The Green Factory by MVRDV & The Why Factory

The Green Factory: An Exhibition by MVRDV and The Why Factory in Hangzhou Envisions a Universe of Cities Seamlessly Integrated with Lush Plant Life.

Welcome to the green city: a world of cities covered and made by forests and plants" – that is the central principle behind The Green Factory, the latest exhibition by MVRDV and The Why Factory that opened at the O2 Museum in Hangzhou on 19 September

Curated by Aline Chahine | 
September 22, 2023
| Est. Reading: 2 minutes

The exhibition explores MVRDV's projects through the lens of green design, guided and refined by The Why Factory's "The Green Dip" research. This synthesis blends the meticulous inquiry of an academic think-tank with the practical application of an architectural firm, further enhanced by the immersive presence of a thriving green environment that extends throughout the exhibition, even within the confines of the building.

The Green Factory by MVRDV & The Why Factory
The exhibition entrance : a refurbished factory | Photo © MVRDV

The Green Factory presents the work of The Why Factory, the think-tank established at TU Delft by MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas, which provides greater depth and context through their "The Green Dip" research. Investigating the possibilities and effects of a radical greening of our cities, Hangzhou, Singapore, Dubai, Paris, and New York are spectacularly reimagined, as these metropolises serving tens of millions of people daily become thriving green havens. The research delves into the context that makes this greening necessary – the global challenges we face and the urgency required to confront them – as well as the results that doing so would achieve. It also presents "The Greenmaker", a software concept that provides a step-by-step manual to integrate plants into any surface of a building, with consideration of the biome in which the building is located.

The Green Factory by MVRDV & The Why Factory
The display of models and MVRDV greening projects | Photograph © MVRDV

It is surrounded by an array of hundreds of MVRDV's greening projects, identifying 26 ways greenery can be designed into both individual buildings and urban landscapes, concluding with an overview calculating the total green area included in the proposals, and effects such as the carbon storage potential of all their greenery.

Symbolising our ability to create and recreate the natural world, a park has been created on the floor of the former factory, which spills outside to the plaza, becoming part of the programming of surrounding buildings and available to the public day and night. Planted with a mix of grasses, ferns, flowers, and mosses in a thin layer of soil, project models of a variety of scales are positioned throughout the space, creating the effect of a city on a micro scale, and allowing us to believe what can be possible.

The Green Factory by MVRDV & The Why Factory
Photograph © MVRDV

"Tackling challenges presented in the spheres of architecture, urbanism, and the world-at-large is core to the work of both MVRDV and The Why Factory, and no challenge is more pressing than designing solutions that alleviate stressors on our environment and climate", says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. "In our 30 years as a practice we have persistently sought to add more greenery to cityscapes to enhance our wellbeing through nature, to increase biodiversity, and to mitigate climate impacts. The time has come to scale up. With this exhibition, we hope to inspire others to join this movement."

The Green Factory opened to the public on September 19 at the O2 Museum, Hangzhou, China (located at Building 5, Wulin Constellation, Gongshu District, Hangzhou). The exhibition will be on show until 31 December; the museum is open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-18:00.

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