Carlo Ratti Associati unveils the design of a covered garden in Milan where spring, summer, autumn, and winter coexist at any moment of the year, thanks to an innovative, zero-net-energy climate control system.
International design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati has unveiled the Garden of the Four Seasons, an enclosed garden in Milan where all four seasons coexist with each other concurrently throughout the year. Based on a concept by Dr. Barbara Römer, founder of the creative consultancy Studio Römer, the project leverages a new system for high-precision climate control, by which incoming solar energy is partially collected through photovoltaics and redistributed among the different seasonal areas, with zero net energy impact.
Hundreds of vegetable species live in the Garden of the Four Seasons, housed under a transparent, responsive membrane of EFTE – a digitally-augmented material that uses sensors to open and close, permitting an accurate regulation of the environmental conditions underneath. By constantly adjusting two main components - lighting levels and heat - the system allows the plants' metamorphosis to follow the different seasonal cycles. Visitors can walk through four seasonal areas, starting with spring and ending with winter, observing nature's transformation through time, as it unfolds in space.
The Garden of the Four Seasons was developed for Citylife, a new neighborhood in north-west Milan whose master plan was designed by Zaha Hadid, Daniel Liebeskind and Arata Isozaki.