In Southern France, A Bridge is Transformed into a Vertical Garden


Photo: Alex Davies

The bridge that crosses the Avenue Max Juvénal in Aix-en-Provence, in Southern France, is a veritable Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Viewed from the southwest side, its gray concrete facade, decorated only by some graffiti, is drudgery defined. But cross under the bridge to its northeast side, and you won't believe you're looking at the same slab of concrete. That's because in 2008, Patrick Blanc, the French godfather of vertical gardens, added the bridge to his list of conquests.
Photo: Alex Davies

Since 1994, Blanc has installed over 150 vertical gardens on public and private buildings throughout the world. Among the most spectacular is the wall of Madrid's CaixaForum Museum, opened in 2008. The Aix-en-Provence vertical garden measures 650 square meters, and is complemented by a fountain in the roundabout faced by the bridge.

What's great about this example is that it didn't take the opening of a museum or major public building to get it installed. I was wandering the city (a bit lost) when I found myself facing the wall of green. There's no sign to explain or proclaim the achievement, I didn't see it on my tourist map. The bridge is remarkable for its presentation as something beautiful, but not out of the ordinary. So there's only one question left: when is the other side of the bridge getting its makeover?

More on vertical gardens:
New Vertical Garden Comes to Spain's San Vicente (Photos)
Ugly Cooling Tower Gets Vertical Garden Makeover in Spain
Student Designs Rainwater Harvesting Vertical Garden

Tags: Architecture | France | Gardening | Green Building

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