This beautiful Monarch Sanctuary by Terreform ONE, a non-profit architectural studio, in New York’s Nolita neighbourhood, is an office and retail building that serves as a vital way station, breeding ground and habitat for the at-risk butterfly. The building has a façade that doubles as a ‘vertical meadow’. One can take the live views of caterpillars and butterflies in this vertical meadow.
Monarch Sanctuary 3D Exterior Rendering
The purpose of this building is to protect the North American monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), an endangered species, because of habitat loss and agricultural pesticides. The architects used textured mosaic panels made from 3D-printed moulds in its construction.
Butterfly on Moss Panel
It has artificial flowers as perching stations and nectar feeders throughout. The semi-enclosed colonies in the façade and an atrium give a breeding ground, whereas the porous structure fosters the monarch population growth. The insects have open access to connect with the wild population, increasing total species population members.
Monarch Sanctuary: Cavity View
There is an open planting of milkweed and nectar flowers on the terrace and the exterior of the building, where the butterfly lay their eggs, to draw the interest of wild butterflies on their migratory path.
Life Cycle Diagram
The double-skin street façade has a diagrid structure, which has ‘pillows’ of ETFE at the inner layer and the unfilled glass on the outside along with fly-ash permeated 3D printed concrete to ensure a suitable climate.
Detail View of Concrete Panels
This vertical meadow serves as an incubator and protected place for Monarchs in all seasons. Hydrogel bubbles on the ETFE maintain ideal humidity levels, and the algae sacs filter the wastewater and purify the air. There is a use of Mycelium in the interior partitions.
Monarch Sanctuary- Axonometric
The roof contains a pollinator garden and an education centre. There are also solar panels on the terrace that provides renewable energy, which powers the other LED screens. The open structure allows butterflies to come and go whenever they want from inside the building and the roof.
This 7 story Monarch Sanctuary in Nolita, NYC, is a pioneering project that not only conserves the endangered monarch butterflies, but also raises awareness about this beautiful insect in consort with saving the urban environment with green technologies..
Firm: Terreform ONE
Area: 25,000 sqft - 100,000 sqft
Budget: $1M - 5M
Photo Courtesy: Terreform ONE, Mitchell Joachim
About Terreform ONE
Terreform ONE is a non-profit architecture and urban design research group in the USA. The firm endeavours to combat the extinction of all planetary species through pioneering acts of design. Their projects aim to illuminate the environmental possibilities of habitats, cities and landscapes across the globe.