B9_#091 // SUBSTATION // SAMUEL JACCARD
A greenhouse is known for sheltering plants and letting them grow in a regulated climatic condition. Its structure is easily recognizable and appreciated by the majority. Even if the membrane is opaque and the interior not entirely visible, one assumes there are plants growing inside; it is one of the rare architectural examples today where a facade expresses directly its function — where a facade is the function.
What would happen if this structure was used to let another type of plant grow, one regarded by many as ugly? Power plants and other utility structures are often considered to be eyesores, thus built far from the urban centre. Maybe a greenhouse could shelter such plants, not so much for the temperature but for our temperament. Maybe seeing a greenhouse in the middle of the city could even bring a smile to certain faces, may they be young or old. And if one were curious enough to get close to it, playful shadows might appear in an almost organic manner on the membrane.
Much like photographic filters are used to embellish someone’s most hated features, the greenhouse could act like a filter to embellish one of architecture’s most hated feature. Instead of having a bitter view on power plants, we should learn to nurture them by letting them grow in a better environment… for us.
Samuel Jaccard is an Architecture Student at EPFL