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The Green Dip: Covering the City with a Forest

Jul 5 – Jul 15, 2019
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Research Question
Introducing a new relationship with “Nature” in our cities is one of the emerging trends of twenty first century urbanism, yet there is little agreement about how urban life & nature are to be designed, planned and managed. Having overcome the antagonism between rural producers and urban consumers, we want to search for new pacts between city and nature. We believe green is much more than an aesthetic alibi, much more than a passive response to the occupation of territory. We believe that ecological principles can be an active substrate for the construction of a fertile -yet dense-urban form. It is therefore necessary that nature and its production capacity be incorporated into the programming of the city and the design of the built fabric.
Methodology

Green Planet

In order to critically look at greening solutions for cities, we want to approach the greening controversy by looking at the planet as a whole. Indeed, the different climates provide with some specific environmental conditions for native species to grow.

For this part of the workshop, we have selected 14 cities, covering a vast array of world climates. We will look at the density, climatic conditions and more specifically, at the native flora in those regions. In order to give an overview of those different climates, we will propose a common template for comparison.

Students will produce a catalogue of the representative native flora. For each species, students will gather data about their needs (dimensions, volume of soil needed, weight, water consumption, daylight hours, season, maintenance, estimation on investment and running costs) and environmental benefits (air pollution removal, air temperature reduction, ultraviolet radiation reduction, carbon storage, pollen, building energy conservation, wind reduction, stream flow reduction, evaporation, water storage, estimation on financial profits).

Green Buildings

What are the existing and future solutions for implementing vegetation in buildings? During this part, we will look at rooftops, facades, balconies, and the ground levels, as potential solutions. What is the impact of planting a specific species on those building parts? This exercise will systematically explore the implementation of precise species on different urban forms.

We’ll explore a collection of different urban forms. From blocks, towers, slabs, courtyards, urban villas, row houses, street, public space, we develop tools and methods to evaluate this impact.

This part of the workshop will be supported by a series of calculations aiming to measure the impact of covering cities with green in different climates. It aims to develop a method to calculate the environmental benefits and estimates the costs of ‘greening’ our cities. This exercise will be supported by a series of tools. Students will be introduced to Grasshopper and Rhinoceros 3D in order to develop a comparative model and catalogue of solutions.

Green Cities

Visions are not just mere collages. They require precision, critical and visionary thinking. They are a tool to illustrate the impact of different scenarios.

During the last part of the workshop, students will produce a series of Photoshop images exploring the greenification of 14 cities with different species. Each student will produce five beautiful images, testing the implementation of five different species on a specific city. This will lead to a collection of 70 beautiful images. Some support will be provided in order to introduce some specific Photoshop technics.

At the Why Factory, research and education are blended. Therefore, the studio or workshop is a place for the development of a collective research. Students work at the same time individually and collectively. Some collective template are provided in order to facilitate the collective and comparable production. Besides, some ‘experts’ will be named depending on the skills, curiosity, focus and interest of everyone. Ecological services expert, database expert, Photoshop expert, Grasshopper 3d expert, template and presentation expert, economic expert, etc…

Output and Findings

In this study we want to explore the pros and cons of the green controversy. 40 cities will be selected to show how we can cover roofs, terraces, balconies and even walls and facades with plants. A study that will be based on a selection of building types, such as a residential tower, a soccer stadium and a theatre/museum.

For each of these types the following questions will be answered:
- What species can grow?
- How much soil do they need?
- How much water do they need and how much can they store?
- How much evaporation and cooling do they provide with?
- How much maintenance do they need?
- What are the effect of sun and wind orientation?
- What is the impact of height?
- What do they contribute to the biodiversity of the city?
- How much does planting cost?

And importantly: how will these buildings look like? And in the end, how will the city look like?

The result of these studies will be an atlas of potentials.

Finally, we will calculate the outcome of covering built matter with this new nature: - How much the temperature in the city can drop?
- How much oxygen can be produced?
- How much CO2 can be captured and stored?
- How much water can be stored?
- How much birds can be offered a life and habitat?

Other 2019 workshops

2019 Workshop - Honolulu, Hawaii
Urban Data: Parking in the Ala Moana Neighborhood and its Impact on Mobility
Honolulu, Hawaii
Aug 19 – Aug 30, 2019
2019 Workshop - Beirut, Lebanon
Al Makassed, Beirut Islamic Society of Benevolent Intentions, A Patron of Modern Architecture
Beirut, Lebanon
Jul 16 – Aug 2, 2019
2019 Workshop - Zurich, Switzerland
FAST FORM/WORK : Casting a Sustainable Future
Zurich, Switzerland
Jun 30 – Jul 21, 2019
2019 Workshop - Havana, Cuba
Sustainable Building Renovation in the Tropics
Havana, Cuba
Jun 17 – Jun 27, 2019
2019 Workshop - Circular Cities, London, UK
Circular Cities
London, UK
Jun 11 – Jun 16, 2019
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