Jill Fehrenbacher

GARDEN SPOTS: Renegade air gardening for NYC

by , 06/19/08

International Design Awards, iDA New York, Todo Design New York, Das Studio New York, iDA Architecture, iDA Land & Sea Competition, iDA Land & Sea competition New York, urban gardening, urban green space, urban gardening New York

Any of us who live in NYC know its not always the ‘greenest’ place – at least when it comes to flora and fauna and botanical spaces. Thats why we are enamored with TODO Design and DAS Studio‘s urban design proposal to take over New York City billboards and greenify them with living air gardens. These forward-thinking designers were recently awarded first place in the iDA Land & Sea Competition for their brilliant Garden Spots – an idea to green our gritty urban landscape by seeding gardens on the flip sides of commercial billboards.

International Design Awards, iDA New York, Todo Design New York, Das Studio New York, iDA Architecture, iDA Land & Sea Competition, iDA Land & Sea competition New York, urban gardening, urban green space, urban gardening New York, ida_4.jpg

Unlike the inhabitable buildings which comprise the New York City skyline, the structural silhouettes of commercial billboards populate the city’s horizon, indifferent to any use other than transmitting paid advertisements. The creative teams at TODO and Das proposed to make use of these otherwise barren structural resources by seeding them with oxygen-producing, solar-powered, local flora and fauna — making the local landscape a bit friendlier and greener for us all.

Billboards are designed as monological messages aimed at a target audience zipping past in cars in a defined direction, such as a one way street. As the flip sides of the billboards are not designed to market to a pedestrian or community scaled audience, often appearing as blight on the landscape. Garden Spots proposes to exploit them to provide gardens in the sky, a place for nature to take root and to provide relief to the community.

International Design Awards, iDA New York, Todo Design New York, Das Studio New York, iDA Architecture, iDA Land & Sea Competition, iDA Land & Sea competition New York, urban gardening, urban green space, urban gardening New York

Their proposal encourages dialogue with local residents without interfering with the target, drive-by audience, at the same time that it greens the city. These gardens will work to offset the carbon footprint of the passing vehicles. The design team considers the proposal akin to planting an urban tree, except that these gardens will allow for a diversity of planting that can be tailored to local fauna and climate.

Designed around self-sustaining technologies with photovoltaic panels powering the automated drip irrigation system fed from the base of the billboard towers, the gardens will require limited management once established and can be monitored in clusters from a centralized location via wireless technology.

+ iDA: International Design Awards

+ TODO Design
+ DAS Studio

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5 Comments

  1. brad cownover July 9, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I applaud creative ideas rooted (no punn intended) in sustainable practices that provide multiple benefits, such as the ones this design promises to provide. I\’m also glad that creative people are out there recognizing unnecessary visual blight and trying to come up with solutions.

    However, this concept is like putting lipstick on a pig. With no disrespect intended towards the design team, when all is said in done, we still have a pig.

    So, as an alternative, I would love to see the time and energy invested by this and other design firms in helping to rid NY and communities across the country of unnecessary billboard and other visual blight.

    Architects, landscape architects, urban designers, and planners are all professions well positioned to help communities document the character of the places they love and then plan and design solutions that protect or enhance that character.

    Green as it could be, it is still lipstick on a pig.

    Brad Cownover, ASLA
    Scenic America
    http://www.scenic.org

  2. frances June 22, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Chas – people aren’t the only creatures on the planet. Birds will get better use out of them if they are at birds-eye level.
    Nice idea. Hopefully easy to maintain.

  3. links for 2008-06-22 &l... June 21, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    [...] Inhabitat » GARDEN SPOTS: Renegade air gardening for NYC Any of us who live in NYC know its not always the ‘greenest’ place – at least when it comes to flora and fauna. Thats why we are enamored with TODO Design’s proposal to take over New York City billboards and greenify them with living air gardens. (tags: green eco newyork urban) Posted by francisanderson Filed in Uncategorized [...]

  4. diggdugg June 20, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    That’s a great aesthetic idea, but who will trim the plants when they start blocking the view of the ads. That is what pays the bills on those things afterall. Also, the plants will get in the way when signs have to be changed out.

  5. Chas June 19, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    I think this is an interesting idea to beautify an unatractive billboard but I’d personally would rather have the gardens down at human level where people could interact with it & enjoy it, rather than up in the air out of reach. I’d like to see more green roofs, vegetated facades, green streetscapes, community gardens & parks.

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