Espai Verd in València, Spain

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Espai Verd.

This unique building almost looks like the architects dropped a bunch of blocks in a pile, forming a mishmash of boxy units plopped strangely on top of each other. But though it may look a random, haphazard structure, the building is actually the result of a wonderfully innovative architectural project.

Espai Verd, which means “Green Space” in the local language, is a bustling cooperative building full of small residential houses and flourishing gardens. Its name is absolutely fitting—greenery fills much of the courtyard area and spills out over the exterior walls. Trees and shrubs poke above balconies like they’re trying to break free from the cluster of concrete.

The building was built in the 1980s to incorporate more green spaces into Valencia and strays from conventional architectural patterns. Instead of following the shape of the road, the units were positioned to maximize the amount of sunlight they receive.

Not only does the abundance of flora and sunlight help keep the cooperative’s residents happy and relaxed, it also helps the nonhuman critters that call the area home. The many trees and plants provide otherwise difficult to find food and shelter for urban insects and birds.