Think of it as a garden shed for the high-rise: Plant Room is a clip-on room that provides a bit of green space, hot water, rainwater collection and even a worm farm for the apartment dweller. We covered it briefly in March, but the designers have added a lot more information to their site. The Wellington, New Zealand design team is now building two prototypes. It is such a wonderful way to deal with many of the problems with our existing high-rise infrastructure.
It was developed for last year's Sustainable Habitat Challenge, and is one of the few submissions that address the need for dealing with our larger multifamily buildings.
The designers write:
A Plant Room provides hot water for one occupant and a healthy growing space for herbs, fruit and vegetables all year round. It also offers a worm farm, a rainwater tank, an outdoor space and an enclosed room. It shades the apartment to avoid summer overheating and collects hot air to circulate warmth in the winter. It is designed to improve the quality of apartment living while reducing the energy and water use of it's occupants. It could also be a suitable solution to office retro-fits
They are building two plant rooms, one to use as a travelling exhibit, clipped on the end of a shipping container, and the other as a real prototype to test.
Dealing with our existing infrastructure of apartment buildings is a significant problem. Most were designed in an era of cheap energy and are in desperate need of reskinning and upgrading.
Zerofootprint, in their reskinning competition, have noted that there are 67 billion square feet of building that need a retrofit. The Plant Room concept could be a big part of this, clipping on that little bit of extra space that can be used to provide water, food and a bit of energy. More at Plant Room
There was also the Rucksack House by Stefan Eberstadt. It "reactivates the idea of the self-built anarchistic tree house, but one that is more prominently placed and structurally engineered. New space gets slung onto an existing space by a simple,clear, and understandable method."
Fresh air is important; the Plant Room, like the window crib, could be a real help with the kids. More at How to Add Some Space in your Apartment for the Little Ones