A temporary facade at Rotterdam’s central administrative office includes a vertical garden, two basketball courts and street furniture.

Restoration work is by nature a glum affair. Not only does the work usually disrupt the visual and aesthetic continuity of the building(s) it obstructs, but it also warps the public space before it. Don’t you remember your first trip to, say, Paris, storing up your anticipation for weeks on end prior to that long Atlantic crossing, Hollywood films playing in your head and Jacques Brel ringing in your ears, only to find the Notre Dame blemished by an unseemly graphic tarp that grossly mimicked the now-hidden facade?

Paris would never be the same again (not that that’s a bad thing).

Not the case with 2012 Architecten‘s temporary facade at the Stadskantoor, Rotterdam’s central administrative office. The architects were asked to design a public artwork that would span the expanse of the building facade while repairs were made and a secondary building we constructed nearby. They responded with a "vertical garden" comprised of stacked potted plants nested within window frames. The plants were arranged into naive arboreal forms, which were nurtured by collected rainwater.

Aside from the garden, the architects also installed two basketball courts and street furniture to flesh out the new public square. The whimsical design, which was completed last spring, was commended by city officials as an example of how the municipality will orient urban change to come.

]

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    Who’s Really Buying Property in San Francisco?

    A lot of software developers, according to an unprecedented new analysis.

  2. Environment

    No, Puerto Rico’s New Climate-Change Law Is Not a ‘Green New Deal’

    Puerto Rico just adopted legislation that commits it to generating all its power from renewable sources. Here’s what separates that from what’s going on in D.C.

  3. A toddler breathes from a nebulizer while sitting in a crib.
    Environment

    How Scientists Discovered What Dirty Air Does to Kids’ Health

    The landmark Children’s Health Study tracked thousands of children in California over many years—and transformed our understanding of air pollution’s harms.

  4. a photo of a beach in Hawaii
    Transportation

    Could Hawaii Be Paradise For Hydrogen-Powered Public Transit?

    As prices drop for renewable power, some researchers hope the island state could be the ideal testbed for hydrogen fuel cells in public transportation.

  5. A large crowd packs Independence Mall, with Philadelphia buildings in the background.
    Environment

    What Happened to Earth Day?

    In the beginning, it was a policy-shaking event that awakened a new generation of activists. But now even environmentalists have misgivings about it.