Acclaimed landscape architect Karolos Chanikian of Greenways writes about all the new techniques that provide solutions for the urban fabric, improving our quality of life.
Greek cities are in considerable need of green zones. In densely built Athens, in Thessaloniki and almost every city in the country, green architecture has been called upon to provide solutions that are eco-friendly and improve daily life. When we founded Greenways in 1997, the value of landscape architecture was not widely known in Greece yet. It was a huge challenge for us to demonstrate in practice why this sector is necessary, and to change perceptions. Combining the knowledge and know-how of architects, engineers, landscape architects, designers, agronomists and specialized technicians, the landscape is significantly improved today.
There are now several examples of the improvements that green interventions bring to the urban fabric. At the heart of this approach is the element of nature. Neither a building nor a small or large cluster of buildings, such as a city, exist in a vacuum. The way a building adapts to its environment does not only change its aesthetic and financial value but can bring about significant benefits for local residents. Traditional or innovative in its form and infrastructure, the garden constitutes an extension of the building and ought to constitute a sustainable extension of its interior.
Vertical gardens are one of the most popular trends in architecture, and they continue to be adopted in our country too.
From the creation of eco-parks to green atriums and green walls, multiple opportunities exist to add more greenery to our everyday urban life. Today, we see new methods for plant cultivation on balconies, green paving and rooftop farms. For example, vertical gardens are one of the most popular trends in architecture, and they continue to be adopted in our country too. We completed such a project on behalf of a downtown Athens business. We planted approximately 1,000 herbs and plants of 80 different species and lawn vertically on the approximately 40m2 façade. This project made use of my personal patent, based on a real-life natural landscape reminiscent of plants growing through rocks in places such G as the mountains of Crete. Unlike with other vertical gardens, these plants do not need to be in water constantly. Even in the heatwaves of the Greek summer, the garden in question requires only three minutes of watering in the morning and three at night. Thanks to this system, in addition to a green oasis in the very limited space of the capital’s center, the application is friendlier to the environment.