Building Green Founder James Farrell has published a book of ‘nature practices’ today with co-author Lee Evans from The Human Nature Partnership. The book is aimed at readers who want to feel calmer, healthier, and make the most of their time outdoors.
Illustrated by Lucy Williams – award winning artist who designed the signs for Brighton Pier and the Open Market – the book sets out some simple practices, the science behind why they work, and makes suggestions for simple things we can do in our day to day lives to benefit the planet.
Remember the purpose of the project is to select c30 arches for restoration, to improve the seafront, prove the case and build momentum for funding the remaining 121 arches.
The design team is now at RIBA Stage 2 (see below). This is the phase of design that starts to get interesting, with drawings and initial whole life costings. A 3D model and topographical survey are underway across the whole Terrace. We haven’t seen this yet but will share it when complete.
The original date for groundworks was October – unsurprisingly, this is delayed. The major work of planning consents and contractor procurement remain, a major decisions still to make.
What is exciting is that many of our original ideas have been put forward and developed further, including the potential for planting parts of the mid-level walk (‘Max’s walk’), ideas for natural stormwater management and sustainable energy creation, and of course the protection and enhancement of the Green Wall.
How many of these get through cost consultancy we will see. Certainly the Green Wall is recognised now as an integral part of Madeira Drive. I will continue to push for its retention, enhancement and restoration as part of the wider seafront environment.
This year has been particularly good for Japanese spindle berries at the Madeira Drive green wall. Who knows why?
While we ponder that, here are some facts about this amazing plant.
Seeds are propogated by birds
It depends on bees, flies and hoverflies to pollinate the flowers
It is very tolerant of salty conditions, and a wide range of soil types
Roots and stems yield up to 7% gutta-percha, a non-elastic rubber used as an electrical insulator and in making plastics
Decoctions from the bark are considered to be tonic, anti-rheumatic, anhidoritic and diuretic. Chinese women use the leaves to aid difficult childbirths
It is host to a wide variety of invertebrates including Unaspis euonymi, a sap-sucking ‘scale’ insect; and dusty grey/black vine weevils, Otiorhynchus sulcatus, which can take notched nibbles out of leaf edges.
Part of the Volks track bed is a local wildlife site, and sports vegetated shingle plants that local developments such as the new Marina development are looking to incorporate into their green roofs and landscaping.
This superb shot by Paul Norman has recently come to our attention. It’s 1985 – shows the green wall East of the shelter hall is fully intact…sadly a few of these veteran (planted c1880) Japanese spindle trunks are missing now, but it’s still one of the best bits of green wall on the whole stretch. Also visible are the hedges that used to exist along on the southern edge of the terrace. Does anyone know what year they were taken out?
Building Green is meeting with the Council on Friday to talk through the proposals for redevelopment of Madeira Drive. We are keen to offer our expertise and support.
Paul’s group Hanover Action, are doing some fantastic work to improve the quality of life for Hanover residents. Check them out here.
We have an amazing event coming up next month in Brighton – an inspiring day of cutting-edge talks on green building design – Green Architecture Day 2016!
Saturday 19 March 2016, 10:30am to 5pm Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton, Grand Parade Building Brighton BN2 0JY
Our theme this year is Approaches to design and we have excellent speakers including Michael Mehaffy on pattern language, Nic Pople on architecture inspired by nature and sacred buildings, Ben Law on building with our woodland resource, Turner Prize winners, Assemble, on their collaborative building approach, and more!
This Thursday morning, Portslade Green Gym are going to flex their muscles ‘lopping and chopping’ the weeds in the bed at the foot of Madeira Drive green wall. Organised by Building Green and supervised by The Ecology Consultancy, this important voluntary work will keep the pavement at the Duke’s Mound end clear of plants, remove the more stubborn weeds and maximise biodiversity along the foot of this unique Victorian green wall.
The plan is to plant gaps in this section of the Madeira Drive green wall with new spindle plants, which will be trained up newly installed wires for support. The Council recently finished concreting a section of the wall that was in poor condition – it’s a pretty ugly finish that will be far more attractive when we have re-established plants in front.
Building Green is awaiting the Council’s planned consultation on the future of the Terraces and green wall, which were promised in the new year.