Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Single Tree Reflected to Create Unlimited Urban Forest

DUS Architects Amsterdam created 'Unlimited Urban Woods,' a temporary pavilion in 2010 at the Oosterdokskade, Amsterdam. Constructing a box, and mirrored walls that surrounded a single tree the team created the effect of and endless forest that visitors could walk in an experience.

Photograph by Pieter Kers

The Unlimited Urban Woods pavilion was commissioned by Dutch concert hall/club and cultural center, Paradiso, as part of the 'Liefde in de Stad' (Love in the City) festival.

Truck Transformed Into Mobile Greenhouse

The Compass Green Project is a mobile greenhouse traveling the country teaching people of all walks of life about sustainable agriculture in small spaces. Nick Runkle and Justin Cutter transformed an old box truck into a working greenhouse that runs on biodiesel.

Mobile Greenhouse, Compass Green Garden
Photographs by Compass Green Project

Raised beds in mobile greenhouse
Photographs by Compass Green Project

Inside the back of the truck are two working raised beds that are used for workshops and demonstrations. Various crops are grown in the beds depending on the region they're visiting and the time of year. The mobile greenhouse is equipped with rain water harvesting system that allows them to recycle water for irrigation of the raised beds.

The Compass Green Project mobile greenhouse has taught people of all ages about the importance of sustainable agriculture. You can visit the mobile greenhouse's website to see what state they are traveling in and arrange for workshops and classes for your school or organization, or to make a donation to keep the greenhouse on the road. Previously I wrote a longer profile on The Compass Green Project for Tree Hugger which I invite you to take a look at.

CTA Rail Car Transformed Into Mobile Garden

In 2011 a CTA rail car in Chicago was transformed into a mobile garden as part of the Art on Track exhibit. I was part of the volunteers that helped noisivelvet convert the car below into a garden. Working on and observing this garden installation is what lead to my interest in researching mobile gardens and starting this blog.

CTA rail car transformed into mobile garden

Several rail cars where part of the exhibit, but only this car was a mobile garden. The garden was assembled and installed in a train yard near Midway airport in one morning. Precautions had to be taken to ensure the train could be put back into use the next day. To ensure the train's integrity we had to lay down a plastic tarp to protect the floor and seats.

Grass on CTA train mobile garden

The garden installation utilized a variety of plants including perennials, grasses, sod, annuals, edible, and tropical plants.

mobile gardens on trains

The volunteers laid down a sod to give the floor and seats an organic look. As if the seats where actually made of grass and not just covered. A net was strung along the ceiling of the passageway and various vines were interwoven to create a green canopy.

Mobile Garden CTA Chicago

The end result was very convincing and fun to experience. The ride along the Orange Line into the Loop before the train and garden were boarded by attendees of Art on Track was interesting. Riding inside this living thing watching as it passed along trees and people's yards was surreal. As were the reactions of people as we pulled into the stations.

Mobile Gardens Chicago

As we rode along the elevated rail line the sun was making its decent into the horizon behind us making for a ride where you could contemplate a lot. The silence of the ride was only interrupted by the sound of the screeching wheels as we made our way around bends.

Passengers CTA mobile garden

Once we arrived in the Loop and we started to take on passengers it was a completely different experience. The rail car became crowded, but unlike during a normal commute people were friendly and interacted with each other and bonded over the experience of riding inside a garden.

I took this short video using my phone's camera. Recording with this device was a choice. I wanted to capture the "look" of the videos we've all seen on sites like YouTube of fights and crime occurring on public transportation, but depict something a lot more positive.

After the event was over the train was returned to the yards and the garden was dissembled. Some of the plants were returned to their owners and other plants were donated. The purpose of the garden installation was promote The Mobile Garden, a garden installation of native plants the artist hopes to install on a CTA train in 2012.

Window Box Planter Turns Bicycle into Mobile Garden

Back in 2008 I was charmed by this bicycle garden created by Instructables member, Friend of Humanity, for "transient" gardeners. The bicycle garden is created by constructing a window box planter that is attached to the handlebars of the bike. The construction and modifications are pretty easy to achieve by just about anyone.

Mobile Garden on bicycle
Bicycle Garden by FriendOfHumanity/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The tools used to create the bicycle window box are tools you probably have available. A saw, hammer/axe (for repurposing the scrap wood), a drill, and a set square are all the tools you need. You can follow Friend of Humanity's directions for building a bicycle window box.

Plants you can grow in a window box on a bicycle include violets, pansies, Swiss chard, thyme, strawberries, chives, lettuce greens, short varieties of carrots and radishes, and marigolds-just to name a few.

Window Box bicycle garden
Bicycle Garden by  FriendOfHumanity/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Plants you can grow in a window box on a bicycle include violets, pansies, Swiss chard, thyme, strawberries, chives, lettuce greens, short varieties of carrots and radishes, and marigolds-just to name a few.