creativity

Milan’s Vertical Forest

Milan’s Vertical Forest

The Vertical Forest in the Porta Nuova area of Milan is an understated marvel and an innovative prototype for how modern cities with deep historical roots can help humans, animals, and plants cohabitate for everyone’s benefit.

The two residential buildings create space for 800 trees, 15,000 plants, and 5,000 shrubs. This is the same number of plants you’d find on ~90,000 square feet of woodland on just ~9,000 square meters of urban space. The Vertical Forest reduces heat when it’s warm, regulates humidity, provides insulation when it’s cold, and cleans the air. And by the way, plants help humans by lowering our stress and anxiety. This greenery has provided a home for 1,600 species of butterflies and birds. An added bonus—if we building our cities vertically, we prevent them from sprawling horizontally which saves more land and the species that call that land home.

This kind of living architecture is a financial and health win for people and nature, and one we cannot afford to ignore. Cities across the world can adopt the ethos of the Vertical Forest and we will all benefit.

creativity

A Year of Yes: Inside an Abandoned Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Thank you to Children’s Museum of Manhattan for the tour of this church that’s been abandoned for 15 yrs & will soon be the new home for the museum. My museum-loving friends & I had a blast! This church is across the street from the apartment building where I used to live and I’ve admired it from the exterior for years. It was fascinating to actually be able to go inside and explore it. From an abandoned ballroom to vaulted ceilings, a sealed safe, and the stunning stain glass, I was completely inspired by this space! Pretty sure Emerson Page is going to find her way in here…

creativity

In the pause: Pursuing an interest in historic preservation

In my early 20s while I was working in theater management, I had the great privilege to travel all over the U.S. and Canada with different tours. I was always amazed by the beauty, history, and culture of the restored spaces where we played, and those experiences began my interest in historic preservation. Now whenever I travel to a new city (or even around cities I know well), you can find me looking up and building facades and examining the internal architecture that makes buildings so unique. It’s one of the things I love so much about New York City; the variation in architecture there is endless!

I decided to get a little bit more serious about this interest and enrolled in an online class called The Architectural Imagination. It’s being offered on the edX platform by four professors of architecture at Harvard and it’s free. If architecture and historic preservation is something you’re interested in, too, sign up and we can go through it together!

More info on the class here: https://www.edx.org/course/architectural-imagination-harvardx-gsd1x#!

creativity

Wonder: In every career, you can strive to make the world a better place

“What I build can influence the way people behave in these spaces. For me, architecture is a social act.” ~David Adjaye, architect

In every career, we have the ability to build a better world. We can follow our deepest personal passions and serve others at the same time. For so long, I thought I had to choose between making myself happy and helping others. To now know that I don’t have to choose has given me a lot of freedom.

I’ve been watching a lot of videos and reading a lot of books this past week about David Adjaye, the architect who designed, among many other buildings, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He sees architecture as a form of justice, as a way to influence the behavior and mindset of a community. These may not be the end goals of architecture on the surface of the work, but they are the root of David’s work. It is a wonderful reminder to us that in every career there are ways to do well and do good.