Architectural Vision Living Buildings: Chris Bribach
My love of architecture resulted in the fortunate opportunity to attend and receive a 5 year bachelors degree from SCI-ARC in 1992. The school was located blocks from Frank Ghery’s office where ideas for an organic future were just beginning to brew.
I was excited about organic ideas in architecture and created chaos sculptures made by many pieces of structural elements connected in a free-form structure. They were assembled seemingly chaotic however the goal was to create a redundantly efficient organic space frame. The system of assembly becoming a process that organically achieves structure similar to how a bird might build a nest. Only in human scale I created what I called ‘performance architecture’ where the audience would create their own experience resulting in a structure.
The act of creating space with the materials at hand, quickly, and efficiently also describes ancient dwellings. Nomadic communities living in harmony with their environment for thousands of years used very little to build comfortable homes. The act of passing down ancient wisdoms evolved a rich architecture sensitive to environment and efficient use of local use of materials.
Our massive industrial urban centers of today are plagued with paved and roofed surfaces that require enormous amounts of energy to create and maintain. Why can’t buildings be covered with living foliage to cool homes. Sun exposure no longer decays our roofs, but instead cools them and even possibly grow food.
In 2008 I turned to the work of the visionary artist Patric Blanc who began growing vertically in the 1970s using his home fish aquarium. Replicating the natural growth along cliffs and sloping surfaces, he created beautiful vertical gardens using nutrient water that flows over synthetic felt. Excited by the potential, I explored the slit-and-staple method Patric offered in his book, The Vertical Garden, where Blanc removes almost all the soil when planting. It quickly became clear that a mastery of botany would be required to provide proper water and nutrients hydroponically. Finding this far too difficult for the rest of us, I simplified the concept by pleating the felt and stapling it to a lightweight non-toxic plastic board to create easily plantable pockets and efficient to manufacture. I wrote and was granted a patent for the ‘Vertical Garden Panel’ filed Sep 2, 2010.
I was committed to using sustainable manufacturing methods that I learned from William McDonough’s book, Cradle To Cradle, so I worked with manufacturers to develop a synthetic growing medium made from recycled plastic water bottles that I called Florafelt. This lightweight material will not only last indefinitely but can be re-melted to create other products.
Florafelt Vertical Planters are proudly made in the USA from materials also made in the USA. Our team assembles planters and systems for happy customers throughout the world.
There’s nothing like the joy you feel when you fill a wall with plants.
Sincerely, Chris Bribach
CEO and founder of Plants On Walls,
Inventor of the Florafelt System.