Living Walls, Vertical Gardens - from the Flower Pot to the Planted ­System Facade

Green facades are in. Architects have recognised the positive effects of plant facades on microclimates and energy bills. As well as creating a relaxing psychological environment, builders also appreciate the promotional effects that green buildings’ attractive natural surfaces have on an increasingly environmentally savvy customer. Whereas in the 1980s green walls were predominantly a sign of environmentally friendly one-family dwellings in the middle of green areas, often in Germany, today they adorn museums, hotel lounges, high-end boutiques and upper-management office space in the world’s biggest cities – both inside and out. Alongside traditional creeping plants such as wild wine and plants growing on wires, holohedral-planted facade systems are taking hold; so-called “living walls” or “vertical gardens”. Which systems have made it on to the market? Where are the artificially watered, complex living walls sensible? And, why can plants actually survive without any soil at all, making them useful for effective, light construction? Among the famous examples is the Musée Branly from Jean Nouvel in Paris and the Caixa Forum from Herzog & de Meuron in Madrid.
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