Contributing Monkie Jennifer Buonantony
Published on January 16, 2008
It’s true what they say about the grass being greener. Or in this case, the moss.
For those of us living in an urban space, the sight of plants can be rare. Perhaps that’s what prompted the 2007 Awards for Emerging Architecture, for which architect Taketo Shimohigoshi was one of three prize winners. Recognized for his innovative thinking and ability to find “green space” among the crowded skylines of an over-populated and ever-expanding city, Shimohigoshi came up with moss-covered building-to-building beams designed for structures in Tokyo.
It’s one thing for buildings to incorporate plants and flowers near their entryways or in the lobby, but few can boast skylines with vegetation in mid-air, where (as the designer says) “nature is not in its natural place.”
And what about practicality? The beams are covered with moss. And although some species are able to adapt somewhat, all moss requires low light and dampness. While some cities average more rainfall and overcast days than others, no matter where you are, the moss will be sitting on beams in direct sunlight with no definitive irrigation or maintenance.
However, since it’s widely believed that moss helps in nature’s air-cleaning process, Shimohighoshi’s suspended gardens could result in an overall reduction in a city’s air pollution. Which makes the possibilities endless. And if moss beams = cleaner air quality, it will not be long before cities worldwide find inspiration from Shimohighoshi’s vision.
Maybe the grass isn’t greener than the moss after all.