STUDIO CONCEPT By Richard Hindle

Horticultural Building Systems find their origin in early European sodden roofs, glasshouses, orangeries, ivy clad facades, espaliers, trellises, and have evolved through time to include modern greenhouses, engineered green roofs, living walls, bio-domes, sculpture, bioreactors, and cryogenic preservation chambers. For the purpose of this studio a horticultural building systems is understood as the instance where vegetation and an architectural system exist in a mutually defined, and intentionally designed relationship, that supports plant growth and an architectonic concept.

The rise of horticultural building systems in speculative and built architecture leaves many questions unanswered as each new site becomes a new experiment, with diverse variables from species selection to microclimate, substrates, architectural nuances, project scheduling, and design of horticultural system. A disparity exists between the ubiquity of “green” or vegetative building systems in architectural proposal, and what is actually known about the design, construction, and longevity of these systems. Currently, innovation for horticultural building systems like green roofs and living walls is almost entirely dependent on research and development made by private companies and individuals protected by patent.

This studio course brings the innovative potential of horticultural building systems into the realm of the university, where primary research and unfettered creativity can merge in an open format. This class is an experiment into the potential to hybridize landscape, architecture, and product design. It is also an experiment into the nature of horticultural building systems of which there are few answers, only questions.