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Garden Houses Four Seasons Simultaneously

Friday, July 21, 2017

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Soon, experiencing all four seasons in one place will be as easy as a walk in the park—or garden.

Italian design firm Carlo Ratti Associati recently unveiled its plans for Milan's Garden of the Four Seasons, which would allow visitors to experience any season at any time.

The Garden

Reflecting the growing nature of Milan’s northwest sector, the garden itself was based on a design by Barbara Römer, who founded creative consultancy Studio Römer. To maintain all four seasons in the structure, a new system for high-precision climate control will be implemented into the envelope.

Images: Carlo Rotti Associati

Heat transfer between individual pavilions is also possible, which contributes to maintaining intermediary environmental conditions.

Powered largely by solar energy absorbed through photovoltaics, the system will not only distribute this same energy throughout all four different seasonal pavilions, and their accompanying gardens, but it will do so with net-zero energy consumption.

How It Works

The transparent EFTE membrane—which covers all of the individual pavilions, as well as the spaces between—is covered with photovoltaic cells. These can produce clean energy year-round. On top of this, the heat exchanger uses the solar energy that has been absorbed to heat and cool the appropriate seasonal displays. Heat transfer between individual pavilions is also possible, which contributes to maintaining intermediary environmental conditions.

Underneath the membrane will be hundreds of different kinds of vegetable species, and to assist with their growth, built-in sensors will also be able to open and close the membrane to regulate the environment precisely. Lighting and heat—which are the two primary factors in determining how well a plant grows—will be closely monitored and regulated, allowing the plants to follow the notes of the music of the changing of the seasons.

Other sensors will contribute to the plants’ overall wellbeing in measuring the quantity of water, humidity, temperature and nutrients needed by each different species of vegetable. The information will be released in real time over Twitter, which adds a harmony to the garden’s symphony of information.

Visitors will be able to enter in the spring and walk through to winter.

Visitors will be able to enter in the spring and walk through to winter. In this, the systems work much like a refrigerator, with cold coming out one side, and heat coming out the other.

Carlo Ratti Associati

As with a few of the design firm’s recent projects—such as Cloud Cast and Sun&Shade—the Garden of the Four Seasons is another foray into the issue of climate control and remediation.

“As climate change might become more extreme, the importance of envisioning strategies for climate remediation will increase dramatically,” Carlo Ratti, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founder of Carlo Ratti Associati, said in a statement. “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 work was originally commissioned by CityLife, which is part of a new neighborhood district in northwest Milan that was based on a plan drawn up by Daniel Liebeskind and Arata Isozaki. 


Tagged categories: Green building; Green design; Net Zero Energy

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