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I love the continued trend of adding ‘green’ into Architecture – green walls, green roofs, green houses – but so far we have been pretty superficial with it. What if those plants could actually feed us instead of just looking pretty? (okay I know I know they do improve air quality and mood but still) Urban agriculture is on the rise – from home-grown rooftop gardens to large scale hydroponic growing operations – and it is a really great concept. As many people may know there is growing concern over our food supply as earth’s population continues to grow, and currently one in nine people are malnourished in the world. Creating viable growing conditions within the City seems simple enough, and swaths of roof tops seem ready for reaping the benefits of food production, however, there are a lot of considerations that have to be taken into account. There are many concerns that Architecture has to contend with; the weight of soils and plants, humidity, maintenance, and of course the key ingredient for plants but the nemesis to buildings – water.

The following projects, however, have demonstrated that urban agriculture is possible and can be incorporated and even celebrated architecturally.

Pasona Urban Farm in Tokoyo | Kono Designs

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I think this is one of the coolest examples of Urban Farming currently built – it’s an office building! The building expresses green on both the inside and on the outside with a green façade and balconies planted with fruit-bearing trees. On the inside 20% of the building’s area is dedicated to farming over 200 species of food-related plants!

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The different farming types and areas not only provide a harvest for the building’s cafeteria, but also provide educational opportunities for employees and visitors alike. Plants are even incorporated into individual rooms – for example there are board rooms with fruit trees in the ceiling! The beauty is that it is a literal and visual reminder of farm-to-table and food production which is often missing from our day-to-day lives.

Vertical Farm in Romainville, France | Ilimelgo

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This project excites me as it is an example of dedicated urban agriculture but also beautiful architecture. The Vertical Farm is a 2000 square meter facility that will be completed in 2018 that brings together farming, education, and research in one place. It provides a bridge between traditional small plot gardening and technological innovation – and gives it back to the people. The space includes a variety of fixed and hanging containers, shade and full light plots, a henhouse, orchard, and mushroom farm.

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I adore the streamlined and modern look that incorporates the collection of rainwater and operable windows, with an ode to the house and farm with the peaked roof and open courtyard design. The courtyard also provides for better penetration of light and helps to promote natural ventilation.

Home Farm in Singapore| Spark

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Home Farm is a model or concept for future (hopefully) retirement living in Southeast Asia. It combines retirement communities of multi-family living, health services, and urban farming. With the large population and soon-to-be large population of seniors the creation large high-density communities that can, in a way, be self-sustaining is desirable. There would be a mix of aquaponics systems and rooftop soil planting, as well as localized planting on balconies.

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The concept is that the urban farming would provide jobs for seniors and could be used as a payment offset for living costs. Not only is the farm functional, but it provides a pleasing, calming, and enjoyable environment for the senior residents and keeps them engaged and active!

Though urban agriculture is not necessarily an answer to world hunger it is a step in the right direction and helps to educate populations on the hard work and effort that goes into raising food and hopefully makes them more aware of how to use food and reduce waste. If buildings built in the near future start to incorporate models such as the Pasona offices, or if City projects for individual urban farms can be funded and built it would certainly help put less pressure on agriculture lands. I think it would also provide a great benefit to the well-being of building users – I certainly would be interested in assisting with maintenance in order to have access to fresh fruit and vegetables all the time!

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For more information click on the images – they are linked to the articles that they came from!

Project Visioning – Banff

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As Architects we gain inspiration from the world around us. Crafted images have become wonderful sources for our visioning process, and the internet & social media have really opened up the variety of  inspiration images available. I particularly draw from both example projects, built or not, but also from ‘lifestyle’ or ‘scenic’ images that help to create a mood. These are tools that aid us in the creation of spaces and help clients visualize the feeling of the project before the project is even produced. Typically we will print a number of these images and see how a client responds or use them to augment presentations.

Recently I have been working on a project in Banff. It is a small project, and as it is not yet complete I can’t show the designs, but I wanted to share the images we used to inspire our design.

We really focused on a more clean-lined and modern design, but that still fit into the mostly forested location that the building will be built. We had to ensure the footprint would be as efficient as possible!

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We wanted to stick with something simple in its shape, but recognizable and in a way nostalgic to the Park. Thinking along the lines of Ski Chalet, or Cabin. Also have it relate back as much as possible to existing buildings in the area.

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Of course the intent was also to blend natural materials such as stone and wood, with more modern ones (albeit still somewhat natural) such as concrete and metal. In particular I have always been fond of board-formed concrete, and it appears I may get to use it in this building!

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It has been an exciting project so far, and I look forward to having it constructed. Project Visioning is one of my favorite parts of the design process, as it fun to find beautiful images but also really interesting to see what a client likes and dislikes!

Thanks for visiting!

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Disclaimer: The images shown in this post do not belong to me, and I did not produce them. Our process typically involves google searches, pinterest, tumblr, and other such social media/media websites. The header image is from http://www.thousandwonders.net/Banff+National+Park – if an image belongs to you please let me know and I can provide credit, or delete it off this post. Thank you!

Life Lately

Well hello again! It’s only been, what, a few years since last hearing from me? Every time I took a look at my blog and the 2015 date on the last post I cringed in guilt. But at the same time, I realized perhaps I had bitten off more than I could chew at that time in my life, particularly after my now-husband proposed to me and I set about planning a wedding, getting married, and then taking my Architectural exams (which required an abhorrent amount of study time!) and finally feeling more or less settled so many years later.

In a way I feel alright about it considering I have so few followers at this point, and didn’t really have a guiding concept other than Architecture for my blog. To those who do follow me religiously (good friends and family) I apologize for my absence. But here I am again, refreshed and more-or-less with a determination to make this work and to enjoy it as an important element in my life.

I have, of late, been doing some “soul searching.” Everything in my life is great, wonderful in fact, but I miss having a bit of purpose or explore-time that being in school afforded me. Work also provides some great time for discovery, but as work should be, it is dedicated to particular goals and directions as dictated by the projects I get to work on. So I have decided to do something strictly for me, and for my future and goals – and hopefully as a product, of interest to my audience.

So, though the last time I made a post such as this and it didn’t necessarily keep me accountable, I have decided to post it anyways and make the attempt! As such, this is what you can expect from me in the near future of this blog:

  • I will continue to produce posts that I feel are relevant to Intern Architects, Architecture as a whole and the experiences I am having as a woman in the business of Architecture
  • I will be providing personal updates in a similar fashion, but more focused on my personal life and specific goals I wish to share in regards to fitness, food, and perhaps even fashion if I am feeling particularly “On-Trend”
  • I have decided to create a new series of posts termed “Design Dialogue” to expand my network and learn from my peers by conducting interviews with local Calgary entrepreneurs, up-and-coming individuals, and influencers in the design community in Calgary
  • I would also like to post about local events that I attend, and things I see around town – or whatever town I happen to be in at the time!
  • I will do my best to continue the “Thursday Three” posts as I so love doing research and finding more information about built projects, though depending on how life goes it may become a bi-weekly event
  • I will be posting inspiration images for projects I am working on, or just what I happen to be pinning or finding on IG as a way of amping up my week and getting excited about design – I’ve always loved these types of posts on other people’s blogs as a way of discovering new things
  • Finally, I am going to see if I can find some people around me who can do some guest posts, or as this blog develops link up with other bloggers for some joint posts – again I feel like this will help achieve some great networking (which I am absolutely horrible at!)

To everyone who follows me so far, I very much appreciate you taking time to read my posts and browse through my blog. Thank you for your patience, and I look forward to hearing your feedback or comments on the new stuff coming up!

 

What’s Trending February 09-15

Happy almost Valentine’s Day! Love has certainly been in the air this week for myself, I celebrated 7 years of dating with my boyfriend and tomorrow is Valentine’s. Luckily though, I haven’t gone over the top with the Valentines themed links today! Here’s what I saw trending this week:

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Cheesy Architecture Valentine’s day cards (o yes I did)

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This would be a beautiful place to get married

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What came 1st? the Chicken or the Egg? In this high-end chicken coop I doubt anyone is asking that question

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I love this cafe and bakery – it is the color palette of my room!

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Try out this geometric mouse-pad tutorial (because heaven knows architects need a good mouse-pad these days)

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I want this popcorn machine! Check out the gif!

Well that’s it – Have a good long weekend for those of you that have it!

What was Trending | January 12-18

Okay so missed the typical post day for this – but figured I’d post it anyways. Here’s what I saw trending the week of Jan 12-18!
It would be interesting if all buildings were required to be “built-in” to their surroundings
Go Green Roofs!

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Anyone else thinking this looks a lot like all his other work? (Steven Holl + check out those renderings…)

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Not sure about how realistic these are, but super dramatic images!

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An interesting take on the shipping container house – I think this is the best one I’ve seen

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Try out this geometric necklace 

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Have a good week!