vertical density

Patrick Blanc has been featured all over the internet, but somehow I hadn’t picked up on the scale of his work before now.

A French contemporary landscape designer, he has perfected a kind of pared-down hydroponic system to enable large-scale vertical gardens.

But what landscapes!  Saturation! These are wall-of-sound-with screaming-feedback areas of plant intensities!  If Hunterwasser was reincarnated as a ? Japanese noise band horticulturalist?

A while back I had read one of his texts, from his then-unpublished book Vertical Gardens, but I had no idea of the possibilities he was taking vertical gardening to!

I am very curious about the system beneath the plants.  It seems to consist mainly of circulated water and nutrients, and drainage.  A metal frame is installed that supports two layers of polyamide felt . These layers mimic cliff-growing mosses and support the roots of many plants. A network of pipes provides a nutrient solution containing dissolved minerals.  The roots of the plants take up the nutrients they need, and excess water is collected at the bottom of the wall by a gutter before being re-injected into the network of pipes.

This polyamide felt – how strong is it?  I am assuming the plants grow right in to it, which would mean that it could be potentially pretty flexible, though I would imagine the waterflow from the pipes would need to be continuously feeding it.  There seemed to be some controversy there about the pipes being made from PVC, as has been discussed in the Topological media Lab’s system design.  I wonder if it is as long-term a system as implied. (I would like it to start eroding the surface of the building, and thus create areas of exchange, slowly transforming the buildings into living systems.*)

Nevertheless,  Blanc’s system is very elegant, to permit work on such scale. Very impressive.

Very intense.  Full-spectrum plant space.

Do check out his website, and a video interview.

Apartment Therapy has a list of websites for his work and his book here.

*Some examples of my favorite established, long-term living systems are highlighted over at Tokyo Damage Report, including this one:

!!! What I would’t give to see this in full summer!!!


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