A Beginner’s Guide to the Art of Eco-Brutalism With Plants

Designers and architects build sustainable structures that are both functional and visually appealing.

By: THURSD. | 11-10-2023 | 6 min read
Architecture How It Works
Plants in architecture

Brutalism with plants, often known as eco-brutalism, is a modernist architectural approach that is gaining popularity among designers and architects looking to build sustainable structures that are both functional and visually appealing. Unlike traditional brutalist architecture, which commonly uses heavy concrete and other environmentally detrimental materials, eco-brutalism focuses on using sustainable and natural materials in an environmentally beneficial and visually beautiful manner.

Your Guide to Eco-Brutalism and the Art of Plants in Architecture

Steel, concrete finishing, and an overall sense of practicality that is often required in a post-war culture define brutalist structures. Essentially, brutalist structures are designed to prioritize usefulness over all else. If you've never heard of eco-brutalism, it's an architectural style that relies on the juxtaposition of opposing ideas.

The term eco-brutalism refers to the marriage of brutalist design and the green associated with sustainability. The juxtaposition of harsh concrete and greenery hanging from buildings allows for a unique set of concepts and thoughts. Nature's bright, resilient life and gloomy human design are examples of these principles. The incorporation of trees, plants, and other green elements converts brutalist constructions into eco-brutalist structures. These features utilize natural light to enhance environments. Eco-brutalism is essentially a combination of brutalist style and greenery.


Twenty three hotel Medellin with plants


Eco-brutalism combines austerity and life, resulting in magnificent places that celebrate life while maintaining a brutalist backdrop. It is related to sustainability because adding greenery reduces their environmental imprint. This has resulted in a surge of interest in this kind of construction, with more of these structures sprouting up on our streets.


Hotel in Medellin with lots of plants in eco brutalist style


Five Ways to Achieve the Eco-Brutalist Look With Plants

Eco-brutalism is a design philosophy that emphasizes the use of raw materials, bare concrete, and minimal ornamentation to create environmentally sustainable architecture. Here are some strategies for achieving eco-brutalism in design:

1. Grow Native Plants

Plants that are native to the area and require little upkeep and water should be prioritized for eco-brutalist architecture.


Growing native grasses and plants in architecture
Photo: @connorenright_jeweller


The key to eco-brutalist gardening is to select plants that are native to the area and require few inputs. You may build a sustainable and resilient landscape that is both attractive and functional by picking plants that are well-suited to the local environment.

2. Create Vertical Living Walls

Living walls are an eye-catching method to incorporate plants into your brutalist structure. They not only create a statement, but they also help to purify the air and improve the general environment of your room. Hydroponics or any sort of soilless growth method can be used to grow plants such as ferns, mosses, and ivy on a vertical surface.


Vertical wall of plants in building
Photo: @chrispavphoto


An indoor vertical garden has various advantages, particularly in commercial landscape design:

3. Install a Green Roof

Due to its multiple environmental benefits and capacity to add to the overall appearance of the structure, a green roof is a prominent component in eco-brutalist design. The installation procedure requires meticulous planning and design, which includes assessing the structural capabilities of the structure and identifying the best sort of green roof system to utilize.


House made with AI with greenery all over

Waterproofing, drainage, soil layer, vegetation, and maintenance are also important considerations. Native plants and grasses are frequently employed in eco-brutalist design to create a naturalistic appearance that integrates with the surrounding terrain. Overall, implementing a green roof in eco-brutalist design necessitates careful planning but is a beneficial investment for many building projects.

4. Opt for Functional Planters

Functional planters are an important element in eco-brutalist design since they serve both practical and aesthetic functions. These planters, which can be created from sustainable recycled or natural materials, must have sufficient drainage to minimize water collection. Functional planters are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways, including:


Plants on a buildings window edges
Covent Garden in London by @keef1988


5. Create Contrast With Dark Colored Planters

In eco-brutalism design, creating contrast using dark-colored planters entails paying attention to a variety of elements such as plant selection, hardscape materials, and lighting. Here are some tips for creating contrast with dark planters:


Bulding with different types of plants and colors
Milan skyscraper by @travelicious.people


Nowadays, hundreds of architecture firms and studios are incorporating eco-brutalism into their designs because the idea and panorama are clear: the world is becoming greener than ever when it comes to the usage of plants in interior and exterior spaces.



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