ARTICLE IN ARCH SA: JOURNAL OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS ISSUE 80

GREEN WALL OR LIVING WALL? A CASE STUDY OF THE UP PLANT SCIENCES’ VEGETATED WALL

ABSTRACT

The purpose of the paper is to investigate the differences between, and the importance and benefits of constructing green and living walls in urban areas. The paper briefly describes the history of the greening of walls over the past 100 years; the nature of a vertical habitat for plants is discussed and the challenges associated with simulating a vertical rock face for cremnophytic plants are investigated. Some examples of green and living walls are presented but, as a case study, specific focus is placed on the living wall at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Plant Sciences where an experimental habitat primarily for succulent indigenous cremnophytes was established. The design, construction, plant selection and performance over the past two years for this project are investigated and presented in detail. The research finds that the differences between green and living walls are not merely semantic, but that there are essential differences in terms of wall construction and planting methods and appropriate plant species. The value of the research lies in the fact that the arbitrary and confusing use of the terms green or living wall is clarified and in understanding the challenges in recreating a cremnophyte habitat; one of the rarest and least researched plant habitats.

KEY WORDS

Green wall, living wall, cremnophyte, UP Plant Sciences