Patrick Blanc’s vertical gardens
French botanist Patrick Blanc creates gardens on the walls of buildings.
These growing tapestries provide insulation, help filter rainwater that flows across its surface, create a cooling effect, and lend an often surprising visual interest in places one wouldn’t expect to see plants.
To insure the vegetated exterior wall of the Musée du Quai Branly (below) in Paris is both stable and weatherproof, two layers of felt are attached to plastic sheeting (which also acts as a root barrier), which is in turn attached to a metal framework providing an airspace between the wall and the plant layer. The felt layer retains water fed from a drip irrigation system and provides a good micro-environment for plants. A gutter at the bottom collects any runoff.
Vegetated exterior wall of Musée du Quai Branly, Paris
“There are so many places that need (a vertical garden),” Blanc argues. “Parking lots, train stations, the metro — all those difficult spots, those places where you really don’t expect to encounter the living — that is what interests me above all else.”
Major projects include vegetated walls at the Musée du Quai Branly along the River Seine and Pershing Hall Hotel, both in Paris, and the French embassy in New Dehli.
Among other proposed projects are the large wall of a housing project, which a vertical garden would recast as a green focal point with space for residents to add their own personal touches.
Musée du Quai Branly. Image courtesy of Annabel Harrold.