Italian architect Carlo Ratti just unveiled plans for a stunning biodome that recreates all four seasons under one solar-powered roof. The Garden of the Four Seasons is a 2,500-square-meter long enclosed garden that uses innovative climate-control technology to recreate the distinct atmospheres of all four seasons, all year long.
The elongated pavilion, which is slated for a park in north-west Milan, would allow visitors to experience spring, summer, autumn and winter year-round. Visitors would first walk into spring and leave through winter, offering a natural progression through the seasons. Each garden pavilion will be equipped with digital sensors to carefully control the levels of water, temperature, humidity, and nutrients of the plants and display them in real time, creating an interactive garden experience.
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Ratti was inspired to create the design to give city-dwellers the chance to see nature’s cycles up close, something that may or may not be possible in the future due to the effects of climate change. “In the garden, people can interact with nature in many ways – from working within nature, to eating al fresco during Milan’s cold winters, to celebrating a wedding in the Eternal Spring area. As climate change might become more extreme, the importance of envisioning strategies for climate remediation will increase dramatically,” said Ratti. “This was our inspiration behind the Four Seasons Garden – in which we usher in a technique for a sustainable and emphatic Internet of Plants.”
The pavilion’s structure would use a zero-net-energy climate control system to achieve each season’s atmosphere. Solar panels on the roof will provide energy to the individual pavilions and a heat exchanger will cool the winter pavilion and heat the summer space simultaneously. For optimal insulation, the pavilion’s roof will be made out of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) – a transparent, responsive plastic that will use sensors to control temperature levels as people move through the pavilion.