The latest trend in urban planning is not actually urban at all. Rather, its a unique way to integrate greenery into an “urban jungle”. “Living walls”, as they are called, are vertical city gardens, smack dab in the middle of a city.
Not only are they a feast for the eye, they reduce air pollution in a crowded cities, without taking up extra space. This is key in places where every square foot represents precious real estate. Most cover existing buildings, transforming bland or purely functional structures into spectacular green oases.
London’s living walls
One of pioneers in this movement is the city of London. It uses the greenery everywhere from luxury hotels to tube stations.
The Rubens at the Palace luxury hotel facade, for example, is London’s largest living wall. Located between Buckingham Palace and Victoria tube Station, the 21 meter high green initiative contains 10,000 plant and helps attract bees, birds and butterflies into the area. The plants are watered by collected rainwater and–according to its designers–can also reduce street flooding.
Another stunning living wall can be found in London’s Athenaeum Mayfair hotel. The entire hotel is covered by more than 12,000 plants. Each floor boasts a different type of greenery.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you entered a forest when walking by London’s Edgware Road tube station. This bleak building on the Bakerloo line is covered with more than 14,000 plants, spanning more than 200 square metres.
Other cities are starting to follow London’s lead. In Madrid, modern art museum CaixaForum itself becomes an art installation with it’s jaw dropping living wall constructed on the old walls of the old electrical station. The next door house to the museum is also covered by a huge garden wall.
In Mexico City, one restaurant is taking the concept of outdoor greenery to the next level: Integrating physical objects into the wall, such as a suspended bicycle offers the illusion that the vertical garden might actually be horizontal.
See any vertical city gardens along your way? Post them and tag us at #getsidekix