Mike Chino

ORQUIDEORAMA: A Beautiful Floating Meshwork of Modular Flower Tree Structures

by , 03/27/08

Medellin, Colombia, Plan B Architects, sustainable architecture, green architecture, green design, Orquideorama, sustainable wood, responsibly managed forests, cellular architecture, botanical garden, Jardín Botánico de Medellí, Felipe Mesa, Alexander Bernal, Orquideorama1

We’re crazy about this gorgeous botanical garden in Medellin, Colombia that was renovated in 2008 by Plan B Architects. The Orquideorama is an organically expanding wooden meshwork of modular “flower-tree” structures that weaves its way through the garden’s heart. A stunning study on structure and scale, the project unites the micro and macro worlds through an elegant synthesis of cellular and architectural forms.


Medellin, Colombia, Plan B Architects, Orquideorama, sustainable wood, responsibly managed forests, cellular architecture, botanical garden, Jardín Botánico de Medellí, Felipe Mesa, Alexander Bernal, Orquideorama2

Architects Felipe Mesa and Alexander Bernal wanted the Orquideorama to grow in the same way that a garden seeds and develops, with one “flor-árbol” popping up next to another. This lead them to design the installation as a series of interconnected modular structures (14 in all) specialized for a variety of functions including event halls, butterfly reserves, and flower gardens. Fittingly, this repetitious cellular weave resonates with another organic structure: honeycomb.

Each “flor-árbol” is composed of a steel reinforced trunk and six hexagonal petals that form an intricately latticed patio. The plants situated beneath each trunk are sustained via rainwater collected by the petals, and are protected from the elements by the translucent pine wood weave that is sourced from reforested lands. Taken as a whole, the Orquideorama is a delicate display of the relationship and structural similarities between architecture and living organisms.

+ Plan B
+ Jardín Botánico de Medellí

Via Notcot.org

Photo Credits: Sergio Gómez (SG), Camilo Orozco (CO), Felipe Mesa (FM), Carlos Mario Rodriguez (CMR)

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12 Comments

  1. bobajabob February 4, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    A friend of mine designed a ferro-cement building system similar to this back in the 70′s. The flower petal shaped components mounted on a 3″ pipe and used triangles for glazing, cut from 4′X250′ rolls. You could cover 1/4 acre with greenhouse or 4,000 acres. Each 6 sided component would lock onto others like a honeycomb? Hard to describe but a brilliant way to create a bio-zone for arid and/or cold areas.

  2. admin January 31, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    love that design

  3. magialogica April 13, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    The SUSTAINABLE adjective can be used to illustrate the protection of forest vegetation in the urban milieu. This structure makes it possible for city dwellers to get near to species that if not protected could easily be extintc in theis natural forest environment. This new colombian design contriubution can raise awareness to the importance of protecting natural resources to save our planet. Then, the building is important for our own sustainability!

  4. A Greenhouse Made of St... April 5, 2008 at 9:56 am

    [...] A Greenhouse Made of Steel From Lisa Katayama @ io9 (Technofobiac Sci Fi). Who said nature has to be pristine and untouched by technology? The Orquideorama is a giant steel-and-wood structure recently built in the middle of a more traditional botanical garden in Medellin, Colombia. It consists of a series of modular, honeycomb-like “flower-tree” structures. The hexagonal “flowers” actually serve an important function—they collect rainwater and distribute it evenly to the flora beneath. This beautiful, functional structure could become a common substitute for antiquated greenhouses. Image by Sergio Gomez [Inhabitat] [...]

  5. Erik van Lennep Erik van Lennep April 1, 2008 at 11:28 am

    y…donde estan las orquideas?

  6. Swye.net - Living Natur... March 31, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    [...] via Inhabitat, the Orquideorama is an absolutely beautiful display of sustainable architecture. Built in [...]

  7. nposada March 29, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    actually yes it is, the structure protects you against the rain, when your inside you never get wet, maybe only on the corners but thats not a problem at all. and as plus the space had worked really great on fairs, concerts and all kind of expositions! its an amazing place

  8. The Purple Corner &raqu... March 28, 2008 at 1:37 am

    [...] article en anglais  Inhabitat [...]

  9. Mike Chino Mike Chino March 27, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Hi Simone-
    Point taken! Thanks for the sharp eye.

  10. JS March 27, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    umm, so how is this “sustainable”?

  11. Simone Collet March 27, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    The correct name of the country in which this amazing structure was built is Colombia and not Columbia.

  12. hugo hugo March 27, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Aha, this looks great. But it can’t be very protective against rain and other influences (creating a great inside out effect). But anyway, this is made to look very beautiful, and it does. Incredible detail!

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