Butterfly Focus

Incredible, innovative non-profit architectural design research consulting group Terreform ONE are doing wonderful things. With one core message at their heart “Design Against Extinction”, their aim is simple – to create functional habitats that work for both humans and the animals we share the planet with.


Recently the focus has been on the protection of the monarch butterfly, a species at risk due to pesticide use and a loss of habitat. Each year the butterflies migrate from Florida and Mexico to lay eggs in the milkweed plant in New York and this project aims to make that journey a little easier.


The proposed building will act as an office and retail space on the inside, but the exterior will prove much more lively. The eight story construction in Nolita, NYC is designed to have a striking double-layer façade that will act as a stop-over location for the migrating insects, as well as a breeding ground. Planting of milkweed and nectar flowers on the roof and open façade will encourage the species and the semi-enclosed nature of the space should provide sanctuary.


The public location of the awe-inspiring building is also sure to attract attention, and help raise public awareness of the butterflies’ migration, the decline in their numbers over the last 30 years, and their need for protection. Additionally street-level LED screens will enable individuals to have a close-up, magnified look at the caterpillars and butterflies making use of the space.


Terreform ONE describe the building’s exterior as a “vertical meadow” which contains milkweed vines, flowers, and a controlled climate aided by EFTE foil and Hydrogel bubbles to maintain humidity, as well as algal sacs to purify the air. The building’s energy needs will be assisted by roof-mounted solar panels whilst the maintenance of the unique façade will be aided by butterfly-shaped drones that will take regular readings of the microclimate.


Terreform ONE

A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, November 2019.

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