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Gardens typically need little more than plants and flowers (and the critters they attract) to awe and inspire visitors, but the Orquideorama botanical garden in Medellin, Colombia takes wonderment one step further through the construction of a steel and wood “flower and tree” canopy.

The Orquideorama was renovated in 2008 by Medellin firm plan:b arquitectos. Felipe Mesa and Alexander Bernal with plan:b wanted the botanical garden’s 14 interconnected modular structures, known as the flor-árbol (flower-tree), to accommodate a diverse range of uses. The space can be used to host events, or act as a butterfly reserve.

The idea was an organic one, with the architects envisioning each flor-árbol growing next to the rest, as flowers would sprout in a garden, or trees grow in a forest. Each new flor-árbol is connected, through its hexagonal, leaf-like top, to the garden of structures with a woven pine roof, and is braced at the bottom with steel stems.

Underneath each trunk, real plants grow and thrive thanks to the build structure above, which feeds water to the greenery. Uniting the natural world with an artfully designed and environmentally sensitive structure (the pine used was sourced from reforested lands), the Orquideorama botanical garden is infinitely enhanced by this patchwork of flor-árboles.

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