WWF’s Living Planet Centre, Woking

Visited the WWF HQ today for a conference to celebrate 5 years of the Catchment Based Approach.

What a building! Completed in 2014, Hopkins Architects (see Olympic velodrome) have created a super comfortable, light and airy space with impeccable green credentials of course (BREEAM ‘Outstanding’). There’s “extensive use of solar energy, there’s also rainwater harvesting and underground heat pumps, while the choice of building materials includes recycled concrete and, of course, timber from responsibly managed forests.”

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From our point of view, there are also some lovely, thriving planted balconies and walls that make an attractive and wildlife-friendly space under the eaves.

It cost a bomb though (£20m) – that’s where the membership fees must go!

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Furthermore, “the bin stores and cycle shelters within the woodland edge also provide opportunities for new habitats. Climbing Ivy and Honey suckle effectively create living wall features that support a green roof of sedum and saxifrage species. The entrance level introduces non-native species like Bamboo to reflect the global nature of WWF’s work. A restrained palette of ornamental grass and bulb planting complements the elegant lines of the building with flowering climbing plants such as Passion flower and Jasmine adding colour and scent to the railings.”

 

Green Architecture Day – lineup confirmed

Green Architecture Day line up has been confirmed for 2017.

Taking place on 25 March, it includes the following speakers:

  • James Farrell and Lee Evans from Building Green and Organic Roofs – green walls and roofs
  • Duncan Baker-Brown – The reuse atlas
  • Jasmine & Simon Dale – The Lammas eco village and building Hobbiton
  • Bill Knight & James Shorten – Why do planning experts grow mushrooms?
  • Cath Hassell – SuDS in the City – Sustainable water solutions
  • Sandy Halliday – Pushing the envelope – putting the eco in economics

For tickets etc, please visit https://brightonpermaculture.org.uk/courses/greenarchitecture

Come and say hello!

In praise of Sedums and Sempervivums

Most will think of Sedum (stonecrops) and their cousins Sempervivum (houseleeks) species when thinking of the right planting for a green roof. However, they often struggle to thrive long term in our climate and without the appropriate growing medium, or get out competed by grasses. It’s usually better to look around at surrounding natural habitat and try and replicate that with wildflowers and other  plants.

However, on green walls, gabions and other structures they can be very successful, as shown in these Brighton examples.

Featuring on the gabions at the Tempest Inn is Hottentot Fig, an import from South Africa that is very common on many of our coasts and forms dense mats that out-compete native plants. Fine on the gabions, not fine on the beach…

New signs at the Volks wildlife site, Madeira Drive

Good to see the great new interpretation boards at the Volks railway opposite Duke’s Mound, celebrating the wildlife of the seafront. Everyone was stopping to have a read on their way past.

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The interpretation is by the talented Lucid Design.

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.