Brutalism and Green Walls

Brutalism and Biomimicry

Brutalism and Biomimicry

Brutalism is an architectural style using a lot of concrete to make buildings that appear, well, brutal. I find them depressingly beautiful. They also sometimes replicate natural shapes, like crystals or a bunch of square stones piled on each other or whatever that shape is in the photo above. That biomimicry is beautiful.

But that’s not my point. Many people hate brutalism. It can look very Soviet Block. All that gray concrete gets dirty and the whole thing is depressing.

BUT…as a green wall installer it occurred to me that those large waterproof concrete walls are perfect for living walls!

Keep the shapes but make the material beautiful. Green walls and brutalism.

living wall brutalism

Imagine how beautiful a living wall would look on all those surfaces.

 

Eco Wedding Living Walls

Not all living wall installers focus on the same thing. One of our main focuses is wedding living walls. There is nothing more beautiful than a wedding ceremony with a living wall backdrop. We are an ecological company and one of our pet peeves is when clients ask us to build a living wall for a short event, like a wedding, after which they throw the wall away.

Weddings are by far one of the most wasteful ceremonies we have. So much money goes into that one day, only to throw away so much the day after. And the same goes for wedding living walls. They use it as a beautiful backdrop for the ceremony, take photos and then throw it away.

But we realized we could turn this problem into something incredibly meaningful for the bride and groom and something way more ecological:

We build the wall for the wedding and after we take the wall and install it somewhere else. That could be at the newlyweds’ home, so they can always be reminded of that special day. It could be given to a friend or it could be donated. Schools are our favorite. And you get a tax writeoff!

We call it the Eco Wedding Living Wall. Its a great way to extend the love in an environmentally friendly way.

Eco Wedding Living Walls

Eco Wedding Living Walls

                 Here are some very pretty wedding living walls we love.

Heavy Metals in Brooklyn, Not as Safe as Rock & Roll.

Eco Brooklyn is gearing up for it Spring Soil Remediation Projects. A potential client has sent us their Soil Testing Report and it was time to refresh our knowledge on key components of soil contamination and remediation.

Heavy Metal Contaminated Soil

Backyard Soil Contamination

Backyard Contamination Sample

Soil Sample Report

The level of contamination in their report will require root barriers and the addition of six inches of topsoil.

According to the Environmental Sciences Analytical Center at Brooklyn College It is not uncommon for many New York City gardens to have contamination.  The dense urban environment has contributed to an overabundance of metals including: Lead, Chromium, Nickel, Arsenic, and Cadmium.

Prior to the 1980’s heavy metals were used primarily in manufacturing processes. Lead is one of the most abundant toxins that contributes to soil contamination, and was commonly found in paint, print making ink, fertilizers and gasoline.

Chromium is another substantial toxin found commonly in Brooklyn soil. The element was widespread in the production of paint, tanning salts, car parts, and plumbing fixtures.

Heavy metal poisoning often results in birth defects, autism, allergies, weight loss, and even paralysis.

Safe Levels of Toxic Metals

Soil Contamination and Remediation

The chart above, from California’s Environmental Protection Agency,  displays the safe levels of the most common heavy metals found in soil. The second column displays the levels for which the California Office for Environmental Health deems safe for soil use, such as gardening, while the EPA suggests a significantly higher threshold in the third column.

The State of New York does not currently have specific guidelines or regulations for garden soil. If you own a brownstone or home in Brooklyn you can bet your soil has toxic levels of heavy metals.

Testing for contamination is a simple and inexpensive process at Brooklyn College. Just visit their Soil Testing Website, and follow the five easy steps to receive a Soil Test Analysis and/or a Tissue Analysis of your fruits and vegetables.

Eco Brooklyn recommends following the European ECO Label threshold for heavy metals. Soil containing lead above 100 parts per million should be mediated and it is crucial to apply these standards when children are involved. Green building starts with designing a good foundation whether it involves sustainably sourced wood studs or a contamination free lot to build upon.

-Anthony Rivale