Green architecture can often be taken too literally these days, to the extent that any structure slapped with a plane of grass on a roof or a wall can be too easily equated with do-good design. As architects and landscape architects continue to tinker with the still novel concept of grafting nature directly onto architecture, it is important to look critically at the role of nature in each design that wields a carpet of grass like a badge of moral affirmation.
We had our reservations when we came across the Tapis Rouge! installation in the French village of Jaujac, for which the public art collective Gaëlle Villedary rolled out 1,400 feet of turf grass rollers to create a snaking path of organic matter cutting through streets of asphalt, cement, and stone. According to Landezine, the meandering carpet was installed in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Jaujac’s arts and nature trail programs.
Like a distilled, just-add-water version of the linear park, Tapis Rouge! prescribes a specific circulation through the town. However, its narrow path leaves much to be desired, providing little room to do much anything (only picnickers on a diet could perhaps make something of the limited space). But this seeming inadequacy of design could be seen as the merit of the project as a temporary installation; the minimal intervention modestly introduces a new understanding of the village, one that gathers existing places and spaces and connects them all for a brief duration like a string of beads on a necklace, inviting locals to explore the village anew.
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This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.