Save politics, air seems to be the issue on everyone’s mind these days. From global climate change to carbon sequestration and offsets – air quality is a significant urban landscape feature. Buildings, and landscapes (alongside appropriate technology) can be a part of the solution, in addition to being less of a part of the problem.
For instance, the City of Chicago touts it’s natural landscaping program for better air quality, and lists many tangible benefits. We have covered some of the ‘Carbon Question’ here previously, and the ideas that plants and more particularly, soils, are major players in the quest for neutrality. Green roofs and other vegetated architecture strategies help with air quality and urban heat island impacts on the exterior of buildings.
Indoors, the growth and popularity of interior living walls make them a viable strategy for creating better environments. The well publicized and tested green wall at the University of Guelph has shown tangible results in breaking down indoor air contaminants through microbial action. The added benefit, it looks great as well.
:: image via University of Guelph
At a landscape scale, how does this get realized. An amazing recent project that has appeared in multiple forms is the press recently is the winner of the 2004 ‘Eco Boulevard‘ competition held by the Madrid Municipal Housing Corporations Residential Innovation Office. Entitled the ‘Air Tree’, by ecosystema urbano. Periodically, there have been some pics and basic coverage, but recently the process and detail was recently well-covered in Architecture.MNP and it definitely is an amazing project and idea.
I don’t normally include millions of image of one project, but much like a train wreck, i cannot avert my eyes from this project. Enjoy:
:: images via Inhabitat
:: image via G-Living
The overall concept is one where the recyclable ‘structures’ are the catalyst and attractions for the project. As the plantings mature, the pavilions will be dismantled, which will create voids in the canopy of the surrounding trees.
These structures will act as trees, providing canopy shade and conditioning of the surrounding microclimate. This function, quoted from Greenline: “…[there are] simple air conditioning systems installed in the air tree. They are evapotranspirators. This is a natural way to air condition a space, not a part of commercial strategy. Rather, it creates naturally conditioned spaces between 8-10°C cooler than the surrounding streets where the residents can take active part in the public domain.”
:: images via Architecture.MNP