The Green Over the Gray


We must create alternative images proposing a better life to guide our actions in the future if we do not wish to perpetuate the present. I believe that any architectural project not attempting to propose new, or better, modes of existence is unethical. This task may stagger the imagination and paralyse hope, but we cannot subtract ourselves from its pursuit.

The Western notion of Man’s creations as distinct and separate entities – in contrast with Nature – has exhausted its intellectual and ethical capital. An emerging man-made garden is overtaking the one we were originally given. We must create an a-tectonic notion of architecture, where architecture is conceived as an integral component of that emerging Man-made Nature we are willingly, as well as unwittingly, creating. I see the task of the architect to be that of reconciling our man-made Nature with the organic one we have been given.

For the last 40 years, I have striven to find a built manner in which to integrate Architecture with Nature. In all my projects I have sought to return to the community, in the form of accessible gardens, as much, if not all, the land my building’s footprint covers. Buildings like those of Fukuoka, Phoenix, EUR, Shin-Sanda, just to mention a few, demonstrate that one can have the “green and the gray” giving back to the community one hundred percent of the ground that the building’s footprint covers in the form of gardens accessible from the ground floor to everyone. These projects demonstrate that it is possible to have a building and the garden, one hundred percent of the building and one hundred percent of the greenery longed for by the building’s users and its neighbours.

Conference Speaker

Emilio Ambasz

Emilio Ambasz & Associates Founder & Principal, Architect, Author

Emilio Ambasz is a multiple award-winning architect, industrial designer, and principal of Emilio Ambasz & Associates. Ambasz is an early proponent of green architecture with projects around the world, and Ambasz's trademark style is a combination of buildings and gardens, which he describes as 'green over the gray'. Mr. Ambasz' large number of prestigious projects include the Mycal Sanda Cultural Center in Shin-Sanda, Japan; the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City; the Conservatory at the San Antonio Botanical Center, Texas; the ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall in Japan; Casa de Retiro Espiritual in Cordoba, Spain; Environment Park (EnviPark) in Turin, Italy; and the Veneto Eye Bank Foundation (Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto Onlus) in Venice, Italy.

The author of several books, his brand new book, Emerging Nature: Emilio Ambasz Precursor of Architecture and Design by Lars Müller Publishers, is available now on the publishers' website.

2017 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit

The Mission of the Virtual Summit 2017 is to inform, share, and create a global social media experience online for the living architecture and green infrastructure community with learning and networking via the power of the Internet.

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