In Frankfurt, Germany, the 27-floor EDEN tower boasts an exterior “living wall system”: 186,000 plants that cover about 20 percent of the building’s facade. Chicago-based architecture firm JAHN, which spearheaded the facade concept, collaborated with local design firm Magnus Kaminiarz & Cie on EDEN tower.
The green wall contrasts with the residential tower’s white balconies and can be seen from inside the units. “JAHN developed the vertical green features to be visible from within the apartments, framing views of the city with greenery,” Steven Cook, executive vice president, JAHN, said in a statement. “This creates a sense of well-being within the living units, instilling a feeling that one is connected to nature, despite being 75 meters off the ground.”
The Benefits of The Green Element
This green element will prove especially beneficial as more people are working from home, Cook noted. “Adding planted zones to a building’s facades that can be experienced from within the apartment gives the residents who might now spend much of their time at home a sense of being connected to the living world,” he said.
One of the biggest challenges, according to Cook, involved attaching the plants to the vertical walls’ steel substructure. The team achieved this by using an extremely strong, lightweight, and non-combustible fabric originally developed by NASA. The plants were placed into linear sacks made from this special fabric, and then the pockets were bolted to the steel substructure.
Non-combustibility also was a concern when selecting the types of plants. Certain ivy species could not be used because they contain highly flammable natural compounds. The plant selection did include a large percentage of evergreens, so the green wall won’t lose all its leaves or turn brown during the winter.
Construction on EDEN tower started in 2019 and is expected to reach completion this summer.
Owner-developer: gsp Städtebau GmbH (Frankfurt)
Design architect: JAHN (Chicago USA) and Magnus Kaminiarz & Cie (Frankfurt)
Architect of record: Jaspers-Eyers Architects (Brussels, Belgium)
MEP engineer: ventury GmbH Energieanlagen (Germany)
Structural engineer: EHS (Germany)
General contractor/construction manager: IMMOBEL (Belgium)
Facade contractor: Aluprof SA (Europe)