Hydromedia brings nature into cities and fights the heat-island effect

11 October 2021

In our increasingly urban future, we must build greener cities where nature and people can thrive together. Nature-positive solutions such as Hydromedia can help achieve this integration.

 

With its permeability properties, Hydromedia allows direct rain-water infiltration over the whole surface of the project, meaning we can create an urban forest environment.

Andrej Bernik, founder of Fieldwork Architecture
fieldwork team andrej
 

In Aubervilliers, France, we worked with Fieldwork Architecture on the Lisière d’une Tierce Forêt (‘Tertiary Forest’) project, which fights the heat-island effect while giving citizens a green recreational space.

We spoke with Andrej Bernik, founder of Fieldwork Architecture, to learn more.

What was the concept behind this project?

Lisière d’une tierce fortêt is a forest and an urban space at the same time, similar to a public square. We achieved this by superimposing a dense tree plantation (the forest) and a hard, yet permeable concrete pavement. For us, trees and nature are necessary components of urban infrastructure.

Their shade gives protection from the heat, as does the cycle of evapotranspiration (the sum of evaporation from the land surface and the transpiration from plants). To achieve this combination successfully, we need precise technical solutions, especially for water management and soil preparation.

hydromedia ig 2

One of these technical solutions was Hydromedia, Holcim’s permeable concrete. How did our material serve your project?

With its permeability properties, Hydromedia allows direct rain-water infiltration over the whole surface of the project, meaning we can create an urban forest environment without need for irrigation.

 

Few materials on the market can offer this permeability and structural stability at the same time. Hydromedia also conforms to other regulations, such as universal accessibility and fire engine access. We were also impressed that Hydromedia is produced with abundant local materials.

Lisière d’une Tierce forêt was completed in Aubervilliers, near Paris, in 2020. Has it inspired subsequent projects?

With the first project we developed a method that we are now applying in different parts of the Paris region. Currently, we are working on a "vegetal sidewalk," as well as two school courtyards.

At Holcim, we are committed to becoming a net zero company and spearheading the transition towards low-carbon construction, while also promoting a circular economy, from alternative fuels to concrete recycling. On our journey to become nature-positive, we commit to accelerate the deployment of solutions such as Hydromedia for more liveable urban environments. We are proud of being part of projects such as Lisière d’une tierce forêt, where perceived summer temperatures were -2.5 °C on average over 24 hours, and as low as -6 °C around mid-day.