Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on October 14, 2009
Fresh on the heels of green roofs comes “Living Walls”, sometimes known as Green Walls — the latest trend in the blending of architecture and plant life.
Like the makers of green roofs, designers of living walls highlight the advantages of green living. Green wall enthusiasts tout the bonuses of cooling the house or building with the six inches of soil-plus-plants. The system utilizes a cycle of rainwater collected on the roof and solar power to run the operation.
When your crop is ripe – just reach out your window and pluck the fresh veggies from the wall for your dinner table.
But as is true with many new ideas, there are some bugs… not the insect kind, but the kind that rain on your parade. The high-profile Musée du Quai Branly in Paris incorporates an 8600-square-foot Plant Wall on its southern side. The spectacular structure made headlines all over the world. When installed, it was healthy and vibrant. However, an inadequate support system rendered the wall a costly maintenance problem for the museum. They currently are investigating a more robust system.
Obviously, Green Walls wouldn’t work everywhere. In Los Angeles with the current drought, roof rainwater would have to be replaced by DWP chemical hard water, which sort of defeats the purpose. And where I live in Colorado, I’m not fond of ice cycles on my tomatoes. But I imagine there’s an optimal climate with lots of moisture and plenty of sun that will make these walls useful when perfected.
But are Living Walls a needed element in conservation or simply a 21st century evolution of the English Garden?