Living in a greener space. Mad Architects’ Gardenhouse in California

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Living in a greener space. Mad Architects’ Gardenhouse in California

As never before, people living in cities across the world feel the need for spaces in direct contact with the natural environment, thus pushing the research of designers and real estate companies in the direction of greener urban areas, office buildings, and residential complexes.
The techniques for the construction of green facades developed over the last few decades, starting from the seminal work of French botanist and designer Patrick Blanc have been applied in many public buildings – such as the CaixaForum center in Madrid designed by Herzog and de Meuron and the Quay Branly Museum in Paris designed by Jean Nouvel.
Other experimental techniques were investigated in order to create feasible green spaces in residential buildings, such as the Vertical Forest towers by Stefano Boeri in Milan, and the Green Villa residential complex designed by MVRDV in the Netherlands.
This required to understand how to manage greenery in densely-populated urban areas, so to obtain the most in terms of aesthetics and improvement od microclimate and natural shading, while at the same time carefully selecting the plant species to use in order to keep costs, maintenance, additional structural requirements, and water consumption as low as possible.

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Gardenhouse MAD Architects’ first “American” project, recently built on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California – is an interesting interpretation of this theme.
It is a mixed-use complex, built on a corner lot, housing commercial spaces on the ground floor and 18 residential units of different types on the upper floors, all organized around a central courtyard. Inspired by the lush landscape of Beverly Hills, Mad designed the complex with the idea to evoke a sort of “hilltop village” with the pitched roofs of the residential units rising from a sequence of green walls. The ‘plant component’ of the complex is made up of vertical greenery that covers the street facades of the first and second floors, and shrubs planted in large containers, and in the open ground on the building terraces and in the common courtyard. The green walls were created by alternating succulent plants and indigenous drought-resistant vines; these species particularly suited to the local climate, thus avoiding the need for frequent irrigation and maintenance.

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above: MAD Architects, Gardenhouse, images courtesy of MAD Architects

Gardenhouse, Los Angeles, USA
2013 – 2020

Typology: Residential, Commercial
Site Area: 2,400 sqm
Building Area: 4,460 sqm
Building Height: 18m

Principal Partners in Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Associate Partners in Charge: Flora Lee, Dixon Lu
Design Team: Li Guangchong, Jon Kontuly, Joanna Tan, Chris Hung-Yu Chen, Wenshan Xie, Cesar D Pena Del Rey, Jeffrey Miner

Client: Palisades Capital Partners LLC
Executive Architect: Gruen Associates
Structural Engineer: John Labib + Associates (JLA)
MEP Engineer: Breen Engineering Inc.
Landscape Architect: Gruen Associates
Interior Design: Rottet Studio
Civil Engineering: Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
Green Wall Specialist: Seasons Landscape
General Constructor: DHC Builders, Inc


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