We’re big fans of living walls – when a building surface become a sort of vertical garden, covered in flora and fauna. They pretty up the city, do their little bit to clean up London’s air, and generally just remind us that plants are good.
So we’re very happy to tell you that London’s largest living wall has just been launched, on the side of the Rubens hotel in Victoria, a mere butterfly-flap away from Buckingham Palace.
The wall is 350 square metres, featuring more than 10,000 ferns and herbaceous plants, and somehow keeps 16 tonnes of soil stuck to the side of the hotel. It has been designed to attract birds, butterflies and bees, and to reduce urban flooding.
The vertical garden will capture rainwater from the roof of the building, cutting down the risk of floods, which happen to be high in the area because of low-absorbency urban surfaces. The tanks can store up to 10,000 litres of water.
Armando Raish, managing director of Treebox, said: “Due to the variety of plants used in its construction, we expect the living wall at the Rubens at the Palace to significantly increase the number and variety of bugs and bees in this part of Victoria, helping to promote biodiversity and return nature to this urban environment.
“The wall will also help improve the respiratory health of the people who live and visit Victoria by absorbing pollutants, an important feature of the wall given the mounting evidence that shows just how harmful particulate matter can be to human health.”
Ruth Duston, CEO of Victoria Business Improvement District, which carried out the initial project that led to the new living wall, said: “While green infrastructure inevitably improves the aesthetics of the area, it also has a substantial positive impact on the long-term environmental sustainability of an area.
“The Rubens at the Palace Hotel has demonstrated a huge commitment to the delivery of a sustainable agenda, their appetite to engage and lead on such an iconic project really showcases the greening agenda overseen by Victoria BID to deliver a model of best practice for London.”
Jonathan Raggett, Managing Director of Red Carnation Hotels, of which the Rubens at the Palace is a part of, said: “We’re excited to be unveiling the Living Wall on the side of the Rubens at the Palace. It was a project we bought in to from the very beginning and thanks to the belief and investment of our owners, it’s not only been brought to fruition but significantly enhanced from the original concept stage.
“We take the issue of sustainable tourism very seriously across the entire Red Carnation Hotel collection, and this wall will minimise the hotel’s impact on the environment and also improve the air quality and aesthetic in this part of London.”