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 TheNature 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."