Architecture Magazine has a great article this month called Mushrooms on the Roof about ecological design. It features wonderfully forward-thinking Spanish architects Ábalos & Herreros and their defense of a “simple, universal, felicitous, cheap, and intense” architecture, as they define it in A New Naturalism (7 Micromanifestos), recently published in the Spanish magazine 2G. It is, as the article notes, architecture conceived as garden.
“The offices that have a planted roof are fresher in the summer,” says a worker at the facility about this ecological installation, designed by Á&H with the architect Ángel Jaramillo. The guide takes us to a nearby mountain with panoramic views of the main building, its vibrant inclination into the hillside a spontaneous hug. He adds: “In spring the roof blooms, and it looks beautiful.”
The plant at Valdemingómez is perhaps the best example of what the partners describe in the first component of their “micromanifesto,” 1, Latent Garden: “the fusion of nature and artifice; the dissolution of disciplinary boundaries between architecture, art, garden, and philosophy.” Since their initial collaboration, Á&H has based its work on a combination of natural and artificial elements that employ building techniques of low environmental impact. The sections in their manifesto have revealing titles: 3, Ecomonumentalism (“every location has started to be regarded as a landscape, either natural or artificial”); and 5, Hybrid Technique, Mestizo Aesthetic (“hybrid models in which the accent has begun to be placed on the interaction between natural materials—massive and energetically inert—and highly sophisticated artificial materials—light and energetically active”).