Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

A beautiful butterfly sanctuary could become the latest in New York’s quirky building facades.
In this stunning biodiverse dream design people will work and shop while Monarch butterflies fly alongside them in a temperature-controlled three-feed wide sanctuary.

Plans for the 12-storey commercial building by non-profit Architecture and urban design research group Terreform ONE have been taken up by a local Equities Group. Kenmere Continental say they are extremely keen to go-ahead and create the development. MD Andrew Kriss said “Our own vision was to create a very green, passive building that would be a positive contribution to the community.”

Literally giving sanctuary to a dying population

The building itself is based in Lower Manhattan’s Petrosino Square in Nolita and dates back to 1840. It measures 30,000 square foot. According to the design plans, the butterfly sanctuary – or Lepidoptera terrarium to give it it’s Latin name – would be erected onto the façade of eight storeys and also line the building’s altrium.

Referring to a “vertical meadow,” the design would take the form of a diagrid pattern, held in place with glass and a lightweight polymer membrane known as EFTE foil. 3D-printed tiles produced from carbon-sequestering concrete are to give the insects ledges on which to land. This ‘new biome of coexistence for people, plants, and butterflies’ is designed, according to Terreform ONE, to bring diversity to the city’s downtown area and, at the same time, highlight the problem of the decreasing Eastern Monarch butterfly population.

Last winter in Mexico researchers counted a 15 per cent drop in the number of Eastern Monarchs while in Southern California it’s estimated the population of Western Monarchs has declined by as much as 85 per cent. So worried are botanists that the current US government is currently considering designating the Monarch butterfly an ‘endangered species.’

In addition to providing plants and flowers necessary for the survival of the butterflies on the roof of the building, rear façade and terrace, the designers intend to provide ‘mechanical butterflies’ – or rather, butterfly-shaped drones – to monitor the temperature of the sanctuary. And, finally, the utmost comfort measure for the butterflies: they can fly out in the wild, should they choose to.

LED screens to educate and entrance the public

Passers-by on the street won’t miss out on this fabulous and extraordinary colourful spectacle either. That’s because the designers have arranged for close-up views of the butterflies – thanks to LED screens beaming live transmissions throughout the day and evening. The TVs and temperature control mechanisms are to be run by renewable energy via solar panels on building’s roof.

Planning permission hasn’t been granted for this stunning living façade as we write this – but we’re certainly keeping our fingers crossed! Meanwhile, the group have already created a similar eight-storey version of the design near their own office in Brooklyn Navy Yard. They are also lobbying for biodiversity to be considered when it comes to government stipulations for ‘green buildings.’

Need advice today?

Like to see more stunning facades and learn what is involved in maintaining their beauty and upkeep? Then take a look at our website where you’ll find expert advice and information from our highly-qualified team.

You may also like

Make Sure Your Business Premises Are Super-Sanitised

Are you considering using a professional cleaning company to provide virus deep cleaning of your small or medium-sized business premises? Once the Coronavirus restrictions on working are lifted you, together with any staff, can freely move back into your office, shop or café. But you will all, understandably, be concerned about contracting any potential lingering… Read More

Will Your Warehouse Require Anti-viral Cleaning?

One way to reassure your staff they are unlikely to get the coronavirus COVID-19 when they return to work is to give your premises a professional virus deep clean. Here at Façade Experts we are trusted specialists in thorough and careful building cleaning techniques. To the extent, our customers have included universities, large hotel groups,… Read More

Facade Experts
Façade Skins

Today’s façades reflect commercial intent, push design boundaries, change environments and showcase engineering capabilities. Are modern day façades merely used as a tool to showcase design progression and engineering egos? Are we considering the façade skin and the role it plays in influencing the urban landscapes of our future? With so much emphasis placed on… Read More

Facade Experts
Future façades

As the global economy tries to recover from its last dip, huge investments are being made in the construction industry, both in established and emerging markets. It’s anticipated that the volume of construction output will grow by more than 70% to achieve an annual worth of $15 trillion worldwide by 2025 (Source: Global Construction Perspectives… Read More

Get in touch


01234 964016

or email



Building Transformation’s unquestionable honesty and enthusiasm for ensuring the client receives the correct...

Read More

The work provided by Building Transformation was excellent. Their product and building exteriors knowledge is ...

Read More

Customer service is paramount to Building Transformation and they invested vast amounts of time in providing m...

Read More

The approach and advice on setting up the works at the Wolverhampton Civic Centre were first-class. Building Transforma...

Read More

A 200,000 sq. ft., four-storey leisure venue in the heart of Nottingham city centre surrounded by major traffic routes needed w...

Read More

I am very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. Also the level of cleaning provided and attention to detail is much ap...

Read More

I am using Building Transformation’s work to help justify façade restoration works around our business.  They have produced...

Read More

Building Transformation gave great communication throughout our projects. It will be my pleasure to recommend Building Tr...

Read More

Just signed off the job with Richard. Myself, the bosses and the tenant all are very pleased with the work. It definitely look...

Read More

I had a walk around today with Dave and am impressed with the work so far.  Dave and the team have done a great job. I...

Read More

At this stage, from my point of view your team has been extremely professional, informing us of what was happening at all times...

Read More

We are very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. The operatives on site were very professional and communicated to us...

Read More

The team at Building Transformation understood our challenge of finding a facade cleaning solution that would initially restore...

Read More

Thank you for all the work that you carried out in cleaning the outside of our school.  We are delighted with the results.  Y...

Read More

We will definitely be working with you again! Your engineers were very polite and accommodating every time they visited site an...

Read More

Our Blog

Interested in working with us?

Speak to one of our team today on:

01234 964016

Subscribe US