Saturday, 17 November 2012

Urban Air - Living, Breathing Billboards

Urban Air's Billboard Installation

Who wants a boring old bank ad or a in-your-face government message staring back at you while stuck in traffic when you can look at this!! 'Urban Air transforms existing urban billboards into living, suspended bamboo gardens. Embedded with intelligent technology, Urban Air becomes a global node - an open space in the urban skyline.' [cite]

When commissioned to create one of these gardens in the sky, the team at Urban Air strips the billboards of their commercial facade and installs a series architectural planters filled with living bamboo trees. Creating a bamboo forest suspended in the sky, sure to brighten up everyone's commute to work. 

Wireless senses are used to communicate an array of data, monitoring soil moisture content, air temperature and air quality. It is also suggested that this information be publicly accessible on smartphones, further promoting green city living.

Photos sourced from

As temperature in cities keep increasing, installations like these could, not only absorb harmful chemicals and pollutants out of the air but also help combat the 'urban heat island' effect. Most of a city's hard surfaces (metal, concrete, plastics) absorb solar radiation throughout the day, storing heat and then releasing it back into the local atmosphere. This leads to a localised increase in temperature in built up urban areas ranging from 1 to 6 degrees Celsius. Plants absorb this solar radiation during photosynthesis utilising the sun's energy to live rather than heating the surrounding area. Plants can further reduce the effects of this urban heat island phenomenon through evapotranspiration, where moisture from the leaves evaporates into drier, warmer air, providing a natural cooling effect.

I think this is a great idea, taking under utilised space to a new level!

Below is their Kickstarter campaign video

Sourced from

I wonder if bamboo would work in Melbourne or whether the climate is too harsh. Maybe various succulents could work?

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