Pop-up cold-climate greenhouse could help revitalize urban spaces


Operating with surgical precision that is also adaptable to the needs of the moment, "pop-up" or tactical urbanism has been gaining popularity recently as designers are taking urban issues into their own hands. Taking the form of parklets, pop-up shops, and even dumpsters converted into public spaces, these interventions are meant to occupy ultra-specific niches, while remaining open for self-driven development by local communities.

Applying the pop-up principle to greenhouses, Danish architect Simon Hjermind Jensen of SHJWORKS recently built The Invisible Garden House, a modular re-interpretation of the classic, glass-and-steel plant-growing typology. Designed for northern climates, the dome-like Invisible Garden House extends the growing season, and is naturally heated and cooled via a series of strategically-placed, operable openings at the top and bottom of the structures.


Built with lightweight yet strong polycarbonate panels sewn together, Jensen describes how he engineered the design:

The structural concept is similar to the handicraft of a tailor, stitching two dimensional pieces into three dimensional objects. UV protected polycarbonate is used for both the shells and the sewings. The durable and high impact-resistance character of polycarbonate makes it ideal for this kind of structure. All the parts are drawn on a computer, milled on a CNC router, and assembled with metal bolts. The shells are dug down under the frost line to ground the house.


Though the project currently sits on private property near Copenhagen, Jensen tells Fast Co.Design that he is aiming to take these easily assembled and easily reproduced greenhouses to the urban sphere as mini-gardens on the street or rooftops, to "take advantage of the gaps and in-between spaces created by the slower change of the city’s physical structure," thus testing “new structural concepts [and] pop-up functions which relate and connect to the existing urban fabric.”


Coupled with an appealing, airy impermanence that has yet an enduring character, these instant greenhouses might be coming to a green-starved city near you soon. Keep your eyes peeled; more over at SHJWORKS.

Tags: Architecture | Denmark | Gardening


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