Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Green Side-Wall in Barcelona, Spain by Capella Garcia Arquitectura
July 13th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Capella Garcia Arquitectura
Construction that consists of a self-supporting galvanized steel structure, parallel to the existing dividing wall, with ground floor plus eight levels above, accessed via a staircase, dedicated to include flower plants lining the facade, like a vertical garden.
The Green Side-Wall consists of a free-standing structure containing plants that form a protective mass of vegetation against a facade in Barcelona, thus creating a vertical garden.
The demolition of an old building left a former party wall visible from the street, creating a negative visual impact on the cityscape because of its conspicuousness. A unique, integrative intervention was proposed that would use living material as one of its themes.
It is promoted by the Barcelona City Council at the confluence of Carrrer Berlin with Carrer Marquès de Sentmenat, and it heralds the birth of novel type of construction in the field of “vegitecture”.
It consists of a free-standing metal structure on an independent foundation, built in parallel with the blind facade of an existing building. From street level, the structure becomes gradually narrower as it rises, to a height of 21 metres. It consists of a ground-floor level and eight upper levels accessible by way of interior steps. From the first to the eighth level, metal platforms are provided on which the flower-trough modules are arrange perimetrally, on two distinct levels. These platforms can be reached, with restricted access, from the ground floor by way of interior steps. This convenience of access is precisely what differentiates this structure from other vertical greenery, maintenance and replanting of which always has to be done from the exterior using elevating platforms, making the process a difficult and expensive one requiring specialised labour.
There are many advantages and benefits of a green facade in a city centre, from both the environmental and aesthetic points of view. First of all, there is the obvious visual enhancement brought about by covering a formerly exposed blind wall in a city street. The green facade is a living surface, continually changing, that protects the wall of the building against the elements, providing cooling in summer and thermal insulation in winter. It generates oxygen and absorbs CO2. It protects against pollution, filtering the dust and other particulate contaminants, and against heavy rain and hail, as well as forming an acoustic screen that dampens noise. Finally, it propitiates the creation of a habitat occupied by many species of flora and fauna, thus contributing to biodiversity, which is so restricted in cities.
The entire structure is built in prefabricated galvanised steel assembled on site, to optimise anti-corrosive qualities. Similarly, the platforms on each level are galvanised expanded metal. The wall at ground-floor level resembles a dry-stone wall, built in rustic brown quartzite, which extends continuously into the paving of the little court opened up in front of the wall. Three plant troughs are located in this space as well as wooden benches integrated into the design, a fountain and an urban telescope enabling the flora and fauna to be observed in detail. Several cut-out silhouettes of birds in galvanised steel plate are positioned on the facade.
For the maintenance of the vegetation that forms the facade, account has been taken of all current requirements for cleaning, safety and sustainability (including a pulley system to transport materials). Water consumption is minimised by means of an automatic programmed drop-by-drop irrigation system with controlled drainage and automatic dosing of fertiliser. Nesting boxes are also integrated. In general, the project has been inspired by the concept of “xeriscaping”, which advocates the rational use of irrigation water, the planting of local species, and, in general, ecoefficient design and maintenance criteria.
The free-standing structure is inspired by the form of a tree. The design of each level is different, giving the facade a dynamic appearance. Furthermore, its faceted shape benefits the distribution of the plants, enabling each variety to receive greater or lesser insolation. It forms a great three-dimensional screen, made up of … elements, the flower troughs, which can accommodate different varieties of vegetation and flora. Thus, the overall appearance of the facade changes with the seasons, but it can also be modified over time or for some specific reason, anniversary, etc. A total surface area of 200 square metres that can display all sorts of shades and textures of green, or indeed different gamuts of floral colours. It is therefore a dynamic facade, always alive and always different.
Advantages and benefits of the green side-wall
Contributes to the biodiversity of the urban space:
– Presence of large numbers of invertebrates = food for birds = nesting sites
Elements of design
Types of plants
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