The Green Medellin wall, designed by Groncol and Paisajismo Urbano, has become the second tallest living wall in the world with its recent completion in Medellin, Colombia.
In recent years, vertical gardens have become very popular as architects and designers compete to create larger and taller living walls.
In addition to the environmental and health benefits green walls provide, they are being used to enhance buildings' aesthetics, make structures stand out and improve property sales. They also offer prestige for the architects and building companies that implement them.
The Green Medellin wall is 92 metres tall and is located on the facade of a residential building. It features hundreds of native plants that were specially selected to resist adverse weather conditions, such as strong winds and storms, that occur at that height.
The wall's design and construction was carried out by Colombian firm Groncol, while Paisajismo Urbano was in charge of the hydroponic technology behind the project.
Groncol general manager Pablo Atuesta Pradilla said it is officially the second tallest living wall currently completed, surpassed only by Patrick Blanc’s 150-metre tall vertical gardens at One Central Park, an apartment complex in Sydney’s inner western suburb of Ultimo.
There are, however, a number of tall vertical gardens under construction that will surpass the one in Sydney in the near future. For instance, work on the Clearpoint Residencies’ building began last year in Kotte, Sri Lanka. The building's green wall is expected to reach 186 metres in height when work is completed in 2016.
The 46-storey building will become home to the tallest residential vertical garden in the world and will become the first sustainable high-rise apartment complex in that country, with solar panels for electricity generation, a waste water recycling system and planted terraces circling the entire structure.
While the residential building will accommodate 164 apartments, each with 214 squares metres of floor space, the planted terraces in each apartment will help to absorb noise pollution, provide shade and clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide.
The plants in the facade will be automatically watered via a drip-irrigation system using harvested rainwater and recycled bathroom sink and shower water to ensure efficient water usage. This is expected to help to reduce intake from the national water supply by 45 per cent.
In addition, by increasing the size of the covered terraces and using plants for extra shade, none of the building's windows will be exposed to direct sunlight, reducing heat loss and, as a result, lowering energy requirements. The apartments are also cross-ventilated to provide further cooling.
Clearpoint Residencies’ designer Milroy Perera said the aim is to provide the feeling of ground level living, creating a living space where people can not only feel at one with the environment, but actively contribute to its safeguarding and the sustainable use of its resources.