub, and all neighbourhood systems can be run digitally. The OS include vertical farming and aquaponics, rainwater collectors, solar panels and biogas extraction from local waste. The system will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimise farming, energy use and water flows, with a local housing cooperative in charge of making it work.

A 250,000 sq m ReGen village will contain up to 300 energy positive homes, taking up 25% of the total area. The rest will be dedicated to farming and food production, energy production and water management.

Original article on CIAT

Tropical plants cover the balconies of Chicland hotel in Vietnam

Tropical plants cover the balconies of Chicland hotel in Vietnam

 Concrete balconies filled with tropical plants cover the Chicland hotel in Danang, Vietnam, designed by Vo Trong Nghia – the Dezeen Awards 2019 architect of the year.

Overlooking the sea on the coastal road of Vo Nguyen Giap, every room of the 21-storey hotel has its own tropical garden.

Along with 129 bedrooms, the slim tower houses a coffee house, spa, bars and a restaurant and is topped by an infinity pool and sky bar.

 The bedroom floors follow a standard floorplan, with smaller rooms sitting off a corridor opposite an elongated circulation core. Larger apartment-style suites wrap around the tower's eastern corner. Inside, full-height sliding glass doors have been used to allow for the creation of a single space with access to external balconies and terraces.

"Thanks to the greenery facade, all rooms have a nice view whether facing the sea or the adjacent land," said the studio.

The interiors have been designed as a continuation of the planted areas outside, using natural and local materials such as bamboo, rattan and stone.

Original article on Dezeen
London's Streets After Lockdown

London's Streets After Lockdown

Since it started 15 years ago the NLA has organised two exhibitions on the future of streets as well as numerous seminars and conferences on the subject. These have tracked the global trend of reducing car use in the central city areas, the encouragement of active travel, walking and cycling, and the improvement of the quality of streets as public space rather than as conduits of goods.

In recent weeks lockdown has generated a flurry of discussion on social media about what the current crisis will mean for these essential arteries of our cities. Authorities around the world have announced temporary schemes whereby road space is given over to pedestrians to provide more space for physical distancing.

Auckland, Bristol, Bogota, Calgary,Denver, Cologne have blocked off stretches of road in recent weeks. Oakland is planning to close 10 per cent of its street network to vehicular traffic. Vancouver has removed cars from roads in parks while Vienna is creating slow-speed shared streets as drivers take advantage of clear roads and turn them into race tracks.

With public transport only accessible to essential workers trains and buses are running pretty well empty - leaching funds from an already financially stretched TfL.

What will happen when we all go back to work? One can only presume that there will be restrictions on the use of crowded systems. So will the majority of commuters take to the road in their cars - as they are doing in China - causing congestion and pollution? Or will there be a substantial shift to cycling as there was after 7/7 in London when bombs were detonated in the Underground?

Will we all become germaphobes and find the crowded conditions of rush hour public transport unacceptable and get on a bike instead?

It was a brilliant move of the government to allow cycle shops to remain open to encourage exercise on bikes. Cycle manufacturers have seen Christmas-like sales with Raleigh boasting of “record-breaking on-line sales”, according to There will be many who have started riding in recent weeks who will surely carry on riding. Brompton bicycles provided 1000 bikes for NHS workers providing doctors and nurses with a healthy way to get to work.

The increase in cycling after 7/7 changed attitudes to cycling in a way that can still be felt today, although it didn’t take long for people to start taking the tube again.

By the end of all this, TfL’s cupboard will be pretty bare, but it will be more important than ever that we continue to invest in improvements to the buses and underground, and increase capacity with Crossrail 2 and the Bakerloo Line extension.

The NLA will continue to debate these issues and to promote the kind of city they set out in the NLA Charter which supports “continued investment in the transport infrastructure to deliver efficient, integrated and more pleasurable travel and believes that the shift away from cars towards public transport, walking and cycling should be accelerated.” 

Original article on NLA

Kita Aoyama apartments

Kita Aoyama apartments

International architecture and design practice, Conran and Partners, completes a sensitive residential scheme in Tokyo.
This striking project, comprising 15 apartments across seven storeys, is located in the upmarket Kita Aoyama district of the Japanese capital. The design takes its inspiration from a woodblock print – ‘Cushion pine at Aoyama’ – by the great Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai, one of ‘Thirty views of Mount Fuji’, created by Hokusai when the area was a green landscape, traditionally occupied by the Samurai. 

The structure’s recessive massing means that pedestrians are aware only of the first three storeys – the cascading greenery of trees and shrubs hints at the upper levels beyond the parapet. The uppermost floors, visible only from the upper floors of adjacent buildings, step back dramatically, creating generous terraces where the extensive planting ensures that terraces below are protected from views from those above, ensuring privacy for all residents.

At ground level, walled gardens provide private spaces of calm for residents occupying the lower levels of the building. Mature trees have been planted here, offering shade, colour and seasonality to the street.

Both the living spaces and bedrooms offer timber-framed views of the external, planted terraces, the generosity of which is a rare amenity in this most dense of cities. Winter gardens provide a transitional space between internal and exterior areas, with the choice of key materials such as granite paving providing a visual linking motif.

Original article on Archello

‘Plants Near Me’ campaign helps British growers connect with the public

‘Plants Near Me’ campaign helps British growers connect with the public

Following on from the HTA campaign to highlight the financial plight of ornamental horticulture growers during the coronavirus shutdown, the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) in the UK has been inundated with messages from the public wanting to support the industry.

To help connect growers with the public, the HTA  has launched the ‘Plants Near Me’ webpage –, allowing the public to find local growers and garden centres that are offering home delivery.

Since its launch in the first week of April,  almost 450 horticultural businesses have signed up to the scheme.

Original article on FloraCulture

The landscape through my window competition

The landscape through my window competition

The Landscape department of the Universidad Católica de Córdoba (Argentina), together with the Latin American Landscape Initiative (LALI) summon professionals or amateurs to the visual arts, illustration or design in all its fields, to participate in THE LANDSCAPE THROUGH MY WINDOW artistic competition.

In this pandemic circumstance that crosses the world, it is proposed to reflect on “the landscape in the times of the coronavirus” (COVID-19), through images that allow us to express the situation we are going through. The objective is to provide a space to express and share our landscapes from the condition of confinement (physical, mental, emotional), within the framework of this global health crisis, in connection with the environment in which each person lives, from a landscape perspective and with an environmental projection.

Find further details click here and for inquiries email:

Original article on IFLA
Another Green World: award-winning urban oasis nestled in Old Street development

Another Green World: award-winning urban oasis nestled in Old Street development

 Within the built environment, our focus is increasingly shifting towards both sustainable developments and staff wellbeing, and rightly so. Integrating green spaces is one of the most effective ways of successfully doing this. The exterior spaces at Stylus, 116 Old Street are a great example of how this can be done successfully and imaginatively within urban developments.

With the initial concept produced by John Davies Landscape, it was then developed collaboratively with architects gpad london, and demonstrates how a small space, if carefully designed and utilised to its fullest, can have a large impact.

 Testament to its success, it won The Grand Award, the most prestigious accolade, and the Best Public or Commercial Outdoor Space at the 2020 Society of Garden Designers Awards. It was also among the winners in the Roof Gardens and Living Walls category at the BALI National Landscape Awards.

The design of Stylus was founded on bridging the old and the new. This was crucial as a redevelopment of a building dating to the Victorian era, which also had to relate to its contemporary surroundings. The front façade of the former Margolin gramophone factory was the only original feature retained, however it was a key guiding inspiration for the rest of the building. Linking the Victorian era with the state-of-the-art office space and the surrounding Silicon Roundabout media and tech hub, the design evokes the anachronisms of steampunk.

 Greenery was maximised by including terraced areas on both the third and fourth floor roofs, as well as a narrow basement courtyard sandwiched between the building and an adjacent ground floor car park. 

The fourth floor terrace is an intensive roof garden with a scheme of insect-friendly flowering perennials, ornamental grasses and broad-leaved cockspur thorn (Crataegus prunifolia). The south-side of the terrace features a brick party wall with skyline chimneys, dropping down to the third floor. This has been transformed into a hydroponic green wall system with flowering perennials and shrubs such as fuchsia and buddleia, mounted on bespoke steels fixed to the framework of the building. 

A bespoke system of floating triangulated planters, with sloping walls, was created to complement the contemporary ethos of the workspace. Corten steel was chosen as a primary material, echoing the industrial past of the building and informing the relationship between old and new.

The fronts of the planters vary in height, establishing a gentle rake forward from the back to give the effect of ‘presenting’ the foliage to inhabitants. Plants have been inserted into letter-box style apertures within the outer facing walls of the planters to make the terrace appear greener when viewed from road level.

The judges at the SGD Awards described the project as hugely creative and “brilliantly executed, demonstrating environmental responsibilities that we should all be embracing”, as well as remarking on the ”interesting and unusual mix of plants and textures that offer structure and all-round interest”, with a balance of scale.

All images courtesy of John Davies Landscape

Original article on Architect Projects
ADEPT proposes “The Healing City” for a future city in Yanzihu

ADEPT proposes “The Healing City” for a future city in Yanzihu

 ADEPT’s proposal – ‘The Healing City’ is the winner of an invited international competition for a 900 ha future city in Yanzihu, in the greater Shenzhen area. Central to the design is a set of six strategic principles that promote a sustainable approach to healthy urban living.

  The greater Shenzhen area suffers, as other megacities, from uncontrollable and rapid urban growth, creating increasingly poor living conditions, threatening the health and wellbeing of human beings. In the international competition to shape the future of a 900 ha mixed urban district, the winning proposal by Copenhagen based ADEPT forms a new set of strategies for Yanzihu to heal the nature, people and neighborhoods of the area through a diverse landscape approach, sustainable mobility and public space hierarchies.

  The project area suffers some of the typical side effects of rapid urbanisation that are continuously threatening to deteriorate its invaluable natural resources – the river, the green river banks, hills and mountains. The term ‘Healing City’ is used to explore a series of six strategic principles focusing on the health of nature, people and neighbourhoods to demonstrate the possibility of sustainable urban growth.

Through upgraded and renewed water quality and connected landscapes that act as the ‘lungs’ of the area, nature becomes an integrated part of the masterplan. Through a nuanced strategy for open spaces, renewed recreational quality, public access to the water and a better produce supply through urban farming, the masterplan promotes a healthy way of life. And finally, through a conscious strategy for mobility and public space hierarchies, neighbourhoods are connected, diverse and encouraging to the individual.

1. Restorative Lakes
2. Connective Landscape 
3. Public Access to Water and landscape
4. Urban farming 
5. Conscious mobility
6. Healthy prosperity

Original article on World Landscape Architect

BALI National Landscape Awards Important Information

BALI National Landscape Awards Important Information

Considering the disruption that COVID-19 has brought BALI have chosen to extend the early bird deadline to allow their members a little more time to submit their chosen schemes. However, with the disruption to your businesses it has also given those of you who are not working at full capacity, or at all, the time to do all those jobs we all never get around to! One of those being selecting your chosen schemes and preparing your awards pack for submission. 

It’s business as usual for the 2020 BALI Awards, however they do have contingency plans in place if needed regarding COVID-19. They will be posting Awards COVID-19 updates on Twitter so ensure you follow them to keep up to date…

Original article on BALI

Precht designs Parc de la Distance for outdoor social distancing

Precht designs Parc de la Distance for outdoor social distancing

Austria-based studio Precht has designed a maze-like park divided by high hedges that would allow people to be outdoors while maintaining social distance during the coronavirus pandemic. Chris Precht, founder of studio Precht, designed the Parc de la Distance following numerous public, outdoor spaces around the world closing due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"The project started with a couple of questions regarding this pandemic," he told Dezeen. "What would a park look like and how would it function if it takes the rules of social distancing as a design guideline. And what can we learn from a space like this that still has value after the pandemic."

The park would have numerous routes divided by 90-centimetre-wide hedges to maintain a safe physical distance between its visitors. Arranging the paths in a finger print-shaped swirl pattern creates many routes that can be used simultaneously. Each of the red-granite gravel paths through the park would be around 600 metres long and circulate visitors from the edge of the park to the centre, where fountains would be located, and back round. Gates on the entrances and exits to each of the routes, which would take around 20 minutes to walk, would indicate if a route is occupied.

The park is proposed for a vacant plot in Vienna, where the famous Schönbrunn and Belvedere parks are currently closed.

Original article on Dezeen

Bring the Outdoors In

Bring the Outdoors In

As most of us move to a more isolated and indoor lifestyle this spring, Contura experts provide tips to plan your own natural oasis at home. Although it’s harder to get outdoors on a regular basis at the moment, studies have shown that just five minutes spent outdoors can help us de-stress and feel more connected to the world, with fresh air and exercise cited as a much-needed antidote to the fast pace of modern life. As being immersed in nature brings only positives to our health and wellbeing and since we’ll be spending more time in our homes for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to bring elements of the natural world into our homes too.

Here, Catharina Björkman, lifestyle expert at Swedish wood burning stove brand, Contura, encourages us to look towards the future and plan an ‘outdoors in’ style home to promote wellbeing and happiness. Catharina says: “Now is the perfect time to think about how you can add greenery and plants to your home in creative and interesting ways. As a design element plants are incredibly versatile. Whether your home is minimal and clean, or eclectic and busy, plants do so much to soften and add texture. Think about them as you would a piece of art or an ornament, lifting and adding an extra dimension to the space."

Original article on The Art of Design

Garden Hotspot Restaurant

Garden Hotspot Restaurant

  At the end of 2018, MUDA-Architects received a renovation design commission in Sansheng Township, Chengdu. Sansheng Township is located in Chengdu suburb, known as "Chengdu green lung", with unique natural conditions and ecological resources. MUDA takes this opportunity to integrate hotpot culture with natural ecological environment, creating a restaurant that respects the original ecology and in line with modern consumption style.

Garden Hotpot Restaurant is in the hinterland of Sansheng Township, surrounding a lotus pond, hidden in a eucalyptus forest. On the premise of paying the greatest respect to the natural environment, MUDA decides to eliminate the architectural scale, leaving out walls, only using pillars and boards to lightly hide the building in the woods, letting the building gently integrate with the site and delineating the shape of lake in a light and peaceful way.

The construction forms along the lake, looking like the steams and smokes from the boiling pots curling between the pillars and trees. Thin columns are evenly distributed on both sides, and the free curve of the roof forms several transparent viewing frames, so that different views can be appreciated. The bottom platform is consistent with the curve of the roof, and the same method is used in the design to echo each other, demonstrating the consistency and integrity of the whole space.

 In total, the building has a circumference of 290 meters, with the height of 3 meters, and the width varies with the natural environment. The platform is made of anti-corrosive wood, and the roof is made of galvanized steel sheet, coated with white fluorocarbon paint, which complements the surrounding lush environment. A series of steel columns with a diameter of 88 mm is used as the supporting structure, and it blends into the straight trunks of eucalyptus trees and disappears into nature. The curved wooden railing by the lakeside is built for customers to enjoy the views, and blur the boundary of the lake, which brings people closer to nature.

The natural environment of the site is beautiful but complex. Tens of eucalyptus trees must be preserved, and the terrain is tortuous with a maximum drop of nearly 2 meters. In order to respect the natural environment and minimize human intervention in this natural site, MUDA conducted manual mapping and recorded of the site in person, and the building was designed according to the location of eucalyptus trees and lake. Moreover, the free curve of the roof is designed according to the site characteristics and function.

  At the same time, it is also an experiment for MUDA in small scale and low cost architecture. The construction team, local migrant workers, have no professional knowledge and tools. In order to ensure the quality, architects simplified complex structural nodes and made strategic adjustments in a way that workers could understand. 

Users sit around the lake, and the landscape spray permeates the whole space, starting a romantic and wonderful ecological hotpot tour.

Original article on Archello

Construction projects continue as normal due to exemption in COVID-19 restrictions

Construction projects continue as normal due to exemption in COVID-19 restrictions

People are told to stay home, many businesses are closed, and government offices are operating with limited staffing levels. But the construction industry is operating much as it did prior to the country’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two big projects in Muncie serve as examples of ongoing work: Accutech’s new headquarters on Walnut Street in downtown Muncie, and the new Texas Roadhouse on McGalliard Road.

Crews have been in and out of both buildings over the past few weeks, keeping up work to complete the projects. It was unclear immediately if either project have seen delays that would stop them from finishing on time.

Construction companies in Delaware County are using the exemption in Gov. Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order, which was extended until April 20, to keep operations running near normal. The legislation makes an exemption for critical trades. This includes “building, construction and other trades, including but not limited to, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, operating engineers, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, HVAC, painting and relocation services.”

So, the construction continues. Even government construction projects have not slowed down because of the virus, despite government buildings from state level all the way down to the City of Muncie being closed for the duration of the pandemic.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will close sections of Interstate 70 for about 30 days this month in order to use the lull in traffic to work on construction projects on the highway. It might actually be a good time for road construction. Traffic across the area has dropped by 40% from March 9 to March 31, according to data from INDOT.

Delaware County Commissioner James King said that projects were still ongoing at the county level. That includes the new Delaware County Jail.

King said he was concerned about the construction crews’ potential risk due to the virus, but was reassured by the contractor that they were implementing certain protocols to work safely. Angela Moyer, the project director with the Delaware County Engineering Department, said she did not have any projects on hold. Only a couple contractors have mentioned that events could cause a delay.

Original article on World Construction Today

Circular holes connect playgrounds on two levels of a Lisbon school

Circular holes connect playgrounds on two levels of a Lisbon school

 Portuguese studio Site Specific Arquitectura has renovated a 1950s school in Lisbon and added a dual-level extension with round openings connecting its outdoor spaces.

The primary school was originally built in 1956, on the border between the Caselas neighbourhood and the Monsanto Forest Park, to service the newly constructed low-density housing scheme.

Site Specific Arquitectura was tasked with renovating the existing building and introducing facilities including a kindergarten and multipurpose learning spaces.

Site Specific Arquitectura's interventions are drawn using basic geometric forms that are distinctly contemporary in their expression, but also complement the older building's more traditional design.

Primary school pupils using the improved spaces in the existing building also have direct access to a larger playground, as well as green spaces created on top of the kindergarten.

 Staircases inside the new structures descend to a lower level where the activity rooms are connected to outdoor courtyards. These spaces, and the canteen that is also accommodated on this floor, have direct access to the playground.

"The distribution through the two floors and the existence of the patios on the lower floor creates the illusion of an extension confined to one floor," the architects added, "which follows the topography of the surroundings and allows the creation of generous and autonomous outdoor spaces with different characteristics."

Large holes cut into the roofs above the courtyards create a visual connection between the two levels, and ensure that plenty of natural light enters the interior through the windows below them.

Original article on Dezeen
Global Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic-on Garden Centres

Global Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic-on Garden Centres

There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the ornamental horticultural industry in the middle of its busiest growing and selling period. Government’s strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19 have been changing the way garden centres operate around the world.

AIPH – International Association of Horticultural Producers – sent out a short survey to a selection of its members to give them a platform to share their specific situations. We asked if the garden centres were open and if so, how were they operating. If not, what were the alternatives for growers to sell their products?


Original article on AIPH
Contractors urged to support suppliers and keep cash flowing

Contractors urged to support suppliers and keep cash flowing

Companies that delay payments to suppliers during the coronavirus pandemic should remember one thing: what goes around, comes around. Industry leaders have issued a thinly veiled warning that anyone looking to play hardball in the current circumstances will find their reputation totally trashed by the time this is all over. 

The Construction Leadership Council said that it was getting “increasingly concerned about the management of payment in the supply chain, and the risk that clients and firms will seek to invoke contractual clauses to the detriment of other firms”.

CLC co-chair Andy Mitchell, who is also chief executive of Thames Tideway, said: “We are clear that all construction businesses should continue to pay in accordance with agreed contractual terms. Similarly, firms should not be threatening to invoke penalty or other contractual clauses, when it should be the priority of all clients and firms to sustain the industry.  Our actions at this time will be remembered.  All firms should think hard about how their reputation could be damaged by not doing the right thing. We owe it to our sector and the country to take all steps necessary to ensure that the industry is in good health to support the recovery, when it comes.”

Original article on Refurb & Developer Update
Heatherwick Studio reveals 1,000 Trees nearing completion in Shanghai

Heatherwick Studio reveals 1,000 Trees nearing completion in Shanghai

 Heatherwick Studio has released photography of its plant-covered 1,000 Trees development in Shanghai, which has had its scaffolding removed.

Split across two sites beside the city's M50 arts district, 1,000 Trees will comprise two mountain-like peaks that contain a mix of retail, offices, eateries, event venues and galleries. The latest images unveiled by Heatherwick Studio reveal that the first "mountain", which is set to open in 2020, is nearing completion.

As its name suggests, 1,000 Trees is distinguished by hundreds of plants that emerge from its staggered, pixellated surface. The trees are housed in giant planters that sit on top of structural concrete columns placed across the mountain.

 Collectively, the planters contain approximately 25,000 individual plants and 46 different plant species including shrubs, perennials, climbers.

Each planter has a unique combination of plants sourced from Shanghai's Chongming Island, a fertile strip of land within the Yangtze river delta, and more than half of them are evergreen "to ensure a lush green building throughout the year".

Once complete in 2020, the first mountain will incorporate ten levels of mixed-use facilities that envelop several large atriums that bring natural light deep into its core. These giant voids will connect to a number of outdoor terraces that envelop the building that will cascade down to a new public park and walkway that the studio is developing along Suzhou Creek.

The development's second phase will also involve more landscaping, including a 900-metre-long stretch of riverside public space and 12,000-square-metre landscape park that will include a jogging path, sculpture garden and series of outdoor event spaces.

Original article on Dezeen
National Garden Scheme gardens to remain open virtually

National Garden Scheme gardens to remain open virtually

The National Garden Scheme has had to close its garden gates for the first time in its 93 year history due to government guidance surrounding the coronavirus. But that hasn’t deterred the organisation from making the gardens available to the public.

Today the NGS announces that its gardens will remain open virtually through the coming weeks, and will attempt to raise funds to replace lost income from gardens being closed.

Virtual garden visits will be filmed by their owners and hosted on the National Garden Scheme’s website, delivered to people’s inboxes via a weekly newsletter.

Mary Berry, president of the NGS said: “Right now people are not able to visit the gardens and there is no money being raised. In fact, as things are, the charity’s income is likely to be down by 80 per cent during 2020.

“So a team at the National Garden Scheme made up of garden owners, volunteers and staff have organised a marvellous campaign which we are launching today. 

“I think it’s a fantastic idea, typical of the resourcefulness which has kept the National Garden Scheme going for over ninety years and I urge you to support the campaign generously and enjoy the stunning gardens.” 

You can sign up to the weekly information about the virtual garden visits here. 

Original article on Gardens Illustrated

Foster + Partners 3D Print World's First Steel Truss

Foster + Partners 3D Print World's First Steel Truss

A world-first in additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, Foster + Partners have designed and manufactured an additive steel truss using the massive hybrid-manufacturing machine called LASIMM (Large-Scale Additive Subtractive Integrated Modular Machine).

Foster + Partners was awarded an EU grant in 2016 to develop, build and test a LASIMM in collaboration universities and research and technology organisations. Additive manufacturing has been prevalent in the manufacturing sector for some time now but has yet to be used in the manufacturing of structural elements in buildings. This is perhaps surprising given the extensive use of fabricated steel in construction.

The new machine is capable of rapidly depositing steel or aluminium into a rough approximation of the part desired. The deposited metal is then milled back to the desired shape. These two processes take place in one hybrid machine, without movement of the printed element. The ultimate aim was to produce a steel cantilevered beam that could demonstrate the possibility of integrating 3D printed steel components in buildings. The objective now is to now apply LASIMM to an actual commercial project.

Original article on Archello

Let Hope Bloom

Let Hope Bloom

Flowers can send a powerful message. A message of love, of friendship, support, trust, companionship and, most of all, hope. The Dutch horticultural sector wants to spread this message of hope and love among those who need it most: Our lonesome elders who in these times are more vulnerable than ever before. Friday April 10th a beautiful, colourful bouquet will be delivered to their doorstep to brighten up their day and give them that spark of hope our elders need and deserve right now. So, this Friday, let hope bloom!

Original article on Cinefleur
Waterfront Botanical Gardens

Waterfront Botanical Gardens

 A notorious dump and landfill in Louisville, Kentucky has been transformed into the new Waterfront Botanical Gardens: a verdant 23.5-acre site sitting atop a hill overlooking downtown. Perkins and Will designed the gardens’ master plan, and the newly-opened Graeser Family Education Center and outdoor plaza. The gardens are a five-minute drive from downtown Louisville or a 30-minute walk through the Louisville Waterfront Park, providing residents and visitors multiple convenient ways to access.

At the centre of the garden complex is the 6,000-square-foot Graeser Family Education Center: the wood-and-glass, sustainably-designed structure takes on an organic form,  snaking its way along the plaza, providing a sculptural presence as the initial building of the overall botanical garden project.

The long spans of the horizontal wooden structure are supported by a continuous ribbon-like ring beam that sits on 99 pine columns alternating with glass walls around the perimeter.

The geothermally-heated centre is nestled among native plants with easy access to the outdoor plaza with its edible gardens, native gardens, and pollinator gardens - bright red and orange-yellow ornamental peppers, spikey-pink cockscomb, orange lantana, blue asters, red-purple mustard and rust-tinged sedge. 


Across the plaza sits a stunning transparent water wall – a standout feature in the first garden phase and through which you can see downtown Louisville.

Original article on Archello
The National Lottery Heritage Fund announces new £50m emergency fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund announces new £50m emergency fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund announces new £50m emergency fund to support heritage in crisis

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is making £50m available in response to the significant impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the UK’s heritage, it was announced today.

The new Heritage Emergency Fund will address immediate pressures over the next 3-6 months for those most in need alongside increased investment in essential digital skills across the sector, providing expertise in critical areas such as digital fundraising, use of social media and communications, and running online events and activities.

In addition, the National Lottery Heritage Fund is continuing to support 2,500 projects already in delivery across the UK, an overall commitment of £1.1bn. This funding has been made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

Funding through the Emergency Fund for grants of between £3,000-50,000 will be available to organisations that have received funding in the past and are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant. Applications will be open to the full breadth of heritage, from historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives to parks and gardens and landscapes and nature. Priority will be given where there is limited or no access to other sources of support, or where heritage is most at risk.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has surveyed more than 1250 heritage organisations on the effect of the Covid-19 crisis. The results show that 82% of respondents reported a high or moderate risk to their organisation’s long-term viability. 35% stated their financial reserves will be depleted within four months, and 46% of organisations can survive for no more than six months.

Original article on Refurb Projects

The International Garden Show

The International Garden Show

As you are aware many of the garden shows have had to be cancelled this year due to the Coronavirus threat, not least the popular and world-renowned Melbourne show in Australia and the RHS Flower Shows around the UK.

The LCGD recently ran a competition for the Melbourne show with the winners due to be creating their planting design exhibits this week. At LCGD they are committed to supporting new designer talent through planting design both in Australia and the UK and so the competition hasn’t been cancelled, it's just been taken online with our new International Garden Show. Over the next few weeks they hope to share these creations being made by designers in their own gardens and backyards.

You can also get involved!

If you can safely get out into an open space and create a new planting design, whether it’s your own garden or a community space they want to hear from you. Even if you can’t get outside they want to see what you have designed on paper. There’s even a photography category.

What they’re looking for

They want you to design a great planting scheme that shows your skills and your idea off on a theme of ‘Embrace your garden’. You might decide to create a wildlife friendly design, a waterwise planting for summer droughts or party planting in pots for a balcony. More details are in ‘How to enter’ below.

Categories and prizes

Professional Designer – the best design will win a student bursary worth £6,000 for a place on the LCGD London Planting Design Diploma in 2021 or 2022.

Schools and Children – they’ll send you the plants and materials when schools reopen to help you realise your design anywhere in the UK, Australia or New Zealand.

Photography – the great garden shoot off – email LCGD a great photograph of the planting you’re doing in your garden whether its sowing seeds or planting vegetables and we’ll feature the best on our Instagram pages with a special exhibition for the top 20 later in the year and a prize of a free photography course.

For details on how to enter and further guidelines please head to their website.

Original article from LCGD
Parks are key to maintaining mental health

Parks are key to maintaining mental health

Parks and open space provide a public amenity for all and the access to open space is key to the physical and mental health of citizens, especially true during a health crisis when people are feeling anxiety and stress. There is a great deal of research that has been undertaken that shows that green areas and access to parks have psychological and physical benefits on residents. It has also been found that “After adjusting for socioeconomic variables, perceived “neighbourhood greenness” has been found to be strongly associated with mental health, an effect only partially explained by physical activity and increased social interaction. Even simply seeing green space on a regular basis may benefit mental health.” Open space has also been shown to speed patient recovery which will be critical in the mental health of people recovering from COVID-19. In recent days we have seen an outcry from the public as large parks and beaches have been closed in various cities across the world (Los Angeles, London, Sydney) due to large groups gathering. These closures (and the inability of people to physically distance) have highlighted the need for residents to have access to open space within walking distance in their neighbourhood rather than having to travel to large regional parks.  

Original article on World Landscape Architect
Dezeen announces Virtual Design Festival starting 15 April

Dezeen announces Virtual Design Festival starting 15 April

The world's first online design festival, taking place from Wednesday 15 April onwards.

With much of the world in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the global architecture and design community is, along with many other sectors, facing unprecedented challenges. Virtual Design Festival ( is a platform that will bring the architecture and design world together to celebrate the culture and commerce of our industry, and explore how it can adapt and respond to extraordinary circumstances.

They will host a rolling programme of online talks, lectures, movies, product launches and more. It will complement and support fairs and festivals around the world that have had to be postponed or cancelled and it will provide a platform for design businesses, so they can, in turn, support their supply chains.

Want to get involved? Email them at

Original article on Dezeen
RHS Coronavirus Statement

RHS Coronavirus Statement

Latest RHS update in summary: 

  • All four RHS Gardens (Wisley, Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Rosemoor) are currently closed;
  • The following RHS Flower Shows are cancelled: Flower Show Cardiff, Malvern Spring Festival, Chelsea Flower Show, Chatsworth Flower Show and Flower Show Tatton Park, as well as two RHS London shows, RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show and RHS Garden Harlow Carr Flower Show;
  • The following RHS Flowers Shows are postponed: Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival will now take place 10–15 September (it was scheduled 7–12 July). RHS Garden Hyde Hall Flower Show will now take place 2–6 September (it was scheduled 5–9 August). RHS Garden Rosemoor Flower Show will now take place 18–20 September (it was scheduled 14–16 August);
  • RHS Libraries are closed until further notice;
  • National RHS Britain in Bloom competition finals cancelled for 2020;
  • The RHS continues its charitable work, thanks to the support of its members, fellows and donors, to bring the mental and physical health benefits of gardening to everyone and, through scientific research and education, to help gardeners protect the environment;
  • The RHS is actively supporting nurseries via the Ornamental Horticultural Roundtable Group to call for action from the UK Government to provide assistance to growers and retailers

Original article on RHS
JCB reopens factory to manufacture ventilators

JCB reopens factory to manufacture ventilators

JCB is set to restart production at its factory in Uttoxeter and reinstate 50 furloughed employees to join the national effort to manufacture ventilators

JCB is ready to restart production at its factory in Uttoxeter, which has been closed for nearly two weeks as a result of the coronavirus crisis, to join the national effort to manufacture ventilators.

Following a direct appeal from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, JCB Chairman Lord Bamford pledged to help in any way it could and instantly organised a research and engineering team to examine potential ways to assist.

Instead of making cabs for JCB diggers, the factory will make special steel housings for a brand new design of ventilator from Dyson.

A minimum of 10,000 of the JCB housings is earmarked for manufacture once Dyson receives regulatory approval for its design.

The first prototypes of the housings have been delivered to Dyson after rolling off the production.

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford, commented: “When we were approached by the prime minister we were determined, as a British company, to help in any way we could.

“This project has gone from design to production in just a matter of days and I am delighted that we have been to deploy the skills of our talented engineering, design and fabrication teams so quickly at a time of national crisis.

“This is also a global crisis, of course, and we will naturally help with the production of more housings if these ventilators are eventually required by other countries.”

Original article on PBC Today

UK government announces financial support for freelancers impacted by Covid-19 pandemic

UK government announces financial support for freelancers impacted by Covid-19 pandemic

Self-employed designers impacted by coronavirus will be eligible for grants worth up to 80 per cent of their average monthly earnings from June, the UK government has announced.

The support package, announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak today, means that self-employed workers and freelancers who have lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic will be able to apply to the government for a grant to replace lost earnings.

Industry bodies welcomed the announcement, with the Creative Industries Federation calling it "a victory for the creative industries" and the Royal Institute of British Architects saying it will "provide long-overdue relief to self-employed people".

As part of the package, freelance designers will be able to apply for grants worth up to £2,500 per month for at least three months.

This brings the financial aid available to the self-employed level with salaried workers, who were given similar levels of support in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which was announced last week.

Package offers "the same level of support as those in work"

"The package for the self-employed I've outlined today is one of the most generous in the world that has been announced so far," said Sunak. "It targets support to those who need help most, offering the self-employed the same level of support as those in work."

To claim the grants, people must have earned less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or as an average between 2016 and 2019, and have earnt the majority of their income from self-employment. The first payments will be made in June.

Original article on Dezeen

#LightItBlue Campaign to Show Support for NHS

#LightItBlue Campaign to Show Support for NHS

Professionals in the lighting, events and entertainment industry are joining together to generate a nationwide light show, illuminating landmarks and historic buildings blue as a salute to the work of the NHS. The campaign, called #LightItBlue, was inspired by the NHS Clap For Our Carers campaign, with industry leaders wanting to create a simultaneous show of support for NHS staff amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The organisers behind the campaign are asking major buildings and landmarks across the UK to light up blue at 8pm GMT on Thursday 26 March, specifically targeting buildings and landmarks with existing LED technology, in order to adhere to the UK Government’s critical messaging for everyone to stay indoors and minimise physical contact.

To date, more than 60 theatres, bridges, cathedrals, castles, sports stadiums and national landmarks have been contacted, with the list of locations planning to take part including the O2, the Royal Albert Hall, and Bristol City Football Club; many other national landmarks are hoping to come on board.

A statement from the organisers reads: “We believe that the #LightItBlue campaign will galvanise their enthusiasm and pride in a mass gesture of solidarity.”

Original article on Arc Magazine
Lighting helps Cologne to Become a Smart City

Lighting helps Cologne to Become a Smart City

The city of Cologne has begun to successively convert its more than 85,000 public lighting points to digital and networked lighting as part of its strategy to become a ‘smart city’. The strategy is to improve the safety and quality of life of the citizens of the German metropolis, increase the city’s energy efficiency and reduce costs. 

The city can continuously monitor and manage all the lights from a central dashboard. This makes planning of maintenance and repairs more efficient and provides the company with information and data on the performance and status of the light points for analyses, reports and evaluations.

Additionally, the system allows for the integration of sensors on the luminaires, e.g. for measuring environmental data or traffic flows, thus providing data for future urban development. 

On top of preventing risks by illuminating places such as parks or tunnels at night, connected lighting can also be adapted to special requirements and events. Lighting can be immediately adjusted to a brighter level, allowing the system to react to events that affect the safety of citizens.

Original Article on Lux Review
2019 was the Year of the Houseplant says GCA

2019 was the Year of the Houseplant says GCA

The category with the biggest increase in sales during last year (2019) at garden centres across the country has been announced by the Garden Centre Association (GCA) as part of its Barometer of Trade (BoT) report.
Houseplant sales saw a year to date increase of 17.6% compared to 2018.
Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said: “We’re not surprised to see houseplants as the fastest growing category at garden centres across the country in 2019. Demand for them has been phenomenal.
“The trend has really taken off amongst the Millennial generation, with millions of posts on Instagram being tagged #houseplant.
“Having a houseplant in the home is also good for you. They can help people to de-stress and detox. They also, according to research by NASA, help filter out chemicals from the atmosphere as well as helping to reduce dust. We think everyone should have at least one houseplant!”
Hard landscaping also did well in 2019 with a year to date change of 15.56%. Outdoor plant sales were up 5.56%, seeds and bulbs were up 9.63% and garden sundries were up 8.02% compared to 2018.
The GCA BoT reports are compiled using actual sales figures and provide an up-to-date trading position statement. They are made available mid-month following the end of the prior month after all member garden centres have submitted their results.
The BoT reports allow members to compare their trading positions with other centres.
Original article on Garden Trade Specialist
Perennial prepares for increase in demand as Coronavirus (COVID-19) hits UK horticulture workers and businesses

Perennial prepares for increase in demand as Coronavirus (COVID-19) hits UK horticulture workers and businesses

Perennial is the safety net for people in the horticulture industry and is available to help anyone working in, or retired from any job involving trees, plants, flowers or grass. As the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continue to evolve for the horticulture industry, Perennial is urging anyone who is worried or has questions about how it will affect them, or their family, to get in touch. The team’s clear message is ‘we’re in this together’ and wants everyone in the industry to know they are here to support you. Perennial’s helpline is operating as usual on 0800 093 8543 or visit for the latest updates.

Julia Hayne, Director of Services at Perennial, says:

“We know people are worried; it’s only natural to be concerned about your own health, your ability to continue working and to support your family. We’re here to reassure, advise and help you through the coming weeks and months. We all need to work together on this. We are all facing unprecedented challenges as we adjust to new ways of working and Perennial is determined to remain available and active for everyone we help.”

Perennial has a range of support services online and its advisers are available by phone, email or video call free of charge and in complete confidence. The online budgeting tool can be used to help understand finances and makes it simple to see what is coming in and out, with useful hints and tips to support you to adjust to changes in income. Perennial’s online mental health network, launched earlier this year in partnership with Big White Wall, can help everyone maintain their mental wellbeing.

Perennial’s team of professional, highly trained caseworkers and debt advisers can:

  • help people understand and get access to government arrangements for financial support
  • help people make arrangements to reduce or delay bill payments, including credit debts where necessary provide financial assistance to cover essential items, particularly food and heating

If you have any concerns about how Coronavirus COVID-19 will affect you or your family, don’t hesitate to get in touch 0800 093 8543 or visit for further information.

Original article on Perennial
National Trust decides to close gardens as well as houses, shops and cafes

National Trust decides to close gardens as well as houses, shops and cafes

Following government guidance on the Coronavirus, the National Trust has announced it will be closing all gardens, as well as its houses, shops and cafes.

On 21 March 2020 the National Trust announced that it would be closing all its parks and gardens, in addition to its homes, shops and cafes, to help restrict the spread of Coronavirus.

The countryside and coastal locations remain open, with parking charges waived. But the Trust is encouraging people to stay local and observe social distancing measures.

In a statement the Trust said: ‘We know that people are likely to need space and fresh air in the coming weeks and months and we will do all we can to provide access wherever possible and where it is safe to do so. Our countryside and coastal locations remain open with parking charges waived, but we encourage people to stay local and observe social distancing measures.’

Original article on Gardens Illustrated
In São Paulo, A Street Becomes an Urban Living Room

In São Paulo, A Street Becomes an Urban Living Room

How can a street encourage people to explore, play, and hang out? How can art, plants, and furniture be combined to create a sense of place? In São Paulo, Brazil, a design collaboration between Brazilian firm Zoom Urbanismo Arquitetura e Design and furniture designers at LAO Engenharia & Design shows how. All Colors Sidewalk draws people in with its funky, organic charm.

The firms arranged the bleachers to create different views for people sitting, and flexible options for groups hanging out. To eliminate flooding, which is a common problem in São Paulo, the design team married permeable pavers with street rain gardens. But they also made sure stormwater management didn’t impede accessibility. The team selected a permeable paver that is even and poses no obstacle for wheelchair users.

The project succeeds in creating a fresh landscape, a new sort of linear park. “We created the concept of [an] Urban Living Room: a furnished space where people are invited to sit, to talk, wait and rest — a living space in the middle of the city.”

Original article on The Dirt.

Pantone unveils over 300 new trend-based colours

Pantone unveils over 300 new trend-based colours

A hot pink called Viva Magenta and an icy blue named Frozen Fjord are among the 315 new hues that American colour company Pantone has added to its roster of shades.

The 315 colours have been chosen by Pantone to reflect present-day and forecasted trends, and have been taken from all bands of the spectrum.

There are over 50 new shades of pink, a colour that the brand believes has "embraced new meanings and relevance beyond it's traditional gendered and child-like status". Among them are First Blush, Viva Magenta and Tender Touch. More than 70 new blues will also be available. Some of the cooler hues, like Frozen Fjord, nod to icy natural landscapes, while brighter, green-infused shades like Exotic Plume and Gulf Coast are meant to evoke a more summery, tropical feel. 

The launch of the new shades has also seen the company create Pantone Connect, a management system and extensive colour library that can be merged with digital design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Original article on Dezeen.

MRDV Transforms Abandoned Taiwanese Shopping Mall into Urban Lagoon

MRDV Transforms Abandoned Taiwanese Shopping Mall into Urban Lagoon

An unused shopping mall in Tainan, in southern Taiwan, has been removed and transformed by MVRDV into a sunken plaza dominated by an urban pool and local vegetation. MVRDV noticed Tainan is a very grey city and wanted to insert much needed greenery to reconnect the city with nature and its waterfront.

The pool is designed as a place for all seasons. The water level can rise and fall depending on the rainy and dry seasons. In hot weather mist sprayers will bring relief from the rising temperature. The pool is surrounded by a shadowed arcade to provide shelter from the sun.

The Tainan Spring includes playgrounds, gathering spaces, and a stage for performances. The selective deconstruction of the former mall’s concrete frame left a number of follies that allow for a conversion into shops, kiosks or other amenities.

Original article by Archello.

Green light for £250m water wellbeing centre in Manchester

Green light for £250m water wellbeing centre in Manchester

 Trafford Council planners have given the green light to build the UK’s first city-based wellbeing resort in Manchester.

The £250m Therme Manchester scheme will combine hundreds of water-based activities with wellbeing treatments, art, nature and technology to create a unique experience forecast to attract up to two million visitors per year.

Backer Therme Group hopes to open the 28-acre resort in 2023. It will be built opposite intu Trafford Centre next to Barton Square, with a Metrolink station directly outside.

The heart of the project is a two-acre wellbeing garden in the shape of a Rose. A large family zone will include waterslides, a wave pool, indoor and outdoor pools and steam rooms.

  A dedicated adults’ area will have warm-water lagoons among spectacular botanical gardens, swim-up bars, therapeutic mineral baths and steam rooms and saunas.

Stelian Iacob, Senior Vice President of Therme Group Worldwide and CEO of Therme Group UK, said: “We are delighted that planning has been approved so we can bring the UK’s first Therme Group city wellbeing resort to Manchester.

“This will transform life for city residents and people further afield, creating a fun and accessible experience with profound health and wellbeing benefits for all.”

Original article by Construction Enquirer.

New technological process transforms everyday trash into graphene

New technological process transforms everyday trash into graphene

Rice University researchers have succeeded in creating graphene, not from costly purified starting materials, but from everyday trash. The amount produced is in kilograms per day, rather than the customary small batches of grams per day produced via traditional methods. With the researchers’ novel technique using electricity, even carbon sourced from food scraps, plastic waste and wood clippings can be the starting material for high-quality graphene. This breakthrough study holds both environmental and market promise for various scaled-up applications.

Research team lead James Tour said on The Engineer, “With the present commercial price of graphene being $67,000 to $200,000 per ton, the prospects for this process look superb.” 

Graphene is highly prized in sectors like battery energy, (flexible) electronics, semiconductors, solar and even DNA sequencing for its outstanding mechanical, electric and thermal properties. Structurally, graphene can be visualized as ultra-thin sheets or films of pure carbon atoms, leveraged to create high-strength materials.

Although the knowledge of isolating and producing graphene has been known since the early 2000s, the costs have been prohibitive. Why? Methods of creating graphene required, as Chemical & Engineering News cited, “expensive substrates on which to grow graphene and/or reagents such as methane, acetylene and organic solids that must be purified before use.”

But with this breakthrough from the Rice University and Universal Matter, Inc. team, the industry is about to change. Just think, this new trash-to-treasure technique with graphene poses a win-win in terms of both cost for production and the environment.

Original article on InHabitat.

UK council smart lighting pilot monitors air quality and footfall

UK council smart lighting pilot monitors air quality and footfall

South Kesteven District Council hopes to realise energy-savings of at least 60 per cent and the pilot could be expanded across the streetlighting network.

The UK district council of South Kesteven in Lincolnshire has completed a smart lighting pilot which deployed IoT technology to reduce energy consumption and support its goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 per cent before 2030.

South Kesteven District Council completed the trial in February and is now analysing the results but it expects to deliver energy savings of at least 60 per cent. If judged a success, it could lead to the council rolling out the smart streetlighting across its network, totalling 3,600 lights.

Twelve streetlight heads were installed for the pilot, which collected data on their surroundings: four on a public footpath in Grantham; four at Stamford bus station; and four at Cattle Market car park in Stamford. They are fully integrated with smart technology, offering sensor control and dimming, with some of the lights also providing air quality and video monitoring. The data collected was streamed in real-time to a control dashboard via the cloud.

Original article on Smart Cities World.

The Largest Open-Air Venue for Events and Concerts in Europe is Under Construction in Italy

The Largest Open-Air Venue for Events and Concerts in Europe is Under Construction in Italy

Designed by Iotti + Pavarani Architetti, Tassoni & Partners, Lauro Sacchetti Associati, the RCF Arena, currently under construction, is set to become Europe’s largest events and concerts venue. Located in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna, the structure can host up to 100 000 people.

Scheduled for opening on the 12th September 2020, the arena, occupying a 20 hectares site, is located in the Campovolo area, in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Conceived for live open-air musical events, the structure will include a green space for international events, a concert area for national events and a reception area. With a 5% slope, the project guarantees perfect visibility for the audience and optimum acoustics.

Original article on ArchDaily.

Researchers Convert Durian and Jackfruit Biowaste into Ultracapacitors

Researchers Convert Durian and Jackfruit Biowaste into Ultracapacitors

Durian fruit is notable for its funky stench, making it a rather malodorous waste when it is discarded. But a new study from Australia’s University of Sydney, published in the Journal of Energy Storage, focused on recycling durian waste into an affordable, sustainable source of energy storage to counteract global warming. The researchers have discovered a way to create ultracapacitors from durian and its related jackfruit cousin. 

“Super-capacitors are like energy reservoirs that dole out energy smoothly. They can quickly store large amounts of energy within a small battery-sized device and then supply energy to charge electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops, within a few seconds,” explained associate professor Vincent Gomes. As TreeHugger reported, the waste biomass of durian and jackfruit are “converted into a carbon aerogel using non-toxic methods.” These aerogels are then leveraged and converted into electrodes. Interestingly, these durian- and jackfruit-derived electrodes “demonstrate outstanding performance, making them a green, low-cost energy solution for charging phones, laptops and tablets." When compared to what’s currently on the market, the electrodes developed from durian and jackfruit have proven to be a more energy-efficient alternative to traditional ultracapacitors derived from activated carbon.. 

Original article on InHabitat.

This Groundbreaking Project Uses The Tube To Heat Homes In Islington

This Groundbreaking Project Uses The Tube To Heat Homes In Islington

 When riding the tube in summer, the eternal words of Mark Corrigan come to mind: "It's too hot. It's too bloody hot! It's ruining everything. Tell it to stop!" But what if that heat wasn't 'stopped' and instead it could be repurposed.

That's what the new joint scheme from Islington Council and Transport for London will do. Bunhill 2 Energy Centre harnesses waste heat from the tube tunnels below, and is capable of turning that into hot water and heating for more than 550 homes and a school. This will reduce heating bills connected to the network by 10%.

Technology that reuses waste heat is not new, but this project is the first in the world that specifically takes the waste heat from a metro system (of which there is an abundance). It's made possible because this site was once a tube station: City Road. It was on the Northern line, between Angel and Old Street, but has been closed due to lack of use since 1922.

 How does it work? Well, there's a massive underground fan that extracts warm air from the Northern line tunnels beneath. That air travels over a series of water filled pipes, heating the liquid inside. The water is then warmed to 80℃ using heat pumps, before it travels around a series of underground pipes and is transferred to communal heating system loops.

Using combined heat and power technology it also generates (greener and cheaper) electricity, that's fed into a nearby tower block and the London Underground beneath. There's also the possibility of selling some of this power off to the National Grid to generate income.

In our current age when sustainability and climate change are such a hot topic, this project can only be seen as a positive development. It will reduce CO₂ emissions by roughly 500 tonnes each year, helping Islington council towards its goal of making the borough carbon neutral by 2030 (which is also the Mayor's target for city-wide carbon neutrality).

Going back to the Peep Show quote we opened with, Bunhill 2 Energy Centre can also help with 'stopping' the heat on the tube. Well, not stopping exactly, but cooling the network when it overheats, as the fan in the ventilation shaft that usually blows the hot air out can act in reverse, and suck cooler air in during the summer months. As all Northern line commuters will agree, anything that could cool the carriages down in summer needs to be applauded. 

Original article on The Londonist.

Construction work ready to begin at HS2’s ‘Interchange’ station site near Birmingham Airport

Construction work ready to begin at HS2’s ‘Interchange’ station site near Birmingham Airport

  Preparatory work has almost been completed and now major structures are being put in place on the site of HS2’s new Interchange station - the brand new public transport gateway serving the Midlands, close to Birmingham International station, the NEC and Birmingham Airport.

The site, covering an area of 150 hectares, is located within a triangle of land formed by the M42, A45 and A452. Current work includes construction of modular bridges over the M42 and A446, and remodelling of the road network in the area to facilitate access to the new station, as well as easing access to and from Birmingham Business Park.

 Around 200 people, including graduates and apprentices, are working on the site, from HS2’s Early Works contractor LM, a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and Murphy. This is set to increase to 250 people over the coming months as the construction of new bridges and access roads ramps up.

Major regeneration plans around the site, being led by the Urban Growth Company, will support 70,000 new and existing jobs, 5,000 new homes and 650,000 square metres of commercial space, generating an additional £6.2 billion GVA per year and bringing 1.3 million people to within a 45-minute commute of the station.

An Automated People Mover will link to the NEC, Birmingham International Station and Birmingham Airport, carrying up to 2,100 passengers per hour in each direction, with a link every 3 minutes along a 2.3 kilometre route.

As a transformational project, HS2 will play a pivotal role in creating regeneration opportunities around the station, with plans for new jobs, homes and commercial space resulting in a huge boost to the regional economy.

The new station will be net zero carbon in operation, adopting the latest environmentally friendly design and sustainable technologies including rainwater harvesting and sustainable power generation with more than 2,000 square metres of solar panels.

By freeing up space on existing lines, for new local train services, passengers and freight, HS2 will help ease congestion and over-crowding, and offer an environmentally friendly form of transport for long distance passengers. There will be up to 5 trains per hour passing through this brand new interchange in both directions, with an estimated total of 175,000 seats per day, making this one of the best connected transport interchanges in the country and a new gateway to the UK.

Original article on

Analysis: UK’s CO2 emissions have fallen 29% over the past decade

Analysis: UK’s CO2 emissions have fallen 29% over the past decade

 The UK’s CO2 emissions fell by 2.9% in 2019, according to Carbon Brief analysis. This brings the total reduction to 29% over the past decade since 2010, even as the economy grew by a fifth.

Another 29% reduction in coal use last year was the driving force behind the decline in UK emissions in 2019, with oil and gas use largely unchanged. Carbon emissions from coal have fallen by 80% over the past decade, while those from gas are down 20% and oil by just 6%.

The 2.9% fall in 2019 marks a seventh consecutive year of carbon cuts for the UK, the longest series on record. It also means UK carbon emissions in 2019 fell to levels last seen in 1888.

But UK government projections show the country will miss its legally binding carbon targets later this decade. To meet the UK’s carbon budgets, CO2 emissions would need to fall by another 31% by 2030, whereas government projections expect just a 10% cut, based on current policies.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which is the UK government’s official climate advisory body, has also said the UK’s targets over the next decade are “likely” to be insufficient, given the increased goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Original article by Carbon Brief.

Open International Competition For The Development Of A Master Plan For The Area Adjacent To The “Samara Arena” Stadium

Open International Competition For The Development Of A Master Plan For The Area Adjacent To The “Samara Arena” Stadium

This is one of the first projects aimed at converting the sports venues that were built especially for the FIFA World Cup 2018 into hubs for urban development and community, business, and cultural life. The territory adjacent to the Samara Arena lies within the city limits and covers 360 hectares. The efficient use of the World Cup infrastructure has become a vital mission for the regions that had the honour of hosting it. The Samara Region was among the first in Russia to attempt the integration of such a major sports venue into the cityscape through the rational development of the adjacent territory.

To take part in the competition, fill out an application on the official competition website and provide a portfolio of completed projects demonstrating relevant experience, along with an essay with a description of the key ideas that will lay the groundwork for the future master plan.

The judges will review the applications and select three finalists. The total prize fund for the competition is 14,400,000 rubles (approx 215,000 USD). All teams that make it to the final stage will receive 2,400,000 rubles (including tax) ($36,000 USD) each. And after the judges cast their final vote and the three places are ranked, the teams will receive additional prizes as follows: 3,600,000 rubles for the winner; 2,400,000 rubles for second place; and 1,200,000 rubles for third place.

20 March 2020 Application submissions close
Competition Website

Original article on World Landscape Architect.

“Wood” you like to recycle concrete?

“Wood” you like to recycle concrete?

Research from the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science has revealed that discarded concrete can be strengthened with the addition of wood waste. This pioneering technique promises to be an environmentally friendly way to enhance concrete structures while simultaneously reducing construction costs and curtailing carbon emissions. It is hoped that this groundbreaking new method will help make better use of old concrete and any waste plant or wood materials.

The research team’s first author, Li Liang, explained, “Just reusing the aggregate from old concrete is unsustainable, because it is the production of new cement that is driving climate change emissions.” The team, therefore, sought to find a better approach, particularly one that would “help promote the circular economy of concrete,” according to the University of Tokyo.

The innovative process involves taking discarded concrete and grinding it into a powder. Wood waste is also sourced from sawdust, scrap wood and other agricultural waste. Rather than sending this wood off to landfills, it is instead leveraged in the concrete recycling process for the key ingredient, lignin. Lignin is an organic polymer that comprises wood’s vascularized tissue and accounts for wood’s rigidity.

The concrete, now in powder form, is then combined with water and the lignin to form a mixture. This mixture is both heated and pressurised, allowing for the lignin to become an adhesive that fills the gaps between the concrete particles. What results is a newly formed concrete with stronger malleability than the original concrete. Additionally, the lignin makes this new, recycled concrete more biodegradable.

Original article on InHabitat.

Cycling through the Trees

Cycling through the Trees

 This bicycle bridge is a project carried out in collaboration with Visit Limburg. It’s a unique cycling experience at junction 272 of the Limburg cycle route network. This cycle bridge which has a length of nearly 700 metres, takes you into higher realms. You can cycle or walk through different decors every season, discover the sounds and scents of the Pijnven whilst climbing to a height of 10 metres above ground.

 The path is created by a double circle with a diameter of 100 meters, which rises gradually (3-4%). This exceptional landmark offers a sensational yet safe cycling experience. The large, clean-lined circle was a conscious design choice. It is a symbolic reference to the tree rings in tree trunks. The path was constructed on corten steel pillars, placed in a pattern reminiscent of the pine trees in the Pijnven forest. The pillars symbolize the straight trunks of the pine trees and is a nod to the region’s mining history. The cycle bridge is an addition to the landscape that respects both nature and the region’s history.

Original article by World Landscape Architect.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley Mc Namara of Grafton architects win 2020 Pritzker Prize

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley Mc Namara of Grafton architects win 2020 Pritzker Prize

 Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara become the 47th and 48th Laureates of the Pritzker Prize and the first from Ireland. As young architecture graduates from University College Dublin they established Grafton Architects in 1978 in Dublin and together built up an impressive oeuvre of over forty years that the Pritzker jury recognises as a consistent service to humanity as evidenced through a body of built work. The Jury appreciates the Laureates “For their integrity in their approach to both their buildings, as well as the way they conduct their practice, their belief in collaboration, their generosity towards their colleagues, especially as evidenced in such events as the 2018 Venice Biennale, their unceasing commitment to excellence in architecture, their responsible attitude toward the environment, their ability to be cosmopolitan while embracing the uniqueness of each place in which they work, for all these reasons and more, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are awarded the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize.”

 The architects combine a unique mastery of human scale proportions with a conscious dialogue between internal and external. Their native Ireland informs an acute sensitivity to geography, changing climates and nature in each of their building locations. With their work they challenge the question of how to build in a world with over half of its population living in urban conditions of whom many cannot afford luxury. Shelley McNamara illustrates: “Architecture is a framework for human life. It anchors us and connects us to the world in a way which possibly no other space-making discipline can.” Farrell continues, “At the core of our practice is a real belief that architecture matters. It is a cultural spatial phenomenon that people invent.”

Original article on Archello.

Pretty Plastic shingles made from recycled PVC windows and gutters are

Pretty Plastic shingles made from recycled PVC windows and gutters are "first 100 per cent recycled cladding material"

A new range of facade cladding tiles made of recycled PVC construction waste, designed by Dutch studios Overtreders W and Bureau SLA, has been used on a permanent building for the first time. Called Pretty Plastic, the designers claim the product is the "first 100 per cent recycled cladding material" in the world.

The first permanent building to be clad in the hanging tiles, a school music pavilion in the Netherlands, was completed by Dutch studio Grosfeld Bekkers Van der Velde Architecten in January. Grey diamond-shaped shingles are made from shredded PVC building products such as window frames, downspouts and rain gutters. They are hung in overlapping rows from a single screw.

First developed in 2017, the tiles received fire approval in class B (very difficult to burn) last year, allowing them to be used as a cladding material on external facades.

"Apart from bio-based materials, genuine 100 per cent sustainable cladding materials hardly exist," says Peter van Assche of Bureau SLA. "Pretty Plastic is the first facade material made from 100 per cent upcycled plastic waste as far as we know."

Original article on Dezeen.

MVRDV and Airbus Integrate Air Mobility into Urban Environments

MVRDV and Airbus Integrate Air Mobility into Urban Environments

MVRDV in collaboration with AirbusBauhaus LuftfahrtETH Zurich, and Systra, is developing a plan for the future of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The investigation tackles the integration of “flying vehicles” into our urban environments and envisions a comprehensive mobility concept. According to the designers, “the key to unlocking this potential lies largely in vertiports, landing hubs that integrate the aerial network with the existing and future ground transportation system”. Just like a traditional transportation structure, vertiports have stations, but unlike other systems, the network does not require any linear infrastructure in between. The flexible concept allows “designers to adapt the vertiports to a variety of different locations”, creating better connections, especially in disadvantaged and remote areas of cities without the need for expensive infrastructure. “As cities become denser and technologies improve, it becomes increasingly clear that the truly three-dimensional city – one that includes flying vehicles – is surely one of the city models of the future… a city where my mobility is at my balcony!” says Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV

Original article by ArchDaily.

Studio Vural imagines off-the-grid Dune House for Cape Cod

Studio Vural imagines off-the-grid Dune House for Cape Cod

Architecture practice Studio Vural has envisioned a seaside holiday dwelling that is carved into sand dunes and operates without relying on public utilities.

 Dune House is designed for a coastal site in Wellfleet, a small hamlet located on the hook-shaped peninsula of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

After years of studying the local climate, landscape and architecture, Selim Vural was approached by a New York City real estate developer seeking to build a personal holiday house on the beach. Vural conceived a two-storey, self-sufficient dwelling that is carved into sand dunes. He calls it "subtractive architecture".

"Since the house is only recognisable from sea as a circle with a cut, it blends seamlessly with nature," Vural said. "The shoreline silhouette remains unchanged – the house is immersed, not imposed."

 The home is designed to be anchored to the site via deep piles and the windows are designed to be storm-resistant. In the scheme, a significant portion of the dwelling is blanketed with native plants that help "sponge up" carbon emissions. 

Bee Hive Allows You to Save the Bees From Your Own Backyard

Bee Hive Allows You to Save the Bees From Your Own Backyard

 If you’re a fan of saving the bees or just looking to add a new hobby to your repertoire, have a look at this collaboration between Loll Designs and Lake Superior Honey Co. Their take on a classic beehive, which is appropriately named Bee Hive, adds a dose of thoughtful modernism with a cause to your backyard.

 After two years of extensive testing, that took into account the needs of bees and beekeepers, the recycled HDPE (high density polyethylene) Bee Hive is ready to go. Supporting performance, usability, and style, there are a lot of fantastic features to make note of. Intuitive ventilation, a lockable flat roof, tall legs for better ergonomics, and a sturdier box for the internal wood frames are a few that you’re likely to notice first. The Bee Hive uses 9⅛” wood frames, has an internal separator to accommodate growing colonies, and its non-porous dense plastic is easy to clean. It’s also weather resistant, features an adjustable door, and has three sliding ventilation bars. Match Loll’s Bee Hive to your outdoor aesthetic with your choice of white, driftwood, blue, green, and orange colour options.

Original article on DesignMilk.

Can robots fill the skills shortage in the construction industry?

Can robots fill the skills shortage in the construction industry?

The construction industry is increasingly exploring the use of robots to speed up work and alleviate skills shortages. But where could this lead?

  GlobalData’s construction journalist Luke Christou explored the future of robotic construction. Christou says: “The use of single-task robots (STR) in the construction industry has been growing for some time. The use of robotics in construction dates back to 1970s Japan. As young workers turned their back on manual labour in favour of less dangerous and physically demanding office jobs, Japan’s largest architecture, engineering and construction companies turned to automation and robotics in an attempt to stem a labour shortage.

“Many of these technologies failed to break ground, and construction’s labour issue persists. According to Turner and Townsend’s 2019 International Construction Market survey, 66% of construction markets globally report a shortage of skills.

“Labour shortages is just one of many issues that the construction industry faces, however. Lacking worker safety is another pressing issue, with construction the leading industry for workplace fatalities in many parts of the world. The industry seems largely in agreement that these significant advancements will first focus on removing humans from dangerous tasks. Automation is also likely to take over the tedious tasks, freeing up time for labourers to complete more fulfilling work.

“Companies such as Built Robotics are developing solutions to solve the labour crisis. The construction robotics company has developed an AI guidance system that can be fitted to heavy equipment, enabling it to operate autonomously and reducing the need for human workers.”

Erol Ahmed, director of communications for Built Robotics, tells GlobalData: “There is a huge demand and backlog of construction work that can’t be built — think roads, solar and wind farms, energy pipelines, levees and homes — because we don’t have enough skilled workers entering construction. The tasks that are the most dangerous, most repetitive, or most remote are the tasks likely to become automated to keep construction workers safer and allow them to focus on more complex and skilled labour.”

However, Stuart Maggs, CEO of Scaled Robotics says: “The end goal has to be not just automating tasks that human beings can do, but developing new construction manufacturing methods that are only possible through robotics, opening up new possibilities for building design and performance.”

Original article on UK Construction.

Clavel Arquitectos reveals longest cantilevered swimming pool in Europe

Clavel Arquitectos reveals longest cantilevered swimming pool in Europe

Clavel Arquitectos has released a film of its founder Manuel Clavel swimming in a 42-metre-long pool that cantilevers from a casino complex under construction in Murcia, Spain. The swimming pool, which will form part of the Odiseo casino and leisure complex, cantilevers 20 metres on each side of central supports. According to Clavel Arquitectos this makes it the longest overhanging pool in Europe.

Studio founder Clavel Rojo took the first swim in the pool to mark the completion of its construction. "We looked to the tradition whereby the creator has to test first his own creation," he told Dezeen. "Obviously the structure is totally safe but definitely there was some reluctancy to be the first to try it," added Clavel.

When complete, the swimming pool will be located within an elevated forest that is being built as part of a leisure complex. The forest, which will be enclosed by a latticework of pipes to help shade the plants, will stand on top of the three-storey building that will contain a casino, as well as a nightclub and restaurants.

Original article by Dezeen.

Entry for the 2021 APL Awards is now open!

Entry for the 2021 APL Awards is now open!

They're looking for projects that show technical and horticultural excellence. You need to demonstrate disciplined construction methods with a quality finish whilst giving value for money. Show them how you’ve used your imagination to overcome any construction or site issues and where you’ve gone the extra mile to ensure complete customer satisfaction. Awards will go to the entries which show attention to detail, technical excellence and an overall level of quality.

Please read the Entry Guide before completing the form, for detail on the categories and a handy checklist for preparing you entry so that you have everything you need. Click here to download the 2021 Entry Guide

Entries closes on Friday 15 May 2020. Your entry must be completed by this date - this includes submitting of all documents and images requested below. Cost of entry is £65.00 + VAT per entry before 27 March 2020 (after the 27 March the price will increase to £70 + VAT per entry). To enter complete the following form as fully as possible.

Original article on HTA.

2020 Serpentine Pavilion to be made from recycled brick

2020 Serpentine Pavilion to be made from recycled brick

An all-woman team from Counterspace in Johannesburg has been chosen to design the 2020 Serpentine Pavilion.

  The Pavilion in Kensington Gardens will be built using both innovative and traditional building techniques, including the K-Briq made from 90% recycled construction and demolition waste that have a tenth of the carbon emissions of normal bricks. It will also employ cork supplied by Amorim.

This year, in its 20th anniversary year, the pavilion will include moveable small parts that will be displaced to neighbourhoods across London. Following community events at the location, the parts will then be returned to the structure, completing it over the summer.

The lead designer on the project, Sumayya Vally of Counterspace, said: "The pavilion is itself conceived as an event – the coming together of a variety of forms across London over the course of the Pavilion's sojourn. 

"Places of memory and care in Brixton, Hoxton, Hackney, Whitechapel, Edgware Road, Peckham, Ealing, North Kensington and beyond are transferred onto the Serpentine lawn. Where they intersect, they produces spaces to be together."

Original article on CIAT.

Over 1,500 local people now working at Elephant Park

Over 1,500 local people now working at Elephant Park

 Over 1,500 local people now have jobs at Elephant Park, a £2.3bn regeneration project taking shape in south London. The figure was announced by Lendlease, the Australian property and infrastructure business, which is delivering the landmark project in partnership with Southwark Council.

Around 3,000 new homes as well as new restaurants, shops and a new park are being delivered at the 28-acre development. Lendlease confirmed it had reached the milestone jobs figure as the Office for National Statistics also announced its latest employment figures for the UK.

The milestone figure at Elephant Park contributes towards Southwark Council’s aim of becoming a full employment borough, where everybody has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Lendlease and Southwark council jointly established a Construction Skills Centre at Elephant Park three years ago, which has played a major part in helping local residents secure jobs on the development and provides construction skills training to over 2,000 people every year.

   Having the Centre at Elephant Park allows the students to train in the heart of a major regeneration site and gain practical, first-hand experience of the industry. The project has also provided the opportunity for hundreds of previously unemployed local residents to gain employment at Elephant Park through BeOnsite, Lendlease’s award-winning not-for-profit organisation.

BeOnsite provides in-house expertise and a proven vehicle for the direct delivery of social impact employment programmes that support people who face the greatest barriers in accessing employment. To date, BeOnsite has employed 329 local residents, leading positive change in each person and helping them achieve their potential.

Original article on Public Sector Building News.

Lunar Life: Planning Underway for a Moon Village

Lunar Life: Planning Underway for a Moon Village

Science fiction writers have long envisioned people living on the moon, perhaps in underground chambers. For the past two years, the European Space Agency (ESA) has been trying to figure out how to make a permanent settlement happen sometime after 2050. With the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM), they have honed conceptual plans and designs for a self-sufficient Moon Village at the rim of the Shackleton Crater on the Moon’s south pole.

Within the sections of the crater that never receive light, there is ample ice that can be harvested to create breathable air and rocket propellant for transportation. The village itself would be set on the rim of the crater, which receives light nearly all lunar year. The development would rely on the sun to generate energy and grow food.

NASA hopes to return astronauts to the Moon in 2024 with its Artemis mission, but this time send them to the South Pole, perhaps to scope out the best real estate.

Original article on The Dirt.

Asia Pacific Architecture Festival Will Explore The Theme Of

Asia Pacific Architecture Festival Will Explore The Theme Of "Water" On March 7-20, 2020 In Brisbane

 The 2020 Asia Pacific Architecture Festival will explore the theme of “Water.” We each have a relationship with water, as an identity or a memory, but first and foremost as a necessary resource. 

The 2020 Asia Pacific Architecture Festival will be held between March 7-20, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia

The festival will deliver an exciting program of exhibitions, installations, symposia, lectures and workshops that promote and celebrate architecture’s pivotal role in the culture, sustainability and economy of the Asia Pacific region.

In a time of great environmental challenges, water plays a significant role in the growth of urban and rural regions. With current affairs in mind, the 2020 festival will showcase leading architects, designers and planners, and their innovative responses to water across the Asia Pacific region. 

Original article by World Architecture.

A new Green Vision for the Low Line - RIBA competition winner announced

A new Green Vision for the Low Line - RIBA competition winner announced

 Better Bankside, the Low Line Steering Group and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have selected PDP London Architects' 'Low Line Commons' as the winner of the international competition to develop an ecological vision for the Low Line.

Following the path forged by the railway viaducts through Bankside, London Bridge and Bermondsey, the Low Line stretches through some of London’s oldest neighbourhoods, connecting communities and offering a distinct perspective on an immensely well-known but ever-evolving part of town. The Low Line will open up a walkway that runs along the base of the viaducts to create a new spine, supporting breathing spaces and a flourishing mix of small and medium sized businesses. 

Nature is fundamental to the project; it will create accessible new green connections, and incorporate a variety of ecological interventions, helping to improve local air quality and create a healthier environment. It proposes a sustainable drainage system using ecological engineering methods, such as bioswale planting and street-level rain gardens, to avoid surface flooding and store water. The project features increased green infrastructure – tree planting, community gardens and wildlife habitats – to help create a ‘sense of place’ for the community and encourage more people to visit the Low Line.

Original article on The Low Line.

San Jacinto Square’s Urban Renewal | Ciudad de México, Mexico

San Jacinto Square’s Urban Renewal | Ciudad de México, Mexico

 Located in the heart of San Angel, Mexico City, for centuries San Jacinto Square has been one of the most relevant commercial and social spaces in the area. Recently, architect Alejandro de la Vega Zulueta developed and implemented a renovation and rejuvenation project for the public square. The project was commissioned by the INAH [National Institute of Anthropology and History], Mexico’s top authority in the investigation and preservation of cultural heritage. INAH documents and plans indicate that the original design of the square dates back to the 16th century. The only remaining original element of the plaza is its layout. The resulting new look for Plaza San Jacinto is guided by the concepts of aesthetic and design unification, artistic process, and defining the purpose of public spaces.

 With today’s landscape of artists, picnickers, strollers, lovers, and much more, a project that didn’t consider those demographics would make no sense. So, while respecting the history and significance of the Plaza, Alejandro de la Vega’s vision of today’s public usage of the square is what provides the project’s true value. 

Original article by World Landscape Architect.

Grimshaw releases visuals of Eden Project Foyle with thatched centrepiece

Grimshaw releases visuals of Eden Project Foyle with thatched centrepiece

Grimshaw, the studio behind the Eden Project in Cornwall, has designed an ecological resort in Northern Ireland that will feature a thatched play area and treetop walkways. Commissioned by environmental charity Eden Project International, the Eden Project Foyle will be built on a 100-hectare site on the bank of the River Foyle in Derry that is currently inaccessible. It will contain a mix of nature-focused attractions designed by Grimshaw, and centre around The Acorn – a giant play area made of thatch and timber.

Eden Project Foyle is set for completion by 2023 in collaboration with local charity Foyle River Gardens. Once complete, the Northern Ireland outpost will contain a number of sanctuaries and enclosures, alongside gardens for local produce and nature-based play areas. All of these facilities will be linked by a playful landscape of tree-top walkways, rope bridges, slides, zip-wires and pathways that extend down into the river. Its centrepiece, The Acorn, will be built using timber and thatch to evoke Neolithic architecture. This is hoped to ensure that the building is light and low-carbon, reflecting Eden Project International's main ambition to help create a sustainable future.

Eden Project International is now looking to secure funding for the project. The project is hoped to mirror the impact as the original Eden Project in Cornwall and generate 62 million pounds for the regional economy annually by welcoming 400,000 visitors each year.

Original article by Dezeen.

Interview with Kotchakorn Voraakhom: How to Live with Water

Interview with Kotchakorn Voraakhom: How to Live with Water

  Interview conducted at the ASLA 2019 Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego with Kotchakorn Voraakhom, International ASLA, is founder of Landprocess and the Porous City Network.

The 12-acre Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park in Bangkok, the first new park in the city in 30 years, is a model for how to design with nature. Tilted at 3 degrees, the park funnels storm water into a retention basin that can safely double in size amid heavy rains.

 How did you come up with this idea to incline the entire park?

Bangkok is a city of water but we don’t know how to drain our water. We’ve been through many floods: either disastrous flash floods or the ones that are part of our daily life in Bangkok. This happens because we don’t know where the water should go. We don’t use the canal system as it should be used. In Bangkok, it is very sad that the canal department is under the sewage department. Canals have been destroyed through urban development.

The city, along with the entire centre of the country, is flat because of sedimentation. So I wondered: how can we create a water container in the city? If you don’t have hilly topography, like in Bangkok, you create the topography and just tilt it.

  At the detention basin’s edge, there are stationary bicycles. When visitors peddle the bikes, they turn wheels that aerate the water.

The park addresses climate change and flooding in a very technical way. But at the end I wanted people to feel they can be part of the solution by just being there, peddling the water bike. The water level in the detention basin also changes. Just the physical nature of pedaling is quite direct.

As landscape architects, we work with the land. We know how these systems should function. We can teach people how to live with water again, which is much better than fearing it. Living with water is the vernacular way in Thailand. We have long had homes on stilts and floating platforms. We even have floating markets. We are used to living on the edge between land and water.

In the future, floating cities are even possible. But they are not really futuristic, as they have already happened in the past. The future is about knowing where you’re from and using that in a new context. 

Original article by The Dirt

International Garden Festival reveals designs for 2020 edition

International Garden Festival reveals designs for 2020 edition

The International Garden Festival is pleased to unveil the names of the new designers and their gardens chosen for the 21st edition of the Festival. Five new projects from South Korea, France, Montreal and Toronto have been selected to be featured at the 2020 edition of the International Garden Festival.

The new gardens will be on exhibit at Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens from Saturday, June 20 to Sunday, October 4, 2020. For its 21st edition, visitors will enjoy more than 25 gardens, each one pushing the frontiers of contemporary design and offering a unique mix of curated environments, natural experiences, horticultural staging and human creativity.

Métissages is the theme for the 21st edition and the new installations offer hybrids of colours and textures drawn from marine life, the environment and cultures from around the world. 

Five new gardens were chosen by the jury from among the 200 projects submitted.

Augmented Grounds

Corps de résonance


Forêt corallienne


Original article by World Landscape Architect.

MoDus Architects wraps Bressanone tourist office around a tree

MoDus Architects wraps Bressanone tourist office around a tree

 The TreeHugger tourist information office in Bressanone, northern Italy, features smooth concrete walls that curve around the trunk of a tree.

Designed by local studio MoDus Architects, the small building sits adjacent to the Bishop's Palace, a 13th-century villa that is one of the town's main tourist attractions.

The building is named TreeHugger, because its shape responds to a pair of established trees – the only obstacles on what would otherwise have been an empty, triangular plot.

 MoDus Architects, led by Matteo Scagnol and Sandy Attia, decided to embrace rather than avoid the trees. They wrapped the building around the tree, creating a circular cutaway in the building volume that translates to the walls. 

All glazing sits behind the concrete, sometimes close but other times far away, making it look like a glass box is enclosed within the building. The design also references the many other tourist offices that previously stood on this site.

Its open-plan ground floor contains a series of counters and seating areas, while the upper level is divided up into private offices and workspaces. There is also a basement level.

Original article by Dezeen.
MVRDV Creates A

MVRDV Creates A "3D Arboretum" For Office And Residential Building In The Netherlands

MVRDV has designed a real "Green Villa" that features a gridded "rack" system to cover the building’s entire exterior in a variety of plants. The new villa will be situated on a corner lot next to the Dommel river in the Dutch village of Sint-Michielsgestel, Netherlands. Called Green Villa, the four-storey building adopts the urban form of the neighbouring buildings, while the plant covering helps it blend into the bucolic landscape of the nearby river, fields and trees. The building creates like a "3D arboretum" and shows how a building can be also "façade-less" while building environmental concerns with real greenery. 

Encompassing a total of 1,400-square-metre area, the villa includes a 350-square-metre office space and 1,050-square-metre housing. An office space is designed on the ground floor for a real estate developer, Stein.

The project was initiated and is being developed by MVRDV’s co-architect, Van Boven Architecten, who wanted to create a landmark project for the village while also being socially conscious and environmentally progressive. The plant species are selected and placed with consideration to the façade orientation and the living functions behind, providing either privacy, shade, or views as required. A sensor-controlled irrigation system that uses stored rainwater has been incorporated into the planters, guaranteeing a year-round green facade.

Original article by World Architecture

Stefano Borei Unveils a Concept for the Ultimate Example of Sustainable and Resilient City Living

Stefano Borei Unveils a Concept for the Ultimate Example of Sustainable and Resilient City Living

From Milan-based Stefano Boeri Architetti, ‘Smart Forest City’ is an innovative concept for nature-infused, sustainable and resilient city living in Cancun, Mexico.

 Created for property developer and textile conglomerate Grupa Karim, the proposal includes the reforestation of a 557-hectare site along with a mixed-used development for 130,000 inhabitants. 

The scheme utilises the expertise of botanist and landscape architect Lauri Gatti, who has specified the more than 7,500,000 plants for the scheme – including more than 200,000 trees and over 400 different plant species in total. 

The proposal is to be entirely self-sufficient for food and energy. In order to achieve this, the proposal is surrounded by a ring of solar panels from German company Transsolar. In terms of food production, the city proposes an agricultural field belt to surround its entirely. Irrigation is proposed to come in the form of a water channel fed by an underwater maritime pipe. Water treatment is to be provided by a desalination tower.  

 Throughout, the proposed new parks, private gardens, green roof, and green façade aim to give back to nature by providing a perfect balance between the amount of green area versus building footprint. 

Original article by Archello.

Environment Bill sets out Vision for a Greener Future

Environment Bill sets out Vision for a Greener Future

Our precious natural environment will be better protected for generations to come with Thursday 30 January's introduction of a far-reaching Environment Bill.

The speedy return of the Bill to Parliament following the General Election underlines the government’s commitment to tackling climate change and to protecting and restoring our natural environment for future generations.

For the first time, the enhanced Bill will create new powers to stop the exports of polluting plastic waste to developing countries, which could prevent harmful waste from being shipped out of sight whilst boosting the UK’s domestic recycling system.

Tackling plastic pollution is just one example of where our commitments to the environment will go beyond the EU’s level of ambition and – by freeing ourselves from future changes to EU law – we will be able to lead the way at home and abroad to deliver global environmental change.

More broadly, the ground-breaking Bill will enshrine environmental principles in law and introduce measures to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive.

The Bill will include a new commitment to review the biggest developments in environmental legislation from around the world every other year. We use the findings in considering the UK’s own environmental plans.

This will work alongside a requirement for current and future Ministers to make a statement to Parliament identifying environmental impacts of all new environmental primary legislation – demonstrating the government’s ambition to be a world leader on these issues.

Original article on Government Website.

Allotments of the Future

Allotments of the Future

Long waiting lists and vacant allotments are part and parcel of the UK allotments system, with London and its high urbanisation and subsequent land pressures being one of the most critical examples.

 As the demands for private land ownership rise, so too does the value of land and with that comes the demand to utilise space once preserved for allotments for other more lucrative ventures. Be it for the production of crops, the opportunity for a ‘patch of green’ or the social cohesiveness that comes with successful allotments, the popularity is continuing to increase.

Most allotments are heavily utilised. Vacancies are few, but if there are, it is usually driven by restricted access to water supply, bad soils or flooding risks.

Is there a way to increase the value of the allotment land so that it can compete with alternate uses that vie to remove allotments in return for commercial benefit?…and importantly, is there a level of allotment activity that could be for the greater good of a city and not just the allotment ‘users’?

 The edible landscape strategy proposed by this year’s graduating Landscape Urbanism students at AA school looked at just this – the growing of food in community gardens, allotments, schools and other public spaces as part of a wider and more integrated approach to urban farming. As a means of boosting local economies, providing local jobs (including training and apprenticeships) and thousands of community volunteer opportunities, the concept of an integrated edible landscape has significant positives and certainly worthy of delving into further.

The Edible Landscape looks to provide a bridge between urban agriculture and the local economy and to empower communities on multiple fronts. Using the Lewisham borough in London as their project testing ground, the edible landscape proposes the transformation of existing allotments and adjacent school and community lands into a diverse agriculture model.

This clever interactive tool has an end game though, one that is driven by a desire to support local social needs and to help build community. Through mapping the local allotment demands with that of available existing and newly repurposed lands, the tool is a guide for the council decision making when it comes to a wider social agenda around community, economy and wellbeing.

Original article on World Landscape Architect

This is How a Complex Brick Wall is Built Using Augmented Reality

This is How a Complex Brick Wall is Built Using Augmented Reality

Fusing augmented reality with the physical space, Fologram seeks to facilitate the construction of complex designs (for example, parametric designs that require a series of measurements, verification, and specific care) through digital instructions that are virtually superimposed into the workspace, directing a step-by-step guide for bricklayers during the construction process.

'Research institutions and large companies are working with industrial robots to automate these challenging construction tasks. However, robots aren’t well-suited for unpredictable construction environments, and even the most sophisticated computer vision algorithms cannot match the intuition and skill of a trained bricklayer,' stated their creators.

Fologram expects that augmented reality will gradually eliminate drawings on construction sites, avoiding errors and misinterpretations, and increasing the speed and precision of the construction process.

Original article by Archdaily

Eden Project living sculpture celebrates David Attenborough’s Seven Worlds, One Planet

Eden Project living sculpture celebrates David Attenborough’s Seven Worlds, One Planet

A new artwork celebrating Sir David Attenborough’s Seven Worlds, One Planet, has been unveiled at the Eden Project.

The sculpture focuses on the importance of biodiversity and the beauty of nature and is three metres wide. It represents the seven continents and is designed to be enjoyed by humans and wildlife alike.

The globe includes a bespoke and varied set of habitats for wildlife and was designed by BBC Creative, with author and wildlife garden expert Kate Bradbury consulting. Over winter, Eden horticulturalist Emma Gunn and her team have planted it with two types of moss and in the spring the living globe will feature a bigger range of plants.

Jonny Keeling, executive producer of the series said: “We made the Seven Worlds, One Planet series to celebrate the diversity of life on earth and highlight some of the challenges faced by wildlife on each continent. The Living Globe fits perfectly with the Eden landscape and I hope the artwork and the series are an inspiration and a reminder of how precious it is to protect the life around us.”

Original article by Gardens Illustrated

Introducing the UK's First Jungle Hotel Suites

Introducing the UK's First Jungle Hotel Suites

  The Joy of Plants team worked with designers and stylists to create London’s first jungle hotel suites, for biophilic design experiences that banish the autumn blues

At design hotel Leman Locke in hip East London, The Joy of Plants transformed three studio suites into lush, green environments with the help of biophilic designer and architect Oliver Heath, This Morning’s 'Mr Plant Geek' Michael Perry, and Nik Southern, creative designer and founder of Grace & Thorn. Each suite was hung with houseplants, carefully selected to evoke the individual rooms' themes of Productivity, Tranquil, and Romance. Together, they created three excellent examples of how houseplants can boost wellbeing, intimacy and reduce stress, and the guests who stayed in the suites had the chance of experiencing all this positivity for themselves. Lucky them!


Perfect for nomadic workers and business travellers, this suite was adorned with Boston ferns, peace lilies and snake plants, all renowned for their productivity-inducing properties. They also installed a binaural beats audio experience: it's the latest audio-based soundwave therapy designed to sharpen focus and stimulate creativity. If you're feeling peckish, then you only had to open the door to the minibar for even more plant wonders. They transformed the standard hotel offering into a plant-based fuel station, offering power snacks and even a CBD oil shot. 



This heady romantic respite was a shrine to sensuality. If you stayed the night here in the Romance Suite, you'd fall in love with the botanical canopy over the bed. It was an ode to intimacy that promised to cocoon couples in a lush green blend of cascading plants. Lying on the bed, you and your partner could enjoy the sights of the natural botanical world, relax to the sounds of their Romance playlist, sip on the suite's exclusive aphrodisiac cocktail (designed to boost feelings of romantic passion), and let all those green plant fragrances excite the senses.   



This tranquil indoor jungle was absolutely packed with tropical plants. They created an oasis of calm in the city that gives guests a forest-bathing experience without having to take even a step out of London. Featuring houseplants like bromeliads and monstera varieties from deliciosa to obliqua, this suite fully harnessed the relaxing power of plants. Guests had the chance to experience a wonderfully immersive plant-bathing soak in the tub, relax in a dedicated plant meditation space, and appreciate the deep sleep created by our clean sleep zone, filled with the world’s most air purifying plants.

Original article by the Joy of Plants

Concrete hills conceal bicycle racks in Copenhagen public plaza

Concrete hills conceal bicycle racks in Copenhagen public plaza

 Karen Blixens Plads in Copenhagen is an undulating plaza with sheltered parking for over 2,000 bicycles designed by Danish architecture firm COBE.
The 20,000-square-metre public park is situated between the University of Copenhagen and Amager Common, an area of wetlands, fields and lakes just outside of the city.

Named for noted 19th-century Danish author Karen Blixen, the square is one of the largest in the city.

The domed structures are cast concrete shells, clad with hand-laid tiles in neutral colours that match the exteriors of the surrounding buildings.

Mimicking the surrounding undulating terrain, these hollow concrete hills break up the the square and provide shelters for bicycle parking.

In total Karen Blixens Plads provides parking for more than 2,000 bicycles for the university’s students and staff.

Alongside Amsterdam, the Danish capital is considered one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with more than 40 per cent of its population commuting to work on bicycles.

Steps cut into the sides of the larger hummocks allow the space to double as an outdoor auditorium, which can be used for concerts, performances and public events with capacity for up to 1,000 people.

"The almost cathedral-like form of the bicycle hills further offers an aesthetic experience in its own right, both when people park their bikes and when they meet at the hills for lectures, group work, concerts or Friday afternoon socialising," said Stubbergaard.

As well as providing a facility for sustainable transport, Karen Blixens Plad has planted beds to encourage biodiversity.

These areas of planting help rainwater to evaporate and, in case of heavy rainfall, supplements the nearby canal. This ability to handle stormwater should mean the square can manage in a changing climate.

COBE used simple and durable materials, with lighting and furnishings kept minimal and low maintenance.

The project was supported by the private foundation A.P Møller Fonden, which was established by Danish businessman Arnold Peter Møller, the founder of the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group.

COBE is an architectural firm founded in 2006 by architect Dan Stubbergaard. The studio has also designed a high school in an abandoned factory and the extension to Danish Red Cross headquarters.

Currently the largest underground bicycle park in the world is in Utrecht in the Netherlands. Ector Hoogstad Architecten built a three-storey bike park under the train station with room for 12,656 bicycles.

Photography is by Rasmus Hjortshøj.

Original article by Dezeen

Landscape Institute approves new CPD policy for members

Landscape Institute approves new CPD policy for members

The LI is switching to a more supportive, inclusive, fully online CPD service for members. As part of the process, a new CPD Policy will be fully in force from July 2020 in line with the new CPD year

As part of the switch to a more supportive, inclusive, fully online CPD service for members, the LI has approved a new CPD Policy that will be fully in force from July 2020 in line with the new CPD year. (The extended 2019-20 year will act as the transition to the new requirements.)

Key points include:
  • CPD year to align with LI sessional year (1 July to 30 June)
  • Minimum CPD requirement remains 25 hours per year but the nature and structure of these hours will change:
    • Members will be required devote at least 10 hours to structured, ‘formal’ learning, e.g. CPD training events (whether free or paid), webinars, workshops etc.
    • At least 5 hours per year must include climate, sustainability and resilience-related topics
  • A more supportive approach to monitoring, with 3 months’ notice to review and complete records
  • Introduction of a new Waiver Policy to allow members to apply for waivers from CPD requirements dependent upon their circumstances

Original article by Landscape Institute

Studio Fuksas Wins Competition to Design Sveta Nedelya Square in Bulgaria

Studio Fuksas Wins Competition to Design Sveta Nedelya Square in Bulgaria

The Sveta Nedelya Square Competitiion in SofiaBulgaria unveiled that the proposal presented by Studio Fuksas was selected as the winning project. 6 other international teams reached the final stage of the contest, including One Works, Maofficina, Cracknell, Studio Wilmotte, Paola Vigano, and AI Architects LLD, CLAB Architettura, Yuri Sheredega, Dina Dridze, Evgeniy Shirinyan.

Studio Fuksas believed that the redevelopment of the Sveta Nedelya Square in Sofia is a key intervention in the overall growth of the city. In order to create an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive plan­ning that integrates the Bulgarian identity, Studio Fuksas imagined an intervention that “aims to bring back to light the ex­isting Roman layout which was fragmented by the inser­tion of the contemporary infrastructure”.

"Our project challenge is to hand back this important space to the local community; an idea developed through a historical analysis from which clearly emerged the character of a place which, as far back as the Roman period, was destined to host the principal square of the city." -- Studio Fuksas

Located around the Orthodox Ca­thedral of Sveta Nedelya, the square will permit the contemporary interpretation of the two layers, the archeological one and the urban one. In fact, the architecture firm states that “the new Square will not only be an open-air museum, well-connected to the city, but also a place of social interaction, able to generate connections”. The conceptual approach of the project “finds its roots in the historical definition of the place”, using the Roman layout of the Cardo and the Decumanus as the generating elements of the space.

Original article by ArchDaily

Funding to support women’s leadership development in UK landscape

Funding to support women’s leadership development in UK landscape

A pool of scholarships are currently available for women in the UK to participate in a range of leadership development courses. Expressions of interest close on 31 January.

Women and Leadership International (WLI) is offering partial scholarships to support the development of female leaders in the UK. Programmes from 5-12 months in length, each requiring a weekly commitment of around two hours, are available for women at different management levels. Limited scholarship funding of up to £1,000 (for entry- and mid-level) and £2,500 (for advanced level) is available.

Find out more and register your interest before Friday 31 January 2020 at

A priority area for the LI’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group is to help more female members of the profession into leadership roles. LI research has found that gender balance in the landscape profession is equal at entry, but becomes progressively worse at senior levels.

WLI believes that supporting more women to rise to leadership positions in key UK sectors ‘will have tremendous cultural and economic benefits’.

Original article by Landscape Institute

Arboricultural Association 2019 General Election Response

Arboricultural Association 2019 General Election Response

It has been great to see trees so high on the political agenda during the 2019 election campaign. As the Conservative government looks to fulfil their manifesto pledge of planting 30 million trees a year, or 2.5 million per month between 2020 and 2025, the Association will be doing its best to ensure that the expertise of the arboriculture industry is utilised and that arboricultural best practice is implemented. We look forward to seeing more detail on precisely how these numbers will be fulfilled.

Plenty of new trees are of course most welcome, but the Association would urge politicians and the general public to remember some important facts. Most of the discussion about tree planting so far has been about woodland creation, but urban trees – those closest to where most people live and work – are equally as important. If urban trees are to be established successfully then qualified, experienced and accredited arboricultural professionals must play a key role. Trees must be responsibly selected, located, sourced, planted and maintained; the ‘planting’ side of things is just one element.

A focus on tree numbers should not detract from other questions: How big will these trees be? Where will they be planted? Where will they come from? Will biosecurity be properly considered? And, crucially, how will they be maintained in the future? it must be remembered that after ten years of declining budgets and support for Local Authorities the resources are hardly in place to manage what we already have. It is essential that existing urban trees are maintained, that the public sector tree officers who manage them are properly resourced and supported, and that arboriculture is recognised as a specialised, professional and valuable industry.

This moment in time represents an important opportunity to raise the public profile of arboriculture, and the Association will be offering its support to Government to assist with the technical knowledge required to ensure that the manifesto promises are delivered. There is little point in planting millions of trees if we are unable, or unwilling, as a country to properly measure, protect and maintain our existing trees and woodlands. However, there is hope. If the Government is prepared to work with our industry, recognise it as a specialist discipline and listen to the experts then together we can ensure that UK arboriculture remains a world-leading sector. The Association is ready to help.

Aga Khan Centre

Aga Khan Centre

Jodie Jones discovers the garden spaces around the new Centre in London

When it opened in the revitalised King’s Cross area of London, the Aga Khan Centre declared an intention to convey Islamic values of openness, dialogue and respect for pluralism through the architecture of its building and the design of a number of gardens, terraces and courtyards. The bright-white nine-storey building, the first in London designed by renowned Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, immediately courted attention, but the gardens represent a more intimate and introspective attraction.

There are several related gardens in the wider curtilage of the site, including the Jellicoe Garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith MSGD, scheduled to be finished in 2020, and more courtyards and terraces within the building itself. However, three individual gardens on the ninth floor of the main building encompass a representative selection of the aspirations of this ambitious project to house an academic community with provision for quiet private study and companionable sharing of ideas.

Speaking at the opening of the building in September 2018, the Aga Khan said: “This place [King’s Cross] has been shaped by many diverse influences – and among them we now welcome the rich traditions of Islamic architecture. One of those traditions – one that is appreciated by both the Islamic and the British cultures – is the special importance of the garden. We see the garden not merely as an adjunct to other constructions, but as a privileged space unto itself.”

The Garden of Light

The Garden of Light is inspired by the Islamic courtyards of Andalusia, interpreted as a space screened by white lattice panels that filter the changing light as each day progresses. It was the work of Nelson Byrd Woltz, the practice set up by Warren Byrd and Susan Nelson in 1985, now run by Thomas Woltz, who joined in 2004.

Incorporated within the latticework pattern of the walls are ribbons of calligraphy, quoting ancient Persian poetry and verses from the Qur’an. These were meticulously carved from Turkish Afyon White marble by Somerset-based specialist Medusa Stonemasonry. This garden is paved in Vidrago Light limestone, intersected by rills of Belgian Fossil limestone. The fountain is made from Breccia Damascata and Crema Nuova marble.

As befits a garden of light, at night the space is creatively illuminated to emphasise the central water feature as the focal point of the garden and wash light up the trunks of several columnar-clipped Magnolia x loebneri ‘Merrill’.

The Terrace of Discovery

The Terrace of Discovery, designed by the main project architects Maki & Associates is, essentially, a balcony with far-reaching views over King’s Cross and the London skyline. This simple space is ornamented with repeated iterations of the eight-pointed star motif, which appears on the blue and white floor tiles and on the patterned balustrade. The patterning is amplified and complexified as it is reflected in the plate glass windows of the adjoining room. Although the terrace measures just 63m2, its atmosphere is said to have been inspired by the Talar, a Persian throne and a place to address congregations.

The Garden of Life

The Garden of Life is the largest and most horticulturally significant garden within the main building. It was conceived as a classic four-part chahar bagh by Maddison Cox, the international garden designer and director of the Jardin Majorelle Foundation in Marrakech.

Following the conventions of Paradise Garden design, it is divided into four parts by water channels and paths in a layout that can be found in various iterations wherever Islamic culture has had influence, including Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, Persia and India.

Narrow raised beds accommodate a number of significant trees, including four Persian ironwoods, Parrotia persica, which produce early flowers on bare stems, have stunning autumn foliage and are perfectly at home in an English garden. These are arranged four-square around a central water feature. In addition, four fruit trees make reference to the garden as a place of sanctuary and source of succour – pear, hazelnut, quince and common medlar. These are underplanted with a combination of soft yellow and blue iris cultivars, carnations, hollyhocks and wild strawberries.

Tours of the Centre and garden can be booked via

Original article by Garden Design Journal

Greenery is often

Greenery is often "sole legitimisation" for unsustainable buildings says Céline Baumann

Plants will be used to greenwash developments until landscape architecture is given a bigger role in urban planning says French landscape architect Céline Baumann.

Baumanns whose work is one of 40 visions for the future of architecture currently on display at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, warned that plants on buildings are often a distraction from a development's less eco-friendly qualities.

Greenery is unfortunately too often used as an alibi for new developments, by wrapping buildings in green as sole legitimisation of an otherwise unsustainable project," Baumann told Dezeen.

"Green surfaces such as walls and roofs are often very high maintenance and demands a lot of water and chemicals to thrive."

Commodifying nature can lead to higher pollution

Many new developments are incorporating vertical forests, green roofs, urban farms and living walls. But unless these are deployed properly and sensitively, she said, they give little benefit – or are even actively harmful.

"Greenery is not per se ecological, and the commodification of nature can lead in fact to reduced biodiversity and higher pollution levels," said Baumann.

Ten years ago a London council was accused of wasting £100,000 on the UK's first living wall when all the plants died. The structure was designed to replace the parkland that was lost when a children's centre was built on the site, but within three years it was brown and withered.

Since then may new developments have featured green walls and roofs, as cities strive to address high levels of pollution and risks of flooding with sustainable architecture.

This trend for plant-covered buildings is ultimately positive, said Baumann.

"There's a greater awareness today on the positive impact of plants in our urban environment in term of improving air quality, reducing pollution, creating cooling island, promoting biodiversity and fostering citizen's physical and mental health," she said. "This is very encouraging."

Landscape architects must be given a bigger role

To make sure greenery is used in the right way, planting experts need to be involved in a much more significant way, not just as window dressing.

"Landscape architects today can be radical only if they are given a bigger role in city planning and new developments," said Baumann. "Their understanding of open spaces as well as of natural processes is crucial to allow the creation of more inclusive, liveable, and truly sustainable cities."

Original article by Dezeen

Belinda Cooper discovers a New York parklet that was designed to be floodable

Belinda Cooper discovers a New York parklet that was designed to be floodable

Opened May 2018, First Avenue Water Plaza is a public space and water filtration system designed by SCAPE, a landscape architecture and urban design studio based in New York. Close to the East River waterfront and built above a parking structure, the plaza forms the entrance to the new American Copper Buildings, its long central walkway connecting 36th and 35th Streets. As well as providing a haven for local residents, office workers and commuters from nearby ferry and bus terminals, the plaza is also a water defence system, channelling away excess storm and flood water, and was one of the projects that won the practice the 2019 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Architecture.

The plaza sits within a floodplain and is designed to be floodable. Its layered water-collection system defends against anticipated future storm and coastal water threats, such as another Hurricane Sandy. In heavy rains, a series of rock-lined swales around the plaza perimeter collect storm water runoff. The bioswale plants are also selected to capture and treat storm water. The swales are coupled with an underground retention system located between the plaza and the parking structure, which captures and holds water before gradually diverting it to the East River.

Original article by Garden Design Journal

WOHA creates Taiwan residential tower complex with breathable facade 

WOHA creates Taiwan residential tower complex with breathable facade 

Developer Golden Jade invited WOHA to design a mixed-use residential development in the heart of Taichung, Taiwan, with sustainability in mind. WOHA designed a building with a façade comprised of protruding balconies with trees, sky gardens and mesh screens for green creeper plants.

The façade offers sun-shading and the green buffer acts as a living interface between inside and outside. Every unit has a visual connection to greenery outside their apartment. A series of sheltered sky gardens, terraces, balconies and planters culminate in a breathable facade.

The first three levels are filled with retail spaces with 23 levels of apartments above them spread over two towers. The architects intended to create green intimate serene courtyards away from the busy street life. A biophilic environment within a high-rise context.

Original article by Archello
Classic Blue is Pantone's colour of the year for 2020

Classic Blue is Pantone's colour of the year for 2020

American colour company Pantone has chosen "universal favourite" Classic Blue, or Pantone 19-4052, as its colour of the year for 2020.

Announced 4 December, the Classic Blue colour is described by Pantone as "a reassuring presence instilling calm, confidence and connection".

"Associated with the return of another day, this universal favourite is comfortably embraced," it added.

While this year's colour Living Coral was an "animating and life-affirming", 2020's shade "brings a sense of peace and tranquillity to the human spirit, offering refuge," according to the company.

The cobalt blue hue is also said to be associated with communication, introspection and clarity. Other benefits of the hue include aiding concentration and helping to re-centre thoughts, particularly in light of technology's accelerating developments.

"A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute.

"We are living in a time that requires trust and faith," she added. "It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on."

Original article by Dezeen



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