Extreme green houses. Not all of these are for our climate; these houses take green building to extremes.
Some architects, such as Sean Griffiths, say things I think living walls have become a substitute for having any ideas when they are talking about the recent widespread use of plants in architecture. Not landscape architecture, mind you, but full –tilt I’m gonna build me a house- architecture. This could have to do with his very obvious and well thought out reasoning such as a lack of consideration for how the plants will get their light, the weight on walls, to even how they will re-seed themselves! Mr. Griffiths makes a good point, but there is a flip-side to this amazing use of nature in architecture.
On the other side of the spectrum reigns architects from the extreme school of thought such as Vo Trong Nghia based out of Ho Chi Mign City, Vietnam who happened to win the 2012 House Category at the World Architecture Festival for this concept of natural ventilation, air purification and heat reduction based on the use of vertical walls of plants. These walls were not only beautiful and elegant, but introduced an element of purification and a reduced reliance on power and resources in a city known for its frequent power outages and shortage of energy. Vo Trong Nghnia’s plan was simple. He would put walls of plants on shelving like planters across the north and south facing walls at varying levels depending on the growth structure of the specific plants with a thin amount of window glazing (sort of acting as a terrarium) and a well that drafts and pulls the naturally purified air through the core of this home, which is capped off with a green, or living roof. The living roof also acts as a natural sound insulator and protector for the elements as well. This home is a perfect example of a extreme architecture that takes sustainability to a new level perfect for a humid, tropical climate! Photos of this project are via Dezeen.
In Toronto, a meadow home takes living in a living home into another direction entirely. This home doesn’t have the living walls, but an entire living roof that insulates and protects the home almost as if the home was built like a 1930’s central-plains dug-out. The design is like atomic-ranch met the Jetson’s and had a party with the Brady Bunch, but then some hipsters came along and chilled everything out. The home not only has been built into a hill and sort of melds into the landscape, but also has ground-sourced, or geo-thermal heating and cooling, which make this home even more efficient. Architect, Ian MacDonald set up the periscope windows with the perfect concept of cross-ventilation in mind. This home in Canada is thousands of miles and climate zones away from Ho Chi Minh city, but the idea is still the same, utilize the plants to make a home more insulated from the elements. Photos of this home are via architecture-view.
Next time, we’ll talk about what we can do in our area to utilize plants in our homes, since Vo Trong Nghnia’s concept is a bit too humid-climate zone for us, and Ian MacDonald’s design plan is pushing for a meadowland. What kind of extreme green homes can be built in a mixed humid climate?