vertical garden

Vertical or hanging gardens help reduce buildings’ carbon footprint.
Image: Shutterstock

Did you know that more than half of the world’s population lives in cities? Cities often offer greater career potential, educational opportunities, and more—but have limited space. As more of the population has migrated to urban landscapes, many have begun to feel the need for more green space—something vertical garden architect Patrick Blanv calls “a welcome oasis.”

Blanc, who was recently interviewed by Tobias Grey of the Wall Street Journal, has been building vertical gardens for three decades. The most challenging of these gardens was designed for One Central Park tower in Sydney, Australia. The building is 160 meters (280 feet) high and the hanging garden stretches from the second floor all the way up to the 33rd. It’s the largest vertical garden in the world.

Blanc told Grey that the tower “has been very challenging” due to its heigth. “Altogether there are 450 different types of plants, of which 250 are local species. When a building is that high there can be a lot of strong wind so I installed a metal grill with large meshing in front of it to make sure the plants are secure.”

Vertical gardens are “like a shop window,” Blanc says, because all the plants are clearly visible—as opposed to a traditional garden, where what you see is determined by your perspective. They also provide a much better view than a blank brick wall or a graffitied building would.

Besides the aesthetic value to be found in vertical gardens, they are also an extremely space efficient way to make buildings more environmentally friendly. According to Architect’s Newspaper, the One Central Park tower’s garden will cover about half of the building’s exterior and cut way down on its energy usage.

One Central Park is a residential tower that is home to more than 600 brand new apartments. And not only will the greenery cover the building’s exterior—it will also expand into the nearby park and buildings, creating a verdant district.

“The lush green tapestry of the structure’s façade will be entwined with the foliage of the adjacent park in order to replicate the natural cliffs of the Blue Mountains… By using plants and natural sunlight, the design projects to reduce energy consumption and will help cut down on the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.”