Awesome Vertical Garden With Recycled PET Bottles At Poor Family Home In Sao Paulo

July 26, 2011

Brazilian design studio Rosenbaum collaborates with TV show Caldeirao do Huck in a segment called Lar doce lar (Home Sweet Home), which helps families in need re-designing their homes to improve their lives and self-esteem.

In its latest work for a family living in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, the firm included this neat vertical garden made from recycled PET bottles.

Although the idea is cool in itself, it's so much better knowing that it's part of a project to improve the lives of three women (mother and two daughters) that live in a one bedroom home with an income of 200 Reais (130 US Dollars) a month.

Putting together an urban farm was not the designer's whim either: the women already had an eco conscience and grew in small containers made from recovered food packaging.

The arrangement is of course thought for vegetables that don't take a lot of space to grow, like spices and medicinal herbs.

Its structure is pretty self-explanatory from the pictures, but the response from the public was so positive that the designer published a little tutorial showinghow to cut and hang the bottles.

The whole design for the house is gorgeous, more pics of the reformed kitchen, room and living room can be seen at the designer's website.

Just like mentioned in my previous article about Adobe for women, it's encouraging to see designers' skills used for these types of purposes instead of focused in creating more stuff.

Jargon Watch: Vertical Gardens vs Vertical Farms vs Living Walls vs Green Façades

August 3, 2010

In his post New Vertical Garden Comes to Spain's San Vicente , Alex wrote "Vertical gardens are here to stay." Our editor in chief wondered if there was a contradiction here with our post yesterday Fix Our Horizontal Farms Before We Go Vertical, where I questioned the merits of vertical farming.

Le Mur Végétal, or plant wall, by Patrick Blanc at Quai Branley Museum. Image: Lloyd Alter

I pointed out that vertical farms, designed for food production, were a very different thing from living walls, which I thought Alex incorrectly called a vertical garden. But he is not alone; we did it in Madrid Gets a Vertical Garden Too and Ugly Cooling Tower Gets Vertical Garden Makeover in Spain. (Interestingly, all Spanish projects)

Living Walls

Properly, these Spanish projects installations should probably be called "living walls" rather than vertical gardens. Vancouver landscape architect Randy Sharp explains in Azure:

Green walls come in two main varieties, ac­cord­ing to Vancouver landscape architect Randy Sharp. His firm, Sharp & Diamond, designed the Vancouver Aquarium's 50-square-metre green wall of polypropylene modules filled with wildflowers, ferns and ground covers. A leading expert on "vegetated building envelope systems," Sharp divides these installations into green facades, where a structure fastened to the wall provides a trellis for vines and climbers planted in the ground or in containers; and the newer living walls, where a modular grid of wall pan­els - complete with live plants, a conventional soil or layered-felt growing medium, an irrigation and nutrient-delivery system, and a support structure - is attached to the building.

Patrick Blanc, the botanist who popularized the living wall, calls it Le Mur Végétal, or Plant Wall. It is usually fed by hydroponics and often uses no soil at all.

Holiday Houses in Jupilles by Édouard François

Green Façades

As noted by Sharp above, green facades have their roots in the ground and do not require pumps or technology to keep them alive. Édouard François has built a number of these; see Visiting Architect Édouard François In Paris

Harvest Green: Vertical Farm by Romses Architects wins Competition

Vertical Farms

Vertical Farms are, according to Dr Dickson Despommier, urban highrises devoted to producing food. He writes in an essay:

One vertical farm with an architectural footprint of one square city block and rising up to 30 stories (approximately 3 million square feet) could provide enough nutrition (2,000 calories/day/person) to comfortably accommodate the needs of 10,000 people employing technologies currently available.

All of these terms are pretty clear; the term "Vertical garden" is not, as gardens can be used either for ornamental, decorative purposes or for food production. Perhaps the term should be retired.

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