The Horticultural Building Systems Lab (HBSL) investigates the relationship between plants, structure, and urban systems through prototyping, consultancy, historical research, and theory. The lab was founded by Richard L Hindle, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of California Berkeley, in 2009/10 to explore the known and speculative reciprocities between plant growth and constructed systems across a range of scales. The HBSL provides consulting, fabrication, research, and design services for advanced building and urban systems integrated with vegetation. Work conducted by the lab also expands the conceptual and historical boundaries of vegetation-bearing architecture and advances studies in the art and science of architecture, horticulture, and urban ecology. Current projects range in scale from 1:1 fabrication of historically significant patents to large scale mappings of innovation in ecological technology.
Horticultural Building Systems are defined here as the instance where vegetation and an architectural/architectonic system exist in a mutually defined and intentionally designed relationship that supports plant growth and an architectonic concept. The most common form of these systems in contemporary design are green walls, vertical gardens, green roofs, vegetated facades, building integrated agriculture, etc, yet the history of these systems may be traced back through greenhouse technology, hydroponicums, horticultural growth chambers, the advent of artificial substrates, and beyond. Horticultural building systems evolved form a reciprocal relationship between plant cultural requirements and architectural technology, the dynamism of which can be traced to the time of Pliny the Elder and the earliest horticultural experiments.