French botanist and ecological engineer Patrick Blanc works at the French National Centre for Scientific Research where he specialises in plants from tropical forests. He is the modern innovator of the urban vertical green wall. Although not the inventor of the vertical garden, Blanc has played a major role in modernising and popularising the style.
Inspired by nature
Starting out with the idea for a biological filter for his tropical aquarium as a teenager Blanc has gone on to create some stunning vertical botanical works inspired by growing on cliffs, cave entrances, waterfalls or fallen rocks without soil. The key being to use the root ability of the plants to grow not only in a volume of soil but also on a surface. He gained his PH. D in 1978.
Supported by technology
Using metal frames supporting PVC plate upon which two layers of polyamide felt is placed. This structure mimics that of moss in a cliff-environment. Blanc uses a network of pipes which control a nutrient solution with all the plants need for growth.
Excess water is collected at the bottom of the wall via a gutter and is recycled back into the network, so nothing is lost. Thanks to its thermic insulation effect, the Vertical Garden offers insulation to its host building both in winter and in summer, reducing energy consumption.
The garden also helps to cleanse the air, with the micro-organisms which live amongst the roots collecting polluting particles from the air and slowly decomposing and mineralising them before ultimately ending up as plant fertiliser.
Biodiversity in an urban setting
Using his botanical knowledge and long lasting experience Blanc has made it possible to showcase a natural plant landscape via man-made material in any city, turning naked and life-less buildings into a Vertical Garden and a valuable shelter for biodiversity. It’s also a way to add nature to the daily life of city inhabitants.
His works can be seen across the globe including Sydney, Miami, Dubai, Paris, Tokyo and New York. Learn more at his website.