The idea of a living wall conjures up all sorts of images, but in reality it is nothing more than a wall completely covered in vegetation. In order to create a living wall pre-vegetated or fabric panels containing plastic containers, or geotextiles, as well as irrigation systems and vegetation are attached to the wall or supporting structure. This form of urban gardening is often designed as an art form to decorate buildings in cities and has been hailed as one way to make cities more enjoyable, healthier and ultimately greener places.
1. Musee du Quai Branly [Paris]
One of the best loved vertical gardens inhabits the walls of the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris. Created by Patrick Blanc, the inventor of vertical garden systems, this living wall is simply stunning. Not only do these types of vertical gardens improve the appearance of buildings, but they also improve air quality and lower energy consumption.
2. SkyFarm [Toronto]
This 714 foot structure in downtown Toronto, Canada is a superb example of how living walls and vertical gardens can actually be profitable as well as beautiful. The 58 story building only requires 1.32 hectares of land and yet will have 8 million square foot of agricultural space due to the vertical design of farm. It is said that the crops could yield up to $23 million in revenue per annum.
3. CaixaForum Museum [Madrid]
Another amazing living wall design created by Patrick Blanc, the CaixaForum museum has become a popular tourist attraction largely thanks to this creation. Approximately 15,000 plants of 250 different species were used to cover this 24 metre high wall. The juxtaposition of the old building with the vibrant and alive wall makes this a truly spectacular and memorable building.
4. Vancouver Aquarium [Vancouver]
This award winning living wall was created to act as a noise buffer from the city street and to prove that buildings and ecology can be integrated to enable cities to become greener. Covering 500 square feet the wall is made up of thick modular panels and supported by a galvanized steel frame, making the installation of replacement plants easier and more cost effective.
5. Marche des Halles [Avignon]
Another fabulous living wall design by Patrick Blanc, this creation illustrates that not only are urban vertical gardens ecologically beneficial but they can also prove to be highly artist creations as well. The ingenious design means that no soil is required and the careful selection of plants means that maintenance is kept to a minimum.
6. Qantas First Lounge [Sydney International Airport]
Traveling, even when on holiday, can be stressful. Airports are busy, noisy places and waiting for a flight is incredibly boring and sometimes frustrating – but not if you are one of the lucky few to wait in the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney Airport. Here everything is designer, and the presence of a living wall automatically de-stresses a person. Simple, elegant and a great work of art – this is definitely one of Patrick Blanc’s best pieces.
7. Parabienta [Japan]
This eco-friendly living wall is the result of a collaboration of two Japanese companies, Shimizu and Minoru Industries. Said to be relatively inexpensive to create and maintain, the living wall makes a significant contribution to cooling the building thereby helping to lower energy consumption.
8. Siam Paragon Shopping Centre [Bangkok]
The Siam Paragon Shopping Center would have looked positively dull if it wasn’t for the living walls strategically placed in the interior of the mall. Creating a calm atmosphere and adding color, the architecture now looks absolutely stunning. It is a great example of how bringing gardens indoors can spruce up any interior, especially 0% credit card carrying locals and tourists looking to splash some cash.
9. Rica Talk Hotel [Stockholm]
The restaurant in the Rica Talk Hotel was transformed into a botanical oasis by Michael Hellgren, a landscape architect. To fill the 82 meter square space, he used approximately 3000 plants from more than 100 different species. The effect is a cozy, natural environment making this a truly unique restaurant.
10. Oulu Bar & Eco-Lounge [Williamsburg]
Cited as Brooklyn’s first living wall, the Oulu Bar & Eco-Lounge certainly attracts attention with its huge external living wall. Manufactured by a company called ETL and installed by Green Living Technologies, this stunning vertical garden covers the entire front facade of the building and makes a beautiful contrast against the wooden door and window frame. The entire building looks designer chic proving that being green can be trendy.