Two stunning entrance gates serve as portals to nature in the historical Amstel Area. Frank Tjepkema (aka Tjep), along with Leonie Janssen, crafted two colored galvanized steel gates coated with epoxy and on a concrete foundation for the Aemstel Schooltuin (school garden).
The new working-garden, where over 500 school children aged 9 to 11 will learn about nature and grow their own plants, is situated on Kalfjeslaan, Amstel – a picturesque place steeped in rich cultural history.
Tjep. had the honour of being asked to create two new sets of entrance gates to the garden, a project commissioned by Stadsdeel Zuid, the Amsterdam South City Council.
Two sets of monumental gates will guard both approaches to Aemstel Schooltuin and add a contemporary element to this historic area. Settled next to the Riekermolen, built in 1636, the area has a long history of natural beauty appreciated by none other than Rembrandt himself. His statue sits next to the new school garden, frozen in the act of painting the famous windmill. One set of gates will mark the entrance from Kalfjeslaan, and the other will sit on the route from Amsteldijk.
“This amazing area deserved a design that paid homage to the unique context, but also brought a new influence to the place.” Says Tjep. founder and lead designer, Frank Tjepkema. The design integrates references to the lush flora and fauna of the surrounding environment, classical era elements with a contemporary urban graffiti construction.
Frank Tjepkema states that “a strict functional requirement was that the gates would stop those notorious plant criminals, rabbits – which we do through tightly woven patterns at the bottom. When constructed, these gates will stand at eight meters wide and four meters tall and become a portal, ushering people from the urban Amstel to the historic landscape beyond. I hope children and others will feel some anticipation, some excitement, as they pass through the gates to discover the verdant wonders of nature.”
Production of the gates by Smederij van Rijn
all photos and information courtesy of Frank Tjepkema
Aquafarm is an Aquaponics Garden from Back to the Roots, a company founded by Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora during their last semester at UC Berkeley in 2009.
above: Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora of Back To The Roots.
The second product offered from Back To The Roots (the first was a grow-your-own mushroom kit), Aquafarm was successfully funded via Kickstarter in December of 2012.
So, What Is It?
The tabletop eco-system uses the fish waste to naturally fertilize the plants above. In turn, the plants clean the water for your pet fish.
The Aquafarm includes natural aquatic supplies from Home Grown Ponics and organic seeds from Seeds of Change.
What's Happening Inside?
The fish, they poo and they pee, and all that waste-water gets broken down by beneficial bacteria into nutrients.
The waste-water from the fish is then pumped up & upcycled as an awesome organic fertilizer for the plants. The plants take up the nutrients and, at the same time, clean the water which then falls back down for the fish.
There is no soil - the plants are growing just on rocks - all the nutrients coming from the fish (no need for any artificial fertilizers - it's all organic)
There is no need to clean the water because of the plants - it's a self-cleaning fish tank!
What Can I Grow?
Choose from a variety of fresh produce, including spinach, baby greens, oregano, beans, basil, mint, parsley & thyme.
What Kind of Fish?
above: various types of Betta Fish.
You can pick from a ton of different types of fish that will work great in the system - including the Betta fish pictured in their system in this post.
On June 7th of this year, they finally shipped the first one. Below is a video of Alejandro and Nikhil giving us a peek into the production:
Aquafarm, The Self-Cleaning Fish Tank that Grows Food
• Self-cleaning fish tank that grows food.
• Fish waste feeds the plants. Plants clean the water.
• Includes everything you need to get started as well as organic seeds and a discount coupon for a Betta fish.
• Sleek and attractive design with 3-gallon capacity.
• Perfect for your kitchen or classroom. Also makes a great gift.
• Designed and manufactured in California
Where Can I Get One?
The Aquafarm retails for $59.99 and can be purchased here
Want your potted plants, bushes or trees to look natural? The emerging but already award-winning designer Katja Pettersson has created a vase for Serralunga that is exceptionally unconventional. Inspired by the ‘recyclability’ of Serralunga products, the majority of which are made of polypropylene, Katja has developed a design which utilizes the recovery of rubber from inner tire-tubes which is comprised of 92% recycled materials.
The result is a cloak covering the containment tank for the ground and the roots, and the visual effect is artistic and original, and certainly natural looking.
The rubber material is used as a cover that conceals the container underneath holding the plant and soil, and creates a visual effect similar to that of piled earth or waste.
Functions: pot cover
outer cover rubber EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) to 95% recycled and recyclable anchored hot- carboxilate latex of a nonwoven fabric, the lower support network galvanized steel inner vessel PE (polyethylene) Injection-moulded
After its initial design in 2007 by Italian Steffano Boeri's architecture firm Boeri Studio, Treehugger, Inhabit and Gizmag recently reported that construction of the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) in Milan has finally begun. That intrigued me to do a little more research and bring you images of the original renderings , models and diagrams as well as some new construction photos.
above left: computer rendering of Bosco Verticale; above right: construction begins in Milan
With 24 floors (Torre E) and 17 floors (Torre D) respectively, the two residential towers will contain a total of 900 shrubs between 3 and 6 meters tall to help to absorb dust, smog and produce oxygen. The apartment buildings, examples of utilizing ecology in architecture, are expected to be completed next year and will include a restaurant, fitness center, parking garage, and rooftop garden.
CGI renderings and the architectural models of the towers:
Architectural models by One Off Protoyping
The construction has begun at Via De Castilla & Via Confalonieri, Puorta Nova I-20100 in Milan, Italy:
description of the project from the architect's site:
Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) is a project for metropolitan reforestation that contributes to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding the city upon the territory. Bosco Verticale is a model of vertical densification of nature within the city. It is a model that operates correlated to the policies for reforestation and naturalization of the large urban and metropolitan borders (Metrosbosco). Metrobosco and Bosco Verticale are devices for the environmental survival of contemporary European cities. Together they create two modes of building links between nature and city within the territory and within the cities of contemporary Europe.
The first example of a Bosco Verticale composed of two residential towers of 110 and 76 meters height, will be realized in the centre of Milan, on the edge of the Isola neighbourhood, and will host 900 trees (each measuring 3, 6 or 9 m tall) apart from a wide range of shrubs and floral plants.
On flat land, each Bosco Verticale equals, in amount of trees, an area equal to 10.000 sqm of forest. In terms of urban densification the equivalent of an area of single family dwellings of nearly 50.000 sqm.
The Bosco Verticale is a system that optimizes, recuperates and produces energy. The Bosco Verticale aids in the creation of a microclimate and in filtering the dust particles contained in the urban environment. The diversity of the plants and their characteristics produce humidity, absorb CO2 and dust particles, producing oxygen and protect from radiation and acoustic pollution, improving the quality of living spaces and saving energy.
Plant irrigation will be produced to great extent through the filtering and reuse of the grey waters produced by the building. Additionally Aeolian and photovoltaic energy systems will contribute, together with the aforementioned microclimate to increase the degree of energetic self sufficiency of the two towers. The management and maintenance of the Bosco Verticale’s vegetation will be centralised and entrusted to an agency with an office counter open to the public.
location: Milano, Italy
year: 2007 (on going)
client: Hines Italia
built area: 40.000 sqm
BOERISTUDIO (Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca, Giovanni La Varra)
Phase 1 – Urban plan and preliminary design
Frederic de Smet (coordinator), Daniele Barillari, Julien Boitard, Matilde Cassani, Andrea Casetto, Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Inge Lengwenus, Corrado Longa, Eleanna Kotsikou, Matteo Marzi, Emanuela Messina, Andrea Sellanes.
Phase 2 – Final design and working plan
Gianni Bertoldi (coordinator), Alessandro Agosti, Andrea Casetto, Matteo Colognese, Angela Parrozzani, Stefano Onnis.
Consultant for the vegetation project: Emanuela Borio, Laura Gatti
images in this post courtesy of ©Boeri Studio, some diagrams by Salottobuono and architectural models by OneOff Protoyping
Designer Monique Engelund designed this stunning birdhouse and feeder for menu, inspired by the famous 1929 Barcelona Pavilion, designed by the legendary German architect Mies van der Rohe.
above: Meis van der Rohe's 1929 Barcelona Pavilion.
In keeping with van der Rohe’s spirit, it exudes geometric simplicity and is made of an extraordinary material: robust and durable acacia wood from sustainable European forests.
The feeding table is beneath the roof, where the bird food can be placed on two spikes, while the bird bath sits out in the open:
A stylish outdoor element for your garden that will make all the other birds chirp with envy.
Price approx $175 USD.
The Barcelona Bird Pavilion can be purchased here