Brief 

Plant-covered “living walls” are becoming increasingly popular, as they look nice, produce oxygen, and (when outdoors) help keep buildings cool. A relatively new one is claimed to be more plant-friendly, plus it’s made of recycled materials.

 

Insight

Plant-covered “living walls” are becoming increasingly popular, as they look nice, produce oxygen, and (when outdoors) help keep buildings cool. A relatively new one is claimed to be more plant-friendly, plus it’s made of recycled materials.

Designed by Texas A&M University’s associate professors Bruce Dvorak and Ahmed K. Ali, the 10-ft (3-m) tall wall is located between the three buildings that make up the institution’s Langford Architecture Center. Although it was initially installed over an existing brick wall in 2018, it was recently replanted after an “unprecedented freeze” killed many of the plants last February.

Unlike most living walls, which house the plants in recessed pockets, this one utilizes approximately 300 diamond-shaped planters. These are made from folded scrap sheet metal (obtained from the automotive industry) and disposable matrix trays – the latter are plastic trays used to transport components in the production of printed circuit boards.

Each planter reportedly holds a greater amount of soil than the compartments in traditional living walls, providing more room for the plants’ root systems. Additionally, because the planters protrude out from the wall, the plants can grow straight upward instead of at an unnatural angle.

 

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