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AIA San Francisco Chapter Hosts Vertical Gardens Exhibition

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The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter and Center for Architecture + Design Gallery will present Vertical Gardens, an exhibition on view Feb. 18 to April 30.

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The Musée du Quai Branly in Paris
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The past decade has seen a greater emergence of green roofs and vertical gardens created by artists, designers, architects and urban gardeners to combat the lack of flora in the city, the AIASF says. Buildings around the world—from the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco—have embraced green walls or roofs for all their economical, environmental, and aesthetic values.

Vertical farms and gardens are also being envisioned as new ways to feed local and organic foods to city dwellers. Largely based on the principles of hydro-ponics, vertical gardens are mostly self-sustaining because they capture large amounts of natural sunlight and water, and use wind as an energy source. In a country where cities are suffocated by high rises, cement and industrial materials, where can green space exist? As this exhibition demonstrates, one possible answer is “up.”

The AIASF says these and other urban parks and gardens provide areas for socialization and recreation; a location for a city farm or community land-trust; an outlet through which hundreds of people can learn about farming and agriculture; and the addition of much needed plant and animal life to the otherwise concrete jungle.

Vertical Gardens features over two dozen projects, both imaginary and real, by artists and architects that envision solutions for building greener urban environments.

Originally conceived by Papo Colo and curated by Jeanette Ingberman, Lauren Rosati, and Herb Tam of Exit Art in New York as part of its SEA (Social-Environmental Aesthetics) program—a unique endeavor that presents a diverse multimedia exhibition program and permanent archive of artworks that address social and environmental concerns—the exhibition showcases architectural models, renderings, drawings, photographs and ephemera that depict or imagine a vertical farm, urban garden or green roof.

Vertical Gardens will showcase works by an international array of artists and architectural practitioners, including local studio Rael San Fratello Architects (Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael), Min Day, Boor Bridges Architecture, GLS Landscape | Architecture, environmental designer Lisa Lee Benjamin, and local nursery Flora Grubb Gardens. Additional pieces are contributed by Abruzzo Bodziak Architects; ATOPIA with The Harrison Studio; Bob Bingham and Claire Hoch; Patrick Blanc; Bohn & Viljoen Architects; Dickson Despommier, Eric Ellingsen, SOA Architects, Blake Kurasek; Evo Design with Mica Gross and Rogers Design Group; Todd Haiman; Haus-Rucker-Inc.; Edmundo Ortega and Dianne Rohrer (Co-Founders, Mundo Verde Ortega); Claude Boullevraye de Passillé; Oda Projesi;; Naomi Reis; Roomservices (Evren Uzer and Otto Von Busch); and SITE (Denise MC Lee, Sara Stracey and James Wines).

Extensive photographic documentation of existing buildings containing vertical farms, gardens or green roofs will also be showcased by Hundertwasser; Renzo Piano with Chong Partners and Stantec; Emilio Ambasz & Associates; Humpert Wolnitzek; Chad Oppenheim Architecture and Design; Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership, Downs/Archambault & Partners, LMN Architects; Scandinavian Green Roof Institute; Conservation Design Forum of Chicago and Atelier Dreieitl of Germany; Enrique Browne and Borja Huidobro with Ricardo Judson and Rodrigo Iturriaga; and others.

The highlight of the exhibition will be two interpretive green walls, designed respectively by Mundo Verde Ortega and Rael San Fratello Architects.

Vertical Gardens is on in the AIA San Francisco/Center for Architecture + Design Gallery, located within the historic Hallidie Building at 130 Sutter Street, Suite 600, San Francisco.

An opening night reception and lecture will take place Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. The gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit www.aiasf.org/Programs/Gallery.htm.

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