Bosco Verticale – vertical forest garden balconies in Milan

Congratulations to Stefano Boerion his Vertical Forest. He proclaims: ‘The first example of a Bosco Verticale composed of two residential towers of 110 and 76 meters height, will be realized in the centre of Milan, on the edge of the Isola neighbourhood, and will host 900 trees (each measuring 3, 6 or 9 m tall) […]

Chelsea Flower Show Trends 2011 – and the Chelsea Fringe Garden Show

Amongst other things, garden design an arena for fashion. This tempts the critic to look for trends and what I noticed was more an extension of previous trends than anything completely new: the visual language of sustainability is becoming stronger, with green walls and green roofs tending towards the norm there is more use of […]

Much ado about zero energy buildings

With the European Parliament mandating under the amended ‘Energy Performance of Buildings Directive’ that all new buildings are to be ‘zero energy’ by 2019 the heat is on to produce architecture and environments that contribute to more sustainable energy equations with a zero or positive bottom line. According to 2006 figures from the US Department […]

What can landscape and urban designers to to limit climate change and global warming?

Wikipedia has good entries on Global Warming and  the Greenhouse Effect. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summarizes the arguments, details the scientific data and provides a Summary for Policy Makers. The IPCC was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).   The greenhouse effect is fundamental to climate […]

Talking gardens, roses, the language of symbols, sustainability and Christianity

Garden designs can communicate with words and images – or they can continue with the silence of abstract modernism. The drift from modernism to postmodernism continues, but with little knowledge and less thought. A recent post on The Fower Sermon, recalled that the dying Buddha used a single flower to speak volumes. He also advised: […]

Designing for animal magnetism

The next generation of green roofs will be designed to ensure the survival of specific species providing much needed ecological space in the urban environment. BAM believe the next ecological objective in green roof  design is the creation of biotropes – living habitats for species such as migratory birds. While not a roof habitat exactly, Neil Oxley […]

London 2012 Olympic Village: Landscape & Garden

Here is a CGI image of London’s 2012 Olympic ‘Village’ flanked by photos of the Student ‘Village’ it is replacing. One regrets that the Trade Descriptions Act does not apply to the word ‘Village’. The Online Etymological Dictionary entry for Village has: “late 14c., “inhabited place larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town,” […]

Exploring streets ahead

It seems the Canadians have taken to promoting the idea of street orchards…which since I had been reading Great Streets by Allan Jacobs (1993) seemed a great way (with a co-operative enlightened council) of enhancing urban residential streets and providing edible opportunities for both people and fauna. It is Jacobs belief that sociability is a major reason behind […]

Richard Rogers 'Sustainable' design for Chelsea Barracks

The above image shows my drawing of a sustainable city, left, and Richard Rogers design for the Chelsea Barracks, right. The upper part of Rogers’ drawing shows Ranelagh Gardens and the site of the Chelsea Flower Show.  I am of course mildly flattered that Richard Rogers has copied my idea but would like to point […]

Great Gardens of London, Victoria Summerley – book review by Tom Turner

Good writing and good photography are real assets for garden books. Great Gardens of London was produced by a skilled investigative journalist working with two expert photographers. Victoria Summerley explains that the book is ‘aimed at residents and visitors alike’. Yes. But it is not particularly aimed at garden visitors. Or should I say ‘it is […]

The Skycourt and Skygarden by Jason Pomeroy – book review by Tom Turner

Jason Pomeroy The Skycourt and Skygarden: Greening the urban habitat Routledge 2013 ISBN-13: 978-0415636995 Jason Pomeroy studied architecture in England and now leads a design studio in Singapore. He has a special interst in above-ground greenspace and Singapore is a world-leading city in this respect: it is rich; it is very well run; it sees […]

Will Ebbsfleet be a Garden City a New Town or an overblown Housing Estate?

George Osborne, the Chancellor, has announced that the government will pump money into residential development around Ebbsfleet Station on the High Speed 1/Channel Tunnel Rail Link line. It is a suitable site for sure – or rather it was made ‘suitable’ by allowing the former Blue Circle Cement Company to excavate the land without imposing […]

Kongjian Yu – landscape architecture as an art of survival

I have praised Kongjian Yu’s work before and much enjoyed his lecture to the HGSD (above). I particularly like his advice to ‘make friends with the flood’ and to design for the ‘integration of contemporary art and ecology’. But I am having doubts about my call for him to be appointed Chief Technical Officer to […]

And/Or & Both – when more is more.

It would be unfortunate to lose the distinction between [1] garden design and [2] [3] landscape architecture much as the trend towards [4] interior architecture is actually unfortunate for [5] interior designers. The differences of focus and attention to scale provide a variety of design insights which are not replicated. Why? Because the rich tradition […]

Planning an urban landscape for London's economic and financial future

London has had many economic roles over the centuries and now hopes to settle down as a cultural capital and somewhere between ‘Europe’s financial centre’ and ‘the world’s financial centre’. This requires a planning and design response which is likely to include (1) more large green buildings, because big firms have big space requirements (2) […]

Nothing but blue skies…

Vincent Callebaut has designed what he calls an ‘anti-smog parasite project’ for the city of Paris. He says “its role is to apply all the avant garde renewable energies so as to fight against the Parisian smog.” Beyond its heroic environmental application Callebaut demonstrates some interesting architectural ideas some reminscent of Foster’s  Gherkin gone green! He also has a sensitive feel for creating […]

Canterbury Cathedral and the social use of cloister gardens in English monasteries

Canterbury Cathedral has beautiful cloisters. They were rebuilt in the fifteenth century on the site of the eleventh century cloisters built by Archbishop Lanfranc (c. 1005–1089) for Christ Church Canterbury. Lanfranc was born in Pavia (Italy) and brought to England by William the Conqueror. A water system was installed and a plan of the cloister […]