BBC on Wildlife in Cities with Mitchell Joachim, Terreform ONE

Martha Henriques, BBC Future, 21 January 2019.
How do you bring wildlife back to the city?

“We realize that planning, development, architecture and industrial design are all complicit in wiping out other species on this planet,” says Mitchell Joachim, director and co-founder of Terreform, an ecological planning and architecture firm. “I am absolutely passionate about trying to restore these habitats in cities, and to instill that in how we plan our buildings.”

Sometimes that means planning a giant, eight-storey transparent vertical meadow into the walls of an office building in Manhattan. Monarch butterflies are native to North America but have been disappearing fast since the 1980s because of widespread destruction of milkweed, a plant that monarchs use while breeding. “Milkweed is a highly invasive species, humans don’t like it – it can give you a rash, or take over your beautiful American lawn,” says Mitchell.

Building a space for monarchs into the building would be part of an effort to slow their precipitous decline.

“It is a sanctuary for monarch butterflies, to breed them, with nurseries for caterpillars and areas for the chrysalises and the adult butterflies,” says Joachim. “They live there for a few weeks and then they’re released.”

To have a real impact on monarch butterfly populations, it will take more than one sanctuary. The most important thing to do is restore the butterfly’s natural habitat – within the city and outside it along its migration route to Mexico – in particular by providing more milkweed.



BAU 2019 Munich - DETAIL Forum w/ Mitchell Joachim, Terreform ONE

DETAIL research—Building the Future

Design : Production
MODERATION / CHAIRED BY: Tim Westphahl, Freier Journalist / freelance journalist

14:00 Digitales Denken in Planung
und Detaillierung /
Digital thinking in planning
and detailing
Arnold Walz,
Design to Production, Stuttgart

14:30 Towards a Digital Building Culture
 Hannes Mayer,
Gramizio Kohler Research, Z├╝rich

15:00 Design to End Extinction
Mitchell Joachim,
Terreform ONE, New York, USA



Art in America with Terreform ONE - Mitchell Joachim

December 1, 2018
Art in America - Other Voices, Other Worlds by Stephen Zacks 

"Since 2006, Terreform ONE (Open Network Ecology), a NewYork-based firm founded by architects Maria Aiolova and Mitchell Joachim, has worked within what they describe as a “framework of socio-ecological design,” producing compelling renderings and provocative installations that depict biophilic building forms modeled after nature.6 (The studio also proposes larger infrastructure projects, such as a tide-management proposal for Red Hook, Brooklyn, in which former military vessels are used to create a buffer zone to prevent flooding from storms.) Last year, it was commissioned to design an eight-story office and commercial tower in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan.
Monarch Sanctuary, as the building is called, is conceived as a sort of urban breeding ground for the endangered monarch butterfly. Milkweed and other nectar-producing flowers will be planted on the rooftop, rear facade, and terrace of the structure. And there will be separate colonies of butterflies nurtured in an atrium and inside the street-facing double-skinned facade. The project is currently awaiting approval from the Nolita Community Board, after which construction work will begin.

Terreform ONE’s sanctuary is similar to the “forested towers” designed by architects including Dattner and Grimshaw, Stefano Boeri, and Sou Fujimoto. Their work was anticipated by architectural theorists like Christopher Alexander, author of The Nature of Order (1977-2005), a four-volume treatise that is a cult classic among ecologically minded architects. In it, Alexander offered a model for deriving building structures from patterns observed in the natural world, arguing that these lent themselves to human comfort and well-being."

Toward a Living Architecture? with Terreform ONE

Toward a Living Architecture? Complexism and Biology in Generative Design by Christina Cogdell. University of Minnesota Press, 2018.
Mitchell Joachim, Terreform ONE, Fab Tree Hab. pp. 159-160.