NATION’S LARGEST GREEN WALL OF NATIVE PLANTS BREATHES LIFE IN SF MOMA

May 21, 2016 by

 

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by Lucy Wang  INHABITAT
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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) opened to incredible fanfare on Saturday, as thousands eagerly poured into the newly renovated museum that nearly tripled its gallery space after a three-year expansion project. While Snohetta’s new design and the museum’s dizzying amount of art—there are 19 inaugural exhibitions—will be the main draw to many, we have our eye on another museum addition: the SFMOMA Living Wall. Part art, part landscape architecture, the giant living wall designed by Habitat Horticulture is the nation’s largest public green wall of native plants that also boasts impressive eco-friendly elements.

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The massive living wall stands at nearly 30 feet in height and stretches to a width of 150 feet. David Brenner, Founder and Principle of Habitat Horticulture, designed the SFMOMA Living Wall as a natural extension of the California landscape. Since the green wall is located in a fairly shaded area, Brenner drew inspiration from the understory plant community of California’s woodlands and created a highly textured planting plan evocative of the forest floors of Mount Tamalpais, Muir Woods, and the East Bay Regional Parks. The final design comprises 19,442 plants with 37 different plant species, 21 of which are native to California and the San Francisco Bay Area.SFMOMA-Living-Wall-by-Habitat-Horticulture-6

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“To fully experience the wall, walk the length of the terrace as if it were a trail within a forest,” said Brenner. “The path offers the viewer a multitude of intimate discoveries of fragrance, color, and texture in the foliage. Next, look at the wall in profile, where the various dimensions of plant forms are showcased and where the undulating white facade of the building is embraced by the soft textures and lushness of the plants. It is where nature and architecture meet and become one.”

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Related: Dazzling LEED-Gold seeking SFMOMA finally reopens this week

The living wall offers a multi-sensory experience that attracts not only visitors, but also local fauna like birds, bees, and butterflies. Certain plants will undergo seasonal changes and create an ever-changing play of texture and colors. The felt used to hold the plants is made from recycled water bottles and recycled polyester. To save on water usage, condensate water—a byproduct of the museum’s air conditioning units—and stormwater are recycled for use as irrigation. Any runoff from the wall is also captured and reused to reduce water use by 60%.

+ Habitat Horticulture

Images © Henrik Kam, courtesy SFMOMA

by Lucy Wang

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Habitat Horticulture installed California’s largest indoor living wall in the heart of San Francisco’s south financial district at Foundry Square III. Home to the Neustar and LinkedIn headquarters, Foundry Square III is also lushly inhabited by 12,500 plants that cover the publicly accessible lobby. The stunning living wall was designed with sustainable, water-saving features that helped the building achieve LEED Gold status.

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Designed by Habitat Horticulture’s David Brenner, the Foundry Square III’s lush green space spans two living walls. The first wall comprises 1,426 square feet of monochromatic greenery planted with Philodendron cordatum, Geranium cantabrigiense ‘biokovo’ and Asplenium bulbiferum, and serves as a backdrop for white bronze statues. In contrast, the second 1,027-square-foot wall is planted with 23 different plant species and offers greater variation in texture, color, and volume. The plants were specially selected for their ability to extract toxins from the air, such as the Philodendron cordatum’s effectiveness at filtering out formaldehyde and VOC’s.Foundry-Square-living-wall-by-Habitat-Horticulture-6

Related: Habitat Horticulture’s Green Living Partitions Divvy Up San Francisco’s Largest Patio Space

Both living walls were created with two layers of geo-textile growing felt made of 100% recycled plastic bottles (PET). Drip irrigation provides water and nutrients to the plants, and the excess water is collected, filtered, and recirculated back into the system. If you’d like to see more of the lush green wall but don’t live near San Francisco, you can always take a closer look at Foundry’s lush living wall in this virtual panoramic tour.

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