This three-year research project led by landscape architecture practice Fifth Creek Studio, with support from architecture practice Woods Bagot and scientists from the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia, is groundbreaking.
The project demonstrates a new understanding of the benefits of “living architecture” and sets a new benchmark for design in hot, dry (Mediterranean) climates. It is of relevance around the world.
The project trialled two systems in Adelaide – a shallow plant bed on the roof of one building and a multi-panel hybrid “living wall” on another. The team measured and monitored multiple datasets to quantify the exact nature of the microclimate on these two sites and the effect that the two vegetation-based interventions had on the buildings in different seasons. The work demonstrates how natural systems can be used to improve a building’s thermal performance and can reduce the urban heat island effect and greenhouse gas emissions.
The research was completed in 2013 and a range of communication products were produced. From fact sheets to technical papers, the products expose multiple audiences to the creative thinking – hand-drawn diagrams explain the design principles and photos show the sequential changes in vegetation growth.
The project responds directly to the urgent challenges associated with climate change and the liveability of hot, dry Australian cities and towns. This research imparts timely new knowledge and displays excellence in the application of science and innovative design.