Two lenses of criticism for the green facades of Oluf Bager Plaza in Odense, Denmark
Keywords:Design Critique, Green facades, Green architecture, Green city development, Dense city, Urban transformation, Landscape Architecture, Thomas B. Thrige Street
Increasingly celebrated, often without questioning, “green architecture” calls for a substantiated discussion. This article explores how design critique can contribute to the thinking and practice around green architecture, particularly green facades, which are growing in number and significance. How can green facades be critically discussed, beyond the dominating glossy project presentations and quantitative measurements of technological and ecological aspects? This article studies the green facades in the architectural competition, Oluf Bager’s Plaza, 2016, in Odense, Denmark, using two traditions of critique: Noël Carroll’s art criticism, in which green facades are seen as part of a designed work that follows certain intentions, and Mary McLeod’s concept of architecture as public domain that requires critical attention towards broader cultural, social, and economic processes. The study shows that the projects for the new Oluf Bager’s Plaza strike a balance between different ambitions, mainly adjusting to the historical context, while also answering the paradoxical double aim of Odense to become a densely built yet green city. The assumption that green facades can bridge the gap between density and green-ness became an important premise for the project. Green architecture should therefore be critiqued from multiple angles, including the ideas, plans, politics, and economics that shape future cities.