Islington Council is set to replant its failed £100,000 living wall at the DSDHA-designed Paradise Park Children’s Centre (pictured), signalling renewed faith in the innovative cladding system
The London authority has commissioned expert BioTecture to rework the Clarke Associates-designed living wall, which failed last August. The wall dried out and all of its plants died.
BioTecture’s redesign aims to restore the centre to its original splendour – a move that could allay concerns over the viability of living walls elsewhere.
Deborah Saunt of DSDHA said: ‘[We] are delighted that Islington wants to realise the vision it always had for that building and we’ve been helping it to see the building returned to its former glory.’
An expert observer of the project believes the reason the majority of the plants died was due to parts of a hydrophilic growing medium drying out, leaving vertical rivulets of water running to the ground.
The source said: ‘Once those routes are established you can throw more and more water on it and it will keep following the same routes [and not dispersing].’
The source blamed the assembly and use of the rockwool growing medium on the original design, adding, ‘you can get it 95 per cent right but the five per cent that is wrong will kill the system’.
BioTecture intends to spread the water horizontally across the growing medium, using capillary breaks every 100mm to slow the vertical movement of water.
The firm is trusting in an additional drainage medium, computer logging with text-message alerts and fresh water instead of continuously recycled, to avoid repeat disaster.