Friday, April 22, 2011

Botanist Come Vertical Landscape Designer

Happy Friday!

Today’s Environment of the Week will be Vertical Graden of Quai Branly Museum, by Botanist Patrick Blanc. The building was designed by architect Jean Nouvel.
Thank you John Parker for today’s YEOW suggestion!
[If anyone else has any YEOW’s they’d like to share, please feel free to let me know! Thx J]

Plants have found a home on walls for centuries, but are sometimes incongruous with architecture, often breaking down the structural integrity of a building’s facade. Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Garden System, known as Le Mur Vegetal in French, allows both plants and buildings to live in harmony with one another. The botanist cum vertical landscape designer is probably best know for his gorgeous living wall on the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (shown above). But Blanc’s Vertical Garden System can be implemented anywhere: indoors or out and in any climatic environment.

The three-part system consists of a PVC layer, felt, and metal frame, providing a soil-free self-supporting system light enough to be hung on the wall, and even suspended in the air, weighing in at less than 30 kilograms (14.3 LBS/ SF= 30 kg/ m2) per square meter.

The Vertical Garden can be used as an impressive outdoor system, or can be used indoors, with the help of artificial lighting. The natural benefits of the Vertical Garden are many: improved air quality, lower energy consumption, providing a natural shield between weather and inhabitants. No matter where you live, urban or suburban, cold or hot, indoors or out, the Vertical Garden brings a little bit of green to all.

                                                           Botanist come Landscape Designer.

 View from street side.

 View from across the street.

 View from below

 Corner Detail

   Facade at Corner 

 This is a really unique transition in material.

You  can find more pics and info. about this building here:



  1. nice work Mike! this may be tricky in the DB market, but keep an open mind...

  2. How do you think they insure air flow to avoid masonry deterioration? Also, are these on vertical irrigation systems or if the plants are all ground sourced then how long until the wall is green? Any Evergreen recommensations to avoid that scrubby winter look?

  3. One of the beauties of transpiration is that air is constantly moving- albeit at an almost imperceptible rate. That flow may be enough- or i guess the PVC may be acting as a barrier between the living wall and the masonry. Or maybe use a waterproof concrete that shrugs off the water?

    It is certainly irrigated, a description of another system in London at the mint Hotel is here:
    "The greenery is kept alive through a high-tech automatic irrigation system, which waters the plants and disperses nourishing liquid fertilizer. Should the system fail, it is connected to a message center that sends a S.O.S. in the form of a text message to the landscaping company."
    My guess is that the plants are grown elsewhere and installed for an instant and complete green wall.
    Finally, about the "winter look"- personally I embrace it :) There must be some evergreens that do the job, but not sure what they are using in Paris.