In Barcelona, a Living Wall Is More Than Architecture: It's 'Vegitecture'

For architects in Barcelona, "vegitecture" is the new "green living." They've built a vertical garden straight in the city's residential quarters.

The environmentally-minded designers at Barcelona firm Capella Garcia Arquitectura take the idea of “green living” to heart. Their latest project, helmed by partners Juli Capella and Miguel Garcia, reimagines and reinvents a unsightly wall left behind from a former building demolition. Their solution: a completely natural makeover.

Completed in March, the “Green Side-Wall,” promoted by the Barcelona City Council, is a foray into what the firm has christened “vegitecture,” or a vertical garden with emphasis on the structure's original architecture. The main material responsible for bringing a breath of fresh air to the residential area: Plants—oxygen-producing, living green that cascades down the once plain wall.

Spanning a height of 21 meters, the vertical garden is supported by a steel structure that stands apart from the building’s façade. An interior staircase provides individuals easy access to the metal platforms throughout the structure, where they can access and maintain the living wall on different levels. These “platform gardens” include a mix of planters, bird nesters, wooden benches, and a fountain. A pulley system enables the efficient transport of materials throughout the frame. The flora are cared for with an automatic irrigation and fertilizer system with controlled drainage.

The design of the frame was inspired by that of a tree, and the the wall provides similar benefits to the surrounding neighborhood, including an extra layer of thermal insulation or cooling depending on the season, air filtering against dust and air contaminants, oxygen production and carbon dioxide absorption, and a padding against external noise.

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via Michael Belanger / Flickr

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