Great Wall


When poet Robert Frost wrote, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall," he didn't mean this green wall design. I can't imagine anyone not loving this feat: Longwood Gardens of Kennett Square, Pa., plans to open North America's largest green wall this fall. The indoor green wall will hold 47,000 plants and double the size of the previous largest green wall at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh. The structure is designed by acclaimed British landscape architect Kim Wilkie, in collaboration with architecture firm Michaelis Boyd and local landscape architects Wells Appel.

The 3,590-sq.-ft. green wall will consist mainly of fern varieties, including Holly Fern, Rabbit’s Foot Fern, Button Fern, Asparagus Fern, and others. The very sustainable wall will naturally regulate indoor air temperatures for greatly improved energy efficiency.

The wall design is part of the new East Conservatory Plaza at Longwood Gardens, one of the foremost horticultural centers in the United States. These elements are part of a master plan for the gardens' re-design, created by top landscape architecture firm West 8. Other features of the plaza include an irrigated landform of five terraced tiers resembling steps that borders a lawn, or sculptural clearing, and provides impressive garden views. The lawn will serve as a restful viewing area or the site of events, from parties to educational activities. The tiered area will contain restrooms, lit naturally from ceiling holes.

I'm quite impressed by this ambitious achievement. Longwood Gardens has created a design that achieves the rare combination of aesthetics, function, and sustainability. Their success provides an excellent example of the heights (or growths?) which green design can achieve. I'm sure even Robert Frost would approve.

–Lillian Civantos

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