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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Columbia's downtown plans: A missing ingredient

   With all the talk about the development of a "downtown" in Columbia I keep hoping that there will be features that go beyond the blandness of our current downtown.  I know that the old Rouse Company building is considered to be an interesting building from an architectural perspective but I have blogger before about how I miss color in downtown buildings.  Is there anything that could be considered a "signature" building that has unique style or features that would make you stop and look twice?
   Driving through Baltimore yesterday I was surprised to see mural, pictured above, on the side of a building at Pratt and Light street that looked like it was made out of living plants.  Most of it appeared to be moss and fern plants. How do you get a plant mural on the side of a building.  When I got home I googled around trying to find out more about this mural.  Having no luck I called the Downtown Baltimore office and was pleased to get the lowdown on this building plant mural.  The picture above is from the PNC Bank website. This is the description given in a Baltimore Sun article from last October:
     "Measuring 84 feet tall by 24 feet wide, the wall is made up of 504 vertical planters filled with a variety of ground-cover plants, including phlox, euonymus and pachysandra, all arranged to form the image of a tree with the PNC logo at its base.  At 2,016 square feet, it's slightly smaller than the one gracing PNC's corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh."
   These building mural walls are more than just attractive to look at.  They have the same environmental benefit that plants on the roofs of buildings.  The are great for filtering air pollutants, lessening noise pollution and cooling the surrounding areas.
 Thinking more about how this could be duplicated in Columbia my thought was that given the design of the former Rouse Company building, now to house a Whole Foods, plants on the balconies and walls could have the potential to be a signature building for our downtown.
From Howard County Parks and Rec:

"Online camp registration opens to all non-Howard County residents at 6 PM. Out-of-county residents can register by other methods beginning tomorrow, Feb. 14. We offer more than 240 camps this summer -- everything from arts and crafts, science and technology to the widest range of sports in the area. Click below to view the Camp Guide online. Remember: some camps are discounted 10% if you register early, so don't delay!"


1 comment:

Rhoda Toback said...

Leave it to you to entertain a provocative, sustainable environmental vision.
On a structure no less!
Passing it on. Many thanks.