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THE GREEN WALL

BUILDING STUDY

The Children's Centre at Paradise Park is the first full-scale realisation of the green-wall system developed by landscape designer Marie Clarke.

Here, in collaboration with DSDHA, the system was customised for three facades, to integrate the building with its landscape. The system comprises a growing medium (Rockwool slabs) enclosed in steel mesh cages which are bolted to the facades of the building. Water and nutrients are distributed through a network of irrigation lines, using rainwater captured in a harvesting tank and topped up by mains water.

Excess water draining through the wall is returned to the tank, to minimise waste. At Paradise Park, 7,000 small plants were installed from a scissor-lift platform and allowed to develop in situ. However, the panels can also be planted early and 'grown-on' in a nursery, and are sufficiently robust to be transported and fixed to a building, to provide instant greening of a facade.

In a move away from the uniformity of climbers, the green wall panels at Paradise Park support an extensive plant palette, chosen to provide a succession of highlights throughout the year.

The vocabulary of form, colour and texture will continue to evolve from season to season and from year to year. While the tradition of the English herbaceous border is invoked by the frequent repetition of species, with some varieties in evidence on all elevations, the planting is subtly adjusted to respond to the specific conditions of each aspect. As with all gardens, the green wall will require occasional pruning and local replacements. However, it is not intended to be a manicured display and, with the low probability of wind-blown seeds taking root, it is anticipated that plants will require attention only twice each year.

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