The exponential increase of urban development has choked out many of our green spaces, creating less access to fresh produce for consumption, as well as clean air, forcing us to become more adaptive to our surroundings for sustainability. Many cities worldwide are starting to adopt new ideas in gardening that will change the way we live and breathe by creating vertical gardens, living walls, and sky farms. Since vertical gardens and living walls can be grown on any type of wall structure without the use of soil, and because they can also be grown equally indoors and out, they are increasing in popularity and are beginning to proliferate around the globe. Not only do they look gorgeous and smell fragrant, they also help purify the air naturally.
Patrick Blanc is one of the world’s foremost pioneers in the art of vertical gardening and has developed his own science behind the engineering of his projects. After observing how plants really didn’t need much soil to grow vertically in the wild, he adapted his newly learned techniques into his artistic installations. Using lightweight, low-maintenance materials and vegetation, he has transformed many spaces worldwide.
Here’s a few examples I found on environmentalgraffiti.com of some of the world’s most innovative and coolest looking garden spaces:
Musée du quai Branly in Paris, France
Paris has become a mecca for vertical gardening. This museum is located near the Eiffel Tower and features one of Patrick Blanc’s most famous vertical gardens. This wall measures approximately 200 meters long, and is about 12 meters tall.
Sky Farm, Las Vegas, U.S.A.
This project has been proposed in the City of Las Vegas to create a $200 million sky farm in the city centre. It would become the world’s first 30 story vertical farm, which could bring an estimated $40 million in revenue for the city. Comprised of 30 floors of indoor gardens, with around 100 different types of crops, it would have the potential to feed 72, 000 people every year. Still in the early planning stages, one can only hope that it comes to fruition.
SkyFarm, Toronto, Canada
Toronto is also in the planning stages of a proposed vertical farm called the SkyFarm, which would be built on a mere 1.32 hectares of land in the downtown core and have 58 stories of farming space. It would help feed approximately 35, 000 people a year and would boast 8 million square feet of growing space for crops – producing the same amount as a 420 hectare farm. It is also estimated that it would bring in $23 million in revenue to the city. Here’s hoping everything goes through.
Parabienta Living Wall System, Japan
This garden wall was manufactured and marketed by two Japanese companies. The product they have designed is inexpensive, lightweight, and extremely functional. Running at about $60 a square foot, Parabienta allows for plants to grow vertically and also doubles as a cooling system for the building through the naturally occurring shade that is produced by the plants themselves.
Fondation Cartier, Paris, France
This wall was planted in 1998 and has not been trimmed since. The only maintenance involved with this vertical garden is to have a gardener come by every 2-3 months to remove dead leaves, or to replace dead plants with new ones.
BHV Homme, Paris, France
This popular Parisian department store boasts a 30 meter high vertical garden which includes over 250 species of plants.
Club Med Champs-Elysees, Paris, France
This first-class resort features a breathtaking vertical garden that showcases plants from five different continents and is visible from outside. They light it up at night to create an even more beautiful and luxurious feel to the upscale location. Though smaller than the gardens that are mentioned previously, it stands as a work of art on its own and is representative of the magnificence that can be created through this medium.
Pershing Hall Hotel, Paris, France
This vertical garden can be found in the courtyard of the Pershing Hall Hotel in Paris, and makes the most of its small space to create an elaborate garden.
CaixaForum, Madrid, Spain
The CaixaForum is the newest of the museums in Madrid and is bursting with innovation at every turn. One of the walls on the exterior includes a 24 meter high vertical garden, featuring over 15, 000 and more than 250 species.
Siam Paragon Shopping Center & Emporium Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand
Vertical gardens can be found all over Bangkok, including the Siam Paragon Shopping Center, and the Emporium Bangkok.
ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall, Japan
The rooftop at the ACROS Fukuoka building is 100, 000 square feet and features 18 stories with 15 stepped terraces that can be climbed by anyone with the strength and perseverance. The purpose of these terraces is to create a sense of calm and a peaceful environment in which to escape the bustle of the busy city. These terraces include waterfalls and small pools to add to the serene environment.
Living Walls, the Netherlands
This building has been transformed into a living, breathing structure thanks to the plants that grow on it’s surface. Instead of growing in soil, they grow inside a thin layer of felt and rock wool that keeps them clinging in place and they are fed with recycled rainwater that is pumped through the material into their roots.
For more on Patrick Blanc and his vertical gardens, visit his website