It is difficult to pinpoint when the living roof jumped from eco-fantasy to eco-solution — there have been startling and innovative green roofs all across the country and in Europe seemingly forever. But in my mind, technology and design caught up with the dream in 2008 when a sweeping marvel of native plants, wildflowers, and engineering was built atop San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences.
In his own Hertfordshire, Britain, garden, designer Tom Stuart-Smith erected a Corten wall and picked up its red tones with Astrantia 'Claret.'
Few designers speak rhapsodically about concrete or gravel; but rusty steel, well, that’s another matter. The metal, especially a type called Corten, has been coming up in conversations all around the world.
In a crowded Japanese cityscape, glass boxes by ON Design Partners are stacked like the urban towers that surround them. Inside, discrete plantings provide a connection to nature and fresh vegetables for nearby restaurants.