RIP: London's First Living Wall Isn't Any More
Living walls can be complex things, with pumps to supply water and requiring a fair bit of maintenance. They are also relatively new concepts, and there is still a bit of trial and error going on. DSDHA designed this one three years ago with 30 kinds of plants growing through a thirty foot high wall. A rep from the Islington Council is quoted in the Architects Journal:
‘‘The wall was the first of its type to be installed in the UK and, as with anything new, carried a certain element of risk.
Of course we’re disappointed that it hasn’t thrived. It seems this could be down to its design and we are looking at the best way to restore it.’
The architect isn't too happy either:
‘As architects for the Paradise Park Children’s Centre, DSDHA are greatly dismayed at the current state of the vertical garden installed on the building and remain actively involved with the London Borough of Islington in addressing the problems to do with the landscape and irrigation of this innovative scheme.... It is of great distress to all parties that the situation has not been resolved to date.’
To be fair, these things are tough to do.
When Randy Sharp built the Vancouver Aquarium’s living wall, he made it out of modular components, so you could "unplug" a section if the plants failed to thrive. More in 11 Buildings Wrapped in Gorgeous Green and Living Walls
Edouard François beats the technological problem by planting his vegetation in the ground to avoid complex watering systems. More at Visiting Architect Edouard François: New Works Wrapped In Green (Slideshow)
And Patrick Blanc's installation at Branly in Paris is so high profile, you can bet they are going to do what ever it takes to keep it green and thriving. More: A Really Green Building: Quai Branley Office Wing
So it is a tough break for DSDHA in London, but don't write off the concept yet.