A brief history of living walls.
Green Living Walls are becoming a more popular feature in both interior and exterior spaces all over the world, but the idea behind them is far from a design trend. The possible roots of the concept for this innovative method of plant display include an ancient wonder of the world and the concepts of a Midwestern professor. Here is a brief look at the history of green walls in the ancient and modern worlds.
The Ancient Inspiration for Vertical Living Walls
Though it may seem like a modern innovation, the concept of the vertical green walls stretches back through history, possibly to ancient times. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which some scholars say date back to 600 BC, are the first recorded mention of a vertical plant system with built-in irrigation. In the descriptions that have survived of the garden, it was said to be a feat of engineering that includes multiple tiers of plants and flowers across the high brick walls. It was built by the King Nebuchadnezzar II to please his wife, who had moved from a lush green area to marry him. The Gardens are the only of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world that archaeologists cannot reliably give a location, though many locations in Iraq have been suggested as the possible home of the ancient garden. Though the mythical gardens may have been a work of fiction, they serve as inspiration for some of the most breathtaking green walls created by designers today.
Stanley Hart White and The Invention of The Modern Green Wall
The modern green wall with hydroponic systems was developed in the 1930s. Stanley Hart White, a professor at the University of Illinois, developed an early version of the vertical living wall while experimenting in his backyard. He called his invention “Botanical Bricks” and took steps to patent the concept beginning in 1938. The ideas he outlined are still used as a framework for modern living green wall designers.
Patrick Blanc Creates Green Walls Worldwide
The most notable creator of green walls in the last two decades is Patrick Blanc, who was often credited with inventing the concept before Professor White’s work became well known. Blanc has created many innovative vertical plant walls in locations around the world and authored several books on tropical plants. Blanc follows a specific approach to ensure his vertical green walls are sustainable, in any climate. He begins with polyamide felt over a metal and PVC base. The felt emulates the properties of moss, creating a supportive environment for plants to take root. By soaking the felt in a nutrient solution that contains dissolved minerals, Blanc ensures the plants have what they need to grow, and any excess liquid is recirculated through to keep them healthy.
Blanc is based in Paris but has created notable green walls in parks and buildings in major cities around the world, including The Lafayette Galleries in Berlin, Sydney’s Central Park, and the French Embassy in New Delhi.
Today, living green walls can be incorporated into many different kinds of settings, including in office buildings, shopping centers, and even homes. If you want to set up a living green wall in your home or business, Plant Solutions can help. Contact us at 480.585.8501 for help with the design, engineering, and installation of your living green wall.