dimanche 20 novembre 2011

BIG living wall (mur vegetal)

Lots of you seem to be interested in living walls.  They are all the rage and add a really unusual aspect to your living space - either inside or out.  Here is the mother of all living walls, photos taken in the summer:-

The Museum was built on a curved site where there was an old disused conference centre.  The Musuem opened on 23rd June 2006 and its creation was supported enthusiastically by President Jacques Chirac. The Museum (known as MQB) houses indigenous art from cultures and civilizations from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.

Vegetation completely covers the exterior, creeping round the windows.  And once you enter behind the enormous glass screen, you find a marvellous garden full of expansive paths, snaking round corners.  Very very exotic, completely in tune with the contents of this Museum.

The building was designed by Jean Nouvel and the 'green wall' is 200 metres long and 12 metres high.  It was designed and planted by Gilles Clément and Patrick Blanc.

The north winds and open expanse of the Seine, running alongside the Museum, has caused regular frost damage to the wall despite the same support system for roots and irrigation and drainage systems being perfectly adequate for another living wall project on the side of the department store BHV (previously featured in this blog).

The building is around 100 metres walk from the Eiffel Tower.

Pretty seating area for picnics or resting your feet

Great view onto the Museum cafe/restaurant

I am so impressed and it's projects like this that make me feel so small for all my tiny efforts to make a difference to the environment through planting.  Imagine all the inspired thought and sheer hard work in bringing these plants, making these paths and all the upkeep.  It is great to see a  pretty new public project paying such meticulous and thoughtul attention to the public spaces outside.  When I worked for an architect, they were obliged by law to add a 'green' element to each boring office block.  This was often achieved with little thought or care and by just 'filling in the formula' by plopping a few sad trees around.  Not for all the projects - they were not all office blocks thank goodness, but there was such a casual attitude 'oh yeah, I forgot the trees'.  Plop plop  plop, now we'll pass this building by the planning committee.

In this MQB project, the grounds and the building were so obviously conceived together and meant to be complementary.  It certainly offers the casual visitor,  the person just passing by taking a detour from the street, a very pleasant calm walk through the towering grasses.  The palette is very simple - green and white (see the clumps of anenomes in the areas with less light) and a lot of the foilage is evergreen.  The high glass wall fronting the space ensures the peace and quiet throughout the garden making it a real haven from the busy riverside.

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