Garden of the Four Seasons lets you experience all four seasons at once

Carlo Ratti Associati designed the garden with an innovative net-zero energy climate control system.

July 18, 2017 |
Inside the winter pavilion in Carlo Ratti's Garden of the Four Seasons

Rendering courtesy Carlo Ratti Associati

Cue the Vivaldi; Carlo Ratti Associati has wild plans for its recently unveiled Garden of the Four Seasons design that will allow visitors to experience all four seasons at once at any point throughout the year.

Commissioned by Citylife, a new neighborhood under development in northwest Milan based on a master plan by Zaha Hadid, Daniel Liebeskind, and Arata Isozaki, Garden of the Four Seasons aims to reclaim a closer relationship between urban dwellers and nature’s cycles, according to Carlo Ratti Associati.

The project is based on a concept by Dr. Barbara Römer, founder of the creative consultancy Studio Römer, and makes use of a new system for high-precision climate control. Incoming solar energy is partially collected through photovoltaics and partially distributed among the different seasonal pavilions (each season will be housed in its own pavilion within the overall garden). All of this is accomplished with net-zero energy consumption.


The Autumn pavilion in Carlo Ratti's Garden of the Four SeasonsRendering courtesy Carlo Ratti Associati.


A transparent, responsive EFTE membrane is covered with photovoltaic cells to produce clean energy year-round. A heat exchanger takes the captured solar energy and can heat the summer space or cool the winter area. Heat transfer between the pavilions is also possible and allows each one to achieve the desired intermediate environmental conditions.

The EFTE membrane will house hundreds of vegetable species within the garden. Built-in sensors will open and close the membrane for precise regulation of the enclosed environment. Lighting levels and heat, the two main components of plant growth, are closely monitored and regulated, which will allow the plants’ metamorphosis to follow the different seasonal cycles. Additional sensors will measure the quantity of water, temperature, humidity, and nutrients needed by each vegetable species and relay the information as a series of real-time “tweets” coming from the plants about their status.


Rendering courtesy Carlo Ratti Associati.


Visitors can enter the garden in spring and walk through to winter, observing nature’s transformation along the way. People can dine al fresco during the cold winter months or hold a wedding in the Eternal Spring area.


Rendering courtesy Carlo Ratti Associati.


The Garden of the Four Seasons will cover over 2500 sm.

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