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Living Walls

6th April, 2016 by Geoff

Walking around our cities you may have noticed the green revolution. The current phenomena of integrating vertical gardens into architecture is doing much to soften a hard environment, making it easier on the eye.

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Not far from the Spoken Image studio is the recently refurbished Deansgate-Castlefield tram stop with its rather splendid 'living wall' that cleverly hides what could otherwise be deemed a boring facade. The designers have also included panels of plants and flowers that spread out between the tracks and are passed over by the trams presenting a nice touch to the commuters using the stop. 

Credit for the refurbishment design of the tram stop must be given to architects SimpsonHaugh and Partners, who like Spoken Image, has its headquarters near to the station. 

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Every major city now has vertical gardens somewhere, like the Bosco Verticale in Milan or Le Mur Vegetal at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris and further afield like the Sears building in Vancouver or the 1200 square metres of vertical garden at Sydney’s ‘One Central Park’ building.

Apart from being aesthetically pleasing and providing a sense of wellbeing to the onlooker, green walls have other attributes. I am told they protect the structure of the building from frost damage as well as protection from sun and rain, therefore helping to extend the life of the building; the plantings also help with insulation. On a wider note, the vegetation helps to regulate air temperature and also combats air pollution in our cities by trapping particles on leaves.

The question is, how much maintenance do the green walls need to continue to look fresh and stay healthy over the coming months and years. Will they survive? - let’s hope so.

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One Central Park, Sydney

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