Every green infrastructure project demands a bespoke solution that balances the client’s expectations with the site’s unique characteristics. A complete analysis is, therefore, required to get the right fit between the two.
A green infrastructure project typically begins with the client stating their objectives, which may include creating an aesthetically-pleasing lush environment; providing better shading, passive cooling and cost-savings on energy; ensuring greater privacy or covering up of an unsightly view; and/or enabling an environment that will attract more customers at shopping centres, for instance.
When analysing the client’s expectations, it is a good idea to weigh each aspect of the stated objectives and prioritise them. For instance, a low-cost solution might be one client’s primary goal, while another may be more interested in a low maintenance structure.
It’s important not only to consider the budgetary constraints of the client in relation to the project but also to balance the client’s expectations with what is possible. A design that the client likes may not be suitable for the building or the local environment.
Site characteristics dictate what is possible for a green infrastructure project, which is why a thorough site analysis is also important.
Factors that need to be considered include: climate encompassing weather conditions, seasonal changes, range of temperatures, annual rainfall and sun direction; structure covering aspects such as building height and size, loadbearing capacity, available space, wind forces, position of the building on site, overshadowing or light reflection from nearby buildings, and impact of sun and shade on the building; site access for machinery, equipment and materials for installation and maintenance, which will also determine the methodology used for installation of the structure; location of structure on the building, given how some plants may require full sun and will not grow well on a south-facing wall; and building features.
Since the clients sought a lush and green outcome, the focus was on the plants. A site assessment revealed there were a lot of micro-climates to consider on the site, as well as reflective light from other shopfronts.
There were council concerns regarding airflow rates in the car parks and whether the plants would grow in that environment. The council imposed a condition on the developer mandating that artwork be installed. Thanks to an understanding of the environment and the right mix of plants, the plants have now outgrown the artwork.
Site analysis is paramount to project success
As a specialist provider of Tensile architectural solutions for green infrastructure, Tensile knows that a full understanding of site characteristics is necessary in order to deliver a successful project that meets client expectations.
Tensile’s green infrastructure projects begin with an initial discussion to assess client goals, followed by a research and analysis phase, design stage, and negotiation towards a final project solution.