Koninklijke VHG, a Floriade Expo 2022 partner
The garden and the greenery on and in the Food Forum pavilion reflect Flevoland’s past, present and future: living and working below sea level. Members of the Koninklijke Vereniging van Hoveniers en Groenvoorzieners (Dutch Royal association of horticulturalists and landscape contractors (VHG)) have added an extra dimension to the pavilion, which shows the value of green in practice. The Food Forum is an example of a Living Building and the perfect contribution for the VHG to make tor Floriade Expo 2022.
Pleasant, healthy buildings
More and more construction companies and governments agree that the time has come to start to build differently. Green entrepreneurs are playing an essential role in this shift, committing their expertise and skills to the development of integrated and feasible green solutions that pave the way for better, pleasant and healthy buildings and locations. The VHG developed the Living Building concept to add green onto and into buildings; the value of green for people, the climate, nature and the economy are key. To help and inspire green professionals, clients, (landscape) architects and project developers to achieve the integrated design, construction and management of living buildings, the VHG has produced a detailed handbook containing more than 400 examples of actual living buildings, plus information based on scientific research and hands-on experience. The VHG has also produced two other handbooks: De Levende Tuin (about living gardens) and De Levende Tuin (about living gardens) and De Levende Openbare Ruimte (about living public spaces).
Greenery has extra added value for biodiversity and the climate (water collection and treatment, insulation and the reduction of heat stress). Greenery also has a very positive impact on human well-being and health. Plants and trees help reduce noise, improve air quality and create visual tranquillity (inside and outside). Greenery that is skilfully created and maintained is a valuable investment not a cost item.
The VHG creates ‘green connections’ for people and society, making its partnership agreement with the province of Flevoland an immediate win-win for both of them: the province wanted to see greenery around, on and in Food Forum and VHG entrepreneurs have the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver a beautiful green result. The VHG and its members will showcase themselves and their work to visitors via their green contributions on and in the building.
The business cards of green professionals
The participating VHG businesses designed and created the beautiful green outdoor space, the roof garden and indoor planting for the sustainable, circular Food Forum:
Indoor planting: Koninklijke Ginkel Groep
Outdoor space design: Copijn
Roof garden: Van der Tol
Groundwork and paving: Urban Green Collective (partnership between Idverde, Boogaart Almere, Sight Landscaping)
The wealth of indoor greenery in Food Forum helps purify the air and create a natural atmosphere. The 44 plants upstairs add atmosphere to the benches there and also help purify the air and create natural partitioning. This ‘arboretum’ is the ideal place to brush up on your plant knowledge too, because the name of each plant has been added to the glass partitions for your information. Big plants complement the light downstairs space perfectly. Planted green walls can be found on both sides of the kitchen and the central bar too.
The garden has been designed to tell the story of Flevoland: a big block of marine clay ‘lifted up’ out of the sea. The slender, waving grasses and airy Gypsophila bring sea foam to mind and it’s hard not to imagine that you’re underwater once you’re inside.
The wind-proof planting in the 10-metre high roof eaves complements the garden and reinforces the image that Food Forum creates of land being ‘lifted’ out of the sea.
The VHG: ‘green connections’ to people and society
The VHG represents the interests of green entrepreneurs. Its 1,100 members create, renovate and maintain private and company gardens, public green spaces, roof and vertical gardens and interior planting and provide specialist tree maintenance. The VHG itself brings the social and economic added value of green to the attention of the political world, institutional parties and citizens on behalf of the sector. It’s a sector that wants its business practices to be socially responsible and that provides services that contribute to the quality of the living environment and human health.