The incorporation of vertical gardens and green facades on in architectural projects of relevance has become increasingly common in urban landscapes with a greater role in the big cities that support excessive pollution (it should be remembered that contamination causes half million deaths annually only in Europe).
One of the most important projects for its size and complexity in the implementation is the Santalaia building in Bogota (Colombia). With more than three thousand square meters of vertical gardens built into the structure of the building, the building Santalaia is currently the world’s largest vertical garden. The environmental benefits it provides a green space of such magnitude are unquantifiable, as well as the media and social impact it raises globally.
Such avant-garde proposal is only possible if the green facade has been designed from the outset of the project, being more complicated joining post facto, no matter its dimensions. However, the vertical gardens on roofs and green roof are a less complex alternative for those already constructed buildings that want to add green areas to its surface.
The concept and purpose are the same, the use of underused spaces to be reconverted into green areas with a double function: aesthetic and environmental. In the case of green roofs, you can also add the possibility of its use as an urban orchard, benefiting the residents of the building with a modest self-sufficiency.
Vertical gardens and green roofs can also perform functions of propagation of native flora of infrequent use, since the native birds spread those endemic species located in the vertical garden pollinating other parts of the city, parks and gardens.
Build successful vertical gardens and lasting green roofs
Both vertical gardening as in the implementation of green roofs, there are two challenges that must be overcome to ensure the success of the green project to be undertaken.
The first is to get a proper isolation of the surface on which plants will stay, because if is not achieved a perfect waterproofing of the floor or façade on which the floral composition will be accommodated, the project and the building that houses will be at risk.
To achieve this separation of elements is necessary to have a proper and proven construction method. It will be useful to contrast previous projects with the technology we choose and check if they persisted over time.
The second challenge to overcome is that living things with which we work, the plants, do not die within a few weeks of being planted. Arranging plants on a space for wich, in principle, are not suitable is relatively simple. The tricky part is to manage the parameters, which provide the chemical receptors that are plants, the necessary elements for proper development.