O’ Mighty Green by STAR Strategies + Architecture


O'Mighty Green by STAR Strategies + Architecture

Rotterdam studio STAR Strategies + Architecture have photoshopped green walls over images of iconic buildings to poke fun at the way architects believe cladding a building in plants makes it sustainable.

O'Mighty Green by STAR Strategies + Architecture

The Berlin Wall, Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye and Issac Newton's Cenotaph are among the buildings draped in greenery.

O'Mighty Green by STAR Strategies + Architecture

Entitled O’ Mighty Green, the images are being exhibited at the International Architecture festival eme3 in Barcelona.

O'Mighty Green by STAR Strategies + Architecture

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O'Mighty Green by STAR Strategies + Architecture

The following information is from the architects:

O’ Mighty Green

Sustainability currently shares many qualities with God; supreme concept, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; creator and judge, protector, and (...) saviour of the universe and the humanity. And, like God, it has millions of believers. Since we humans are relatively simpleminded and suspicious and need evidence before belief can become conviction, Green has come to represent sustainability; has become its incarnation in the human world. But sustainability, like God, might not have a form, nor a colour…

1. Emancipation

In a desperate attempt to give shape to an all-encompassing ideology the Green proves to work as the quickest and easiest representation of sustainability. The Green is the only symbol able to keep pace with today’s lack of patience and hunger for images; a Lady Gaga-Sustainability: effective, noticeable, creative, sensationalist. In a persistent effort to become the allegory of Sustainability, Green has been emancipated as its caricature.

2. Function

If the Iconic buildings simply needed to be iconic, the Green buildings simply need to be green. Green as a function. Green allows sustainability to be bought per m2, or to be painted on, or glued on. Sustainability is a Photoshop filter in CS6: Ctrl+Green.

3. Style

Modernism, Postmodernism, Deconstructivism… We have now definitely entered Sustainabilism. Unlike in previous movements every architect can be a Sustainabilist: whether avant-garde, commercial, young, established… It can be even combined with other styles: Eco-Deconstructivism … Architectural magazines and commercial brochures found a common language: the Green. Green is also the point on which the architect, the client, the developer, the politician, and the user agree. For the first time ever we have a genuine International Style.

  • Green buildings can be Ducks or Decorated sheds, and there are some interesting cases of being both at the same time: the Decorated Ducks.
  • Green should be added as the sixth principle to Le Corbusier’s five points, and as the fourth quality to Vitruvius’ triad: Venustas, Utilitas, Firmitas and Sustinebilitas
  • The built … product of Sustainability is not sustainable architecture but Green. Green is what remains after Sustainability has run its course or, more precisely, what coagulates while Sustainability is in progress, its fallout… *Taken from Junkspace by R. Koolhaas
  • Green is the new Black.

4. Religion

  • Green works as faith. Saint Green will watch over the sustainable architects, and will guide them in the Green direction.
  • Green works as confession. The guiltier we feel, the greener we try. The green-looking is usually indirectly proportional to its sustainability achievements. Green has the capacity of reducing all that matters to one single problem, and one single solution: Green.
  • Green is double-miraculous. As if trying to heal cancer with aspirins, Green is the phenomenal formula that turns sustainable everything that it touches. It can also hide graceless designs. Ugly Green buildings are more readily accepted than ugly buildings.

5. Ambiguity

But the Green also hides a perverse dimension… As in a David Lynch movie; everything appears to be calm and harmonious but there is something disturbing… rotting… The Green is the common lie, the secret consensus, the perfect crime; everybody knows that it cannot be that good, that it cannot be that easy, but why bother? It sells, and there is enough Green for everybody.

  • hugo

    'Rotterdam studio STAR Strategies + Architecture have photoshopped green walls over images of iconic buildings to poke fun at the way architects believe cladding a building in plants makes it sustainable.'

    sorry but no serious architect thinks this.

    on a more serious note, adding vegetation to a project does reduce the carbon footprint, reduce heat loads, reduce storm water run off and generally improves the quality of the space and built environment. it's not a total green strategy by any means, but as an integral part of making our buildings more connected to living systems, it is an important aspect.

    • I was about to reply to say how I thought there had been a misinterpretation regarding planting on a building interior/ exterior, but Hugo said it all! I agree in that it's surely more about improving the quality of the inhabitable space by integrating more natural materials into otherwise seemingly harsh, artificial (built) environments? The beneficial psychological effects of green spaces on people's well-being is an intuitive one is it not?

      Though I understand how it can be easily misinterpreted by many as motivated purely by sustainability issues. And it would seem contradictory to use such a technique without considering how sustainable the construction is as a whole, because of the underlying values that (for me personally anyway) accompany the use of green walls. Though these clearly don't always go hand in hand.

    • Jones

      If no serious architect thinks this, then why do so many do it?

      • hugo

        @ jones

        i said that no serious architects think that 'cladding a building in plants makes it sustainable', but that doesn't mean that it's not done. cladding a building in plants is done for many reasons, but no serious architect would think that this is a one size fits all solution to green building technology.

        integrating vegetation of all forms into architecture is an important part of making our cities less harsh, more friendly and healthier places to live in, as well as the advantages previously discussed, but no-one is suggesting that it is a total solution.

        • bill

          a building shouldn't have to be clad in plants to make it sustainable. Sustainable architecture shouldn't have to sacrifice design. Let's face it green walls are not always pretty.

          • Hope

            That’s a matter of opinion and circumstance. I haven’t seen a green wall that was uglier than the wall beneath it. I personally quite like a jungle-y look, especially compared to nasty brutalistic concrete boxes.

  • bill

    You take a little bit of OMA, sprinkle a little bit of SANAA — presto — contemporary architecture.

  • key

    What a nice sermon…

  • Goose 2

    Cladding the penal buildings at Auschwitz in a green screen is a step too far. I don't think the architects of these buildings had any green or sustainable sensibilities. See buildings beyond the sign which reads ' Arbeit Macht Frei' . What are they trying to suggest with these shock tactics?

    • Akron

      I took the use of these vastly different iconic buildings as a tool showing us the effect seeing green can have on our mood / opinion of the building. Watching the video helps because it begins zoomed into the green area first. Perhaps it is too sensationalist, but I think the creator makes a good point about our seeming over-reliance on the power of seeing green.

  • Doug C.

    It has become ludicrous how faddish architecture has become and how embedded simple thinking about sustainability has become. Rem Koolhaas working for oppressive governments in China ,with a rationale or manifesto I am sure, is not unrelated to greening Arbeit Macht Frei'.

  • Rocco

    For every architect who grows a lawn on a roof and calls it 'green architecture' there seems to be another 30-something architect who interned at OMA for 6 months and think this qualifies him or her to pontificate (visa-vi Rem-knock-off manifestos and collages) about the state of the profession. Both are equally annoying.

    • Nori

      Thats so to the point!

    • 30-something

      As a 30-something architect who interned at OMA for 6 months, ten years ago, I tottaly agree. Its difficult to avoid it.

  • Robb

    Lame OMA's students trying to have some-kinda promotion like Rem with his theoretical work. Stop being obsessed with becoming starchitects and do some serious architecture, please, stop boring us, with this pseudo-elitistic blatant self-promotion.

  • Marocco

    Auschwitz-Birkenau = German Concentration Camps

  • Ben Dover

    I agree with Rocco but would like to add 1 thing: Rem Koolhaas is also annoying.

    And I bet the STAR office has no work to do so has time to for this b.s. As architecture is building and nobody except architects themeself think about architecture as having something to say these 'critical projects' are a complete waste of time except in asserting the architects ego.

    Mies van der Rohe hit the nail on its head when he said: "I don't want to be interesting, I want to be good" . Start making good achitecture instead of 'interesting' photoshop images.

  • Babalou

    The Newton Kenothaph, Berlin Wall, L.C. and Dachau… are these guys really architects?

  • Hamad

    The use of the Auschwitz image is a very misguided (not to mention insensitive) attempt on the part of the architect to hide the fact the points in her manifesto are totally generic and irrelevant.

  • Francesco

    Funny how after the architect criticizes the superficial fad of 'greening' architecture, the 'greening' done in the photoshop images is totally fetishistic…she even produced different green wall designs for each of the nuclear reactors.

  • Petraio

    shows the irony of the so-called modern movement. It used to be all about that one tree puncturing out of a cold concrete slab. I also remember Corbu along with many other "progressive" architects saying the radio was so incredible because we now no longer had the need to go to a live opera and have to deal with the crowds and even avoid conflicts with others by staying in your home listening to a radio! and now we want to cover everything in trees/vines and suddenly it's all about the natural world…seems like modernism suddenly found out that it was cold, unfriendly, and not as conscious in terms of the natural world as the roderick so aggressively pushed…

    we are now suddenly into warm, cozy spaces with warm woods and lush landscapes the way most of the world (non-architects/designers) have always wanted it!

    • Steef

      So funny these people that use almost anything to refer to modernism. Modernism was a cultural movement that died during the sixties. Get over it!

  • Sasha

    Sooooo quasi-intellectual. Light-version of AMO…

  • Are any of the people above architects or engineers? …i strongly think not

    I am in complete accordance to O'Might Green! I saw this all the time throughout my last five years of design and blog sites like this, magazines like Azure or news reports on TV that proclaim this new Green sustainable design. However it is just a new shift in consumerism; a fashionable trend blanketed in washed-down scientific engineering. Rarely are projects sustainable to the core – they are "green-washed" with a bike rack (earns +1 LEED credit), toss in a few ENERGY STAR appliances, paint your parking lot white and support a green roof and sprinkle some local plants and as long as your Phillips compact fluorescents are charged with Silicone based photovoltaics your GOLD!

    As a artistic commentary on this process STAR has produced provocative images, be that they are mildly so for mainstream purposes (I hope there were a few clever ones un-released), but nevertheless clear and creative.

    • hugo

      @ jones

      what a silly confused thing to say. who do you think reads this website? social workers, astronauts, pattiserie chefs and baseball players? i think you'll find that a large proportion of the readers are architects, engineers and designers.

  • Steef

    Yes. Architect here. And i think it is no secret that LEED compared to its European counterparts DGNB en BREEAM is fairly inferior.

    The images on themselves are entertaining (except for the concentration camp, which clearly shows the apparent need for some shock image to draw attention), but the accompanying text shows how poor the whole story is. Please Beatriz, make yourself some nice architecture first, before unleashing this wafer thin rethoric.

    • a c

      "make yourself some nice architecture first" IS wafer-thin rethoric.

      I think the problem is you ARE architects. If you were architecture students you would probably better understand the sillyness and frustration of this creed that's being shoven down our throat.

      • Steef

        No it is not. She hasn't actually built anything with her own studio.

        • Ben Dover

          Of course she hasn't built anything. That's because, as so many young wannabe architects who have their 'own studio' , it's all b.s. They consider having a website and fancy name and doing 'studies' and writing articles to be equal to running an architecture office. I don't know about other architects but my work consists of making technical drawings, details, fighting with the contractor and negotiating with all advisers and none of them is waiting for my critical view or theory about architecture. They want production not wannabe Koolhaasian wahwah.

          As I wrote before, architecture is building and not wrting theory or doing 'crtical projects' which remain on paper (and are sooo part of the mainstream 'critical architecture world' that it cannot be considered critical anymore). I think part of the architectural world is seriously misguided in what architecture is about for the last 3000 years.

          But hey, I hope Beatriz hereself will react to this discussion. I'm curious what she has to say for herself…

  • Yellow-lover

    Wow – dost the architecture 'profession' protest too much…? Seems the 'rookie' may have hit a real nerve. Well done.

    • hugo

      @ jones

      no nerve sorry, just not clever or interesting, in fact misguided and pointless.

  • Copycat

    This is not funny, nor provocative. And It's very similar to AMO's greenwashing criticism in Roadmap 2050.

  • KKKD

    What is it, if it is not provocative? It is the most commented article in the last month. I totally agree with the sustainabilism and todays obsession with the 'green' issue of architecture. In 50 years we will be smiling about great green ideas, as we are smiling about failed modern plans, outdated postmodern etc.
    Good work Star!

  • Anna


    noun (plural ironies)

    – a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result:the irony is that I thought he could help me[count noun] :one of life's little ironies
    (also dramatic or tragic irony)a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.


    "A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines." Frank Lloyd Wright

  • Wow, it has been fascinating: reading all of the replies above. Though most of them hold ground one way or the other, my opinion is: there is no need in being negative about anything, because we can learn from everything! So, look at the pictures, read the text and derive the lesson that you think you haven't learned before. And react! That's the point. It all poked my mind, which is good! Now I've learned something about the architect I want to be… Thank you everybody!