The living wall

Providing a new context to the term ‘green hotel’, is the swanky 5 star Athenaeum Hotel in London’s Piccadilly.  In addition to the green efforts that many hotels incorporate of energy saving and waste reducing, comes the ‘living wall’ presented by botanist turned artist Patrick Blanc.   The wall, or ‘wall garden’ as it is more commonly known, spans the entire side of the building, from the ground floor to the penthouse suite, subsequently rendering it the tallest garden in Britain!  Boasting over 12,000 plants from a range of 260 different species the garden provides a varied sanctuary of flourishing wildlife, in an unusual composition.  Blanc carefully selected the plants, not all indigenous to the UK, in order to suit both the climate as well as the overall aesthetic.  A substantial collection of nettles, the world’s largest in fact, as well as Japanese Iris’s and Chinese begonia’s among many others make up this installation of biodiversity, a treat for the budding botanist.  But it does not just act as a showcase for impressive greenery – it also acts as natural insulation for the building as well as an air purification system...so it really does live up to it’s ‘green’ appearance!

Blanc’s signature gardens can be found spanning buildings all over the world in countries from Paris and Madrid to Tokyo amongst many others.  He has perfected his technique of growing his gardens, not on soil, but on a specially designed synthetic felt material within which the plant roots can anchor and grow.  An automatic fertilization and watering system is also in place, completing the components of an intelligent system and great example of botanical architecture. Personally I think it is quite a fun way of jazzing up the side of a building, almost like a sort of live mural or canvas.  Blanc, pioneer of the wall garden – who knows, you may see a living wall coming to a building near you!

1 comment:

  1. I think this looks great, but unfortunately although it does add insulation to the inside of the building, many of the plants will cause the building to decay and erode because you can't underestimate the power of nature.

    It is rather beautiful though!