Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Foundation for Polish Science Headquarters in Warszawa, Poland by FAAB Architektura
November 22nd, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: FAAB Architektura
The vertical garden, covering front and side elevations, is a tool which allows to integrate the building with its green context. The FNP headquarters has become an element of the landscape in a very common sense. The green face of the building blurs the boundaries between architecture & nature.
The architecture of the building is created by a collision of textures. The leafy vertical garden, softening the building edges, is contrasted with the smoothness of surfaces finished with light grey concrete panels. The green wall, naturally three-dimensional, is enriching the elevation with its depth. This three-dimensional effect is constantly changing over time. Due to the natural vegetation of the plants and the cycles of the year the face of the building will also be constantly changing.
The vertical garden, taking into account its geographic location, is treated as experimental. During the course of its exploitation, the bio-diversity of the wall may change due to the seeds brought by birds or wind. The designed vegetation optimum should be reached in 2016.
The building is under the protection of the Warsaw Preservation Office, regarding massing of the building and the layout of windows. The proportion of the attic wall mass to the rest of the front elevation is also the subject of interest of the Preservation Office. The terms of conditions for construction, issued by the municipal office, did not allow the enlargement of the building footprint. These same conditions also dictated the coordination of the new design solution with the existing character of the building, especially regarding to the rhythm and symmetry of the elevations.
„…cracked walls will fall by its own weight.” “…the street front of the building destroyed with the (air) bomb, the rest of the building, roof and the 2nd level burnt down”. Inspector J.Maliszewski, 17.08.1945, regarding the present FNP Headquarters building on 20/22 Krasickiego St.
The building structure demanded an extensive scope of stabilization and reinforcement including the foundations, ceilings and bearing walls. All the external wall reparations, carried out just after the WWII needed to be revamped. All of the building corners were reinforced from the outside – with the special system of steel clasps – to the full wall height. The original prefabricated terrazzo runs needed to be strengthened with the steel elements.
Affiliation with town.
Corset tiles and the staircase.
The refurbished staircase is marked with a simple, modern railing made of black painted steel and transparent glass. The roses of brass, acquired from the original décor, mask the points where the railing’s studs met the steps. The modern railing, especially the elements placed under the stair’s runs, stabilize the structure. The “corset” tiles on the staircase are the building’s original from 1933
Within the vertical garden 20 different species of plants have been included. Some of them are to create a green background all year, while others will bloom during the warmer seasons. The plants with the decorative red fruits will add a color accent also during the winter seasons. Since the placement of the plants was consulted with the architects, the manifestation of a geometric pattern should reveal itself at the end of the third year of the vegetation cycle – by September 2016.
The plants are supplied with water and necessary nutrients by a special irrigation system supported with a set of sensors located onto the surface of the panels. Based on the information collected the wall is automatically irrigated and fertilized. This process is controlled in real time and can be steered on-line.
A unique mat – made of a material structure similar to that of mineral wool – is the base for the modules of the green wall. In this case, the mat is the supplement of the soil responsible for giving the plants the appropriate support. It also protects the roots of the plants from exposure to the changing and harsh weather conditions, which is essential in the climatic region in which the green wall has been installed. The lightweight modules are mounted to the steel substructure which makes the maintenance of the vertical garden system a relatively easy task. The plants ale placed in the specially designed pockets which helps to exchange them if necessary.
The green wall modules had to be mounted with precision to achieve the desired holistic pattern. Each of the modules was marked with the exact position of its location on the wall.
The vertical garden, taking into account its geographic location, is treated as experimental. During the course of its exploitation, the bio-diversity of the wall may change due to the seeds brought by birds or wind. The designed optimum of the vegetation of the wall should be reached in 2016.
Simultaneously, precious architectural and historically significant elements were safeguarded alongside adhering to the restrains postulated by the Warsaw Preservation Office in regards to building mass and window layout.
The building’s location, inside a sparse subdivision, established in 1930’s, influenced the multilayered integration of the project within the green context and public space. The investment strove to reduce its impact on the municipal infrastructure and the natural environment.
Liquidation of the fence in front of the building helped to enlarge the public space of the street and incorporate the backyard garden with it. The addition of an internal atrium and perforation through the ground level, beginning with the main entrance, established a visual link between the outside and inside, between the street and the garden.
The integrating tool to connect the building to its green context is the successful application of the first in the region external vertical garden onto both front and side elevations. The rain water collected into the retention basin irrigates the vertical garden and eliminates the demand for the municipal network. An 82% of the relatively small town plot, taking into account the vertical garden, is covered with surfaces allowing natural water retention.
Access to natural light was given to 96% of the above ground levels space. The ground level and underground parking lot (overhead skylights), reached the highest possible ratio-100% of those spaces has access to the natural light.
Preservation of the original internal staircase, including the green terrazzo steps and landings filled with tiny, colorful “corset” ceramic tiles (nearing extinction) recalls the atmosphere of similar buildings of the era located in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.
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