Living Walls are Becoming More Prominent in Urban Areas

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Robison Wells
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Gone are the days when a “green” building was merely covered in creeping vines. In a new trend that is part of both urban beautification and environmentalism, “living walls” are appearing all across downtown areas in the United States and abroad.

The largest living wall in the United States is at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) where a wall nine-meters tall and forty-six-meters wide welcomes museum visitors and gives them a respite from the busy city in a sea of greenery.

The SFMOMA wall has 26,000 plants of 38 different species.

“I very definitely think of it as a work of art,” Janet Bishop, Chief Curator of the SFMOMA said. “When you get up close you see not green, but purple flowers, pink flowers, yellow flowers and sometimes butterflies in front of the wall. I love that people really gravitate to it.”

In a state that is often in drought, sustainability is important. The SFMOMA wall is fed by reutilized and reclaimed water: they use condensation from the building’s air conditioning system which is added to a recirculating tank that also stores rainwater and other gray water sources.

David Brenner, who designed the project, has made some 200 other living walls across California. And it’s not merely in art museums. On the 61st floor of San Francisco’s tallest skyscraper, the company Salesforce built a space they call the “world’s greatest living room.” With a 360 degree view of the city, and 24 columns, there are 128 plant species, 48 different orchids, and 25,000 total plants.

To learn more about living walls, visit CGTN.

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