Nolita Streetfront May Soon Transform With A Magical Butterfly Sanctuary Building

Claire Leaden Claire Leaden

Nolita Streetfront May Soon Transform With A Magical Butterfly Sanctuary Building

From gardens in abandoned spaces to plastic bans, NYC has definitely gotten a lot greener in recent years, but the buildings themselves haven’t transformed into actual green spaces…until now.

Terreform One, a nonprofit architecture and urban design research group, recently released their plan for an eight-story commercial building in Nolita whose entire facade would serve as a green-ified sanctuary for Monarch butterflies.

Apparently the eastern Monarch population has been dwindling over the past 30 years, and this is one rather unique way to help conserve them. They feed off of the plant milkweed and nectar flowers, which the terrarium building would integrate throughout the building’s roof, rear facade and terrace. Within the facade itself there will be enclosed “colonies” which will also help encourage population growth. These spaces within the facade would be deep (three feet to be exact), so they could be climate-controlled for the butterflies.

Mitchell Joachim, Terreform ONE

“This vertical meadow,’ the terrarium proper, serves as an incubator and safe haven for Monarchs in all seasons,” their website explains of the specifics. “It contains suspended milkweed vines and flowering plants to nourish the butterflies at each stage of their life cycle. Hydrogel bubbles on the EFTE help maintain optimal humidity levels, and sacs of algae help purify the air and the building wastewater.”

Mitchell Joachim, Terreform ONE

Solar panels on the roof would help power the facility.

The 30,000-square-foot building between Soho and the Bowery would contain offices and retail space, and would also hope to help educate visitors about the plight of the monarchs. LED screens down toward the bottom near the street would actually show LIVE views of the caterpillars and butterflies within the building, so people walking by could see exactly what they’re up to.

The firm let us know the projected completion date is 1-2 years from now. A few other outlets have also pointed out that particular street is landmarked, so it may be a bit more difficult to get approvals than anticipated.

The project was initially commissioned by Kenmare Square LLC, Jackie Jangana, and Andrew Kriss.

featured image source: Mitchell Joachim, Terreform ONE

Wellness & Nature