After our visit to the NHM (posts here, here, here, here, here and here) my colleague Sebastian and I decided to walk around London a bit, checking out a few favourite sights. By pure chance this took us past one example of geologically and biologically interesting architecture each.
First, we happened upon the Athenaeum Hotel on Piccadilly. This hotel’s building has something that the wikipedia page is totally silent on: an outside Living Wall, or Vertical Garden, created by Patrick Blanc! It’s the first building I saw with a Living Wall, although I had read a long and detailed artcile in German magazine GEO about a year ago about the artist and his work.
Only one corner of the building has been turned into a vertical garden. Considering the height (8 floors) and orientation of the building – the corner is facing SW – that still means a lot of biomass!
A wide variety of plants grow on the hotel’s façade, with quite a few flowering.
Cryptogams form a complete cover over the fabric that’s tacked to the wall.
Overall, it is a quite fascinating sight, especially in contrast to the conventional buildings packed tightly around it. The other side of the road is taken up by a park, and it looks a bit as if the park has stealthily crept over the road one night, taken over half a building, and then been cropped back to free the windows.
Check Patrick Blanc’s website for more Living Walls and Vertical Gardens!