In the famous words of the legendary singer Tom Jones, “It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.” And just two years from now, the facade of the EDEN residential tower in Frankfurt am Main will be one of the greenest façade in the world. In EDEN’s case, the green, green grass of home takes the shape of vertical gardens.
It probably makes sense to begin at the beginning: Just what are these vertical gardens that everyone is getting so excited about, including architects, real estate aficionados and environmentalists, and how are they installed and maintained?
In hotel lobbies, office foyers, multi-story car parks and shopping centers around the world, living walls, also known as vertical gardens, have been a feature for some time now. There has been a noticeable growth in the popularity of indoor living walls, and the facades of medium-high buildings can be equipped with plants of all kinds. But a complete high-rise residential building with a green living facade? According to Christiaan Bakker, specialist for green exterior wall systems at Sempergreen, the 98-meter EDEN residential tower in Frankfurt will be the first 70-meter-plus building in the world with a green facade.
This stunning high-rise apartment building, designed by the renowned international team at Jahn Architects, is adorned with a unique combination of vertical gardens and a filigree glass facade. In EDEN, state-of-the-art architecture forms a symbiosis with the power and beauty of nature in a way that has never been seen before in an ultra-modern high-rise.
The 27-story EDEN residential tower fits in perfectly with the city’s green philosophy and the facts speak for themselves: EDEN will feature a total of 186,000 plants over an area of almost 2,000 square meters (as 20% of the façade). Most of the plants will be planted on the building’s exterior facade, creating a striking and highly visible green wall that is sure to amaze passers-by and visitors to EDEN. In the lobby, a 37-square-meter living wall will create the feeling of an urban jungle in the heart of the city. Claudia Blum of Studio Architects Düsseldorf has also developed an interior design concept that integrates plants throughout the building. Her principal theme is nature, with other elements included to provide subtle, background accents. And when it comes to EDEN’s balconies, the living wall’s plants provide privacy and a genuine outdoor experience.
EDEN’s vertical gardens are far more than just attractive architectural and design features. The green living facades also create a host of benefits for the tower’s residents (for example improvement of acoustics and sound emission), and the climate. Green facades absorb CO2 and particulate matter and provide a cooling effect and cleaner air as well as making a valuable contribution to maintaining the diversity of urban fauna. Green indoor walls ensure a healthy indoor climate, reduce noise levels and are flame-retardant. In offices, they even increase employee productivity.
As Christiaan Bakker from Sempergreen explains: “Vertical gardens make a significant contribution to the physical and psychological well-being of residents.” They even extend the life of a building’s facade. These numerous advantages increase the overall value of the property.
When it comes to looking after the plants, vertical garden experts have developed efficient solutions in recent years. Tending to the plants’ needs is now largely handled by automatic systems: Irrigation and nutrients are supplied with the aid of small drip lines and an irrigation computer. The plants can be monitored around the clock from an off-site control center. The technological sophistication of the system is certainly impressive. Christiaan Bakker explains: “The irrigation system installed on the roof automatically supplies water and fertilizer to the plants for a few seconds at a time. At night, the system pauses because the plants rest. Sensors in the panels monitor moisture levels and allow us to check fill levels via computer.” The vertical gardens even have their own frost protection system. As soon as there is a risk of frost, the system switches itself off and ensures that the water drains off before it can freeze in the pipes.
With such a truly innovative project as EDEN, it was important that the architects and green facade specialists worked in perfect partnership. The considerable weight of the planting system, the complex network of water pipes and the space for drainage all needed to be expertly integrated into the building’s planning from day one. In addition, the plants are chosen with the utmost care. In the case of EDEN, the plants are individually selected for the project and planted a year in advance on precision engineered panels before being attached to the building with the help of a gondola. “Given the height of the building, the installation is of course more time-consuming than with other green facades,” explains Bakker. EDEN is truly a project of superlatives. For the green facade specialists at Sempergreen, the vertical gardens are more than just a business: “Our cities are growing and we need to make more space for greenery. Vertical gardens are an ideal, and very necessary, solution as we seek to create more green spaces!”
There is hardly another city in the world so perfectly suited to the combination of vertical gardens and high-rise architecture than Frankfurt. The metropolis on the Main River is rightly famous for its exciting skyline. Urban greenery is also deeply rooted in the city’s DNA – in the truest sense of the word. One of Frankfurt’s preeminent garden architects, Franz Heinrich Siesmayer, created the famous Palmengarten 200 years ago. In total, he is credited with having designed and landscaped more than 300 parks. Greenery has always played an important role in Frankfurt’s urban planning: the miles of green belt running around the city’s core and more than 40 urban parks make a valuable contribution to creating a balanced urban climate. More than 52% of the city’s urban area is green.
Here you can find more information about the condominiums in EDEN.