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New Construction ('Modern Architecture') and Greening (ca. 1920 - today)

Greening 'up' (facade greening) was initially frowned on in the Bauhaus era of "modern architecture" (1920) because it reflected the older "garden city" style. Bauhaus was all about clearing off the ornamentation and embellishments on buildings. Minimalism was king. The new ideal was the "living machine," and so clear, angularly-cut facades were created-- often without details-- and had a somewhat cold, repellent, even soul-less effect. Since then, things have relaxed a bit and greened walls are no longer taboo: naturalness, warmth, and fullness of life-- and with them full-greening-- are once again "allowed!" At the same time, there have been undesirable developments where greening is sometimes intended to compensate for poor architecture...

"Modern Architecture" architecture by Werner Wirsing, 1986, Munich
"Modern Architecture" architecture by Werner Wirsing, 1986, Munich

Older Single-Family Homes

The few original houses from the Bauhaus period until approx. 1935 are under the strict protection of the government-- the historical monuments preservation department. They are usually painted only white, because this was the typical colour of the "new building." The houses appear bright and pure from afar, but can be shrill and glaring up close. Greening is virtually impossible here, even if it would soothe the blinding effect of the facades ("only the original" is the motto). At least it could be possible to put simple potted plants in front of the walls. With houses from later times, greenery may be used, but self-clinging climbers and also strong vigorous plants should be avoided.

Grapevine, reconstruction in "international style," Morgenitz / Usedom / Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Bauhaus-style and greening with grapevine

New Single Family Houses

When greening 'new buildings,' plants are preferred which do not grow 'wild' (like self-climbers) but need assistance from cables and wires to form and grow. It is recommended to discuss a facade garden/your greening wishes with the architect at an early stage, because it can then be integrated into the stylistic language of the building. Below you can see examples with cable systems; modern trellises are also possible. The installation of a cable system may be challenging if special façades need to be greened.

New construction in the international style, wire rope system 8010 modified, espalier fruit
Greening and International style

Pre-Fab Buildings, approx. 1950

Starting around 1950, ideas of "modern architecture" were also implemented for social (municipal) housing. Facade greening didn't play a role here at first, but in the course of the environmental movement, the first attempts were made around 1980. To safeguard rental quotas (occupancy rates), these buildings were redeveloped and rennovated en masse and also greened, (especially windowless gables), starting around 1990. Unfortunately, the result was that these facades were often expressionless, even after walls were brightly painted (walls with ETICS would not stand any dark colours). And, such large-scale greenings were sometimes neglected or even cleared, because of lack of interest and care.

Dutchman's Pipe, Erfurt-North / Thuringia

Office and Commercial Buildings

The conditions for office and commercial construction have also changed since 1920, with "green building' playing an increasingly important role. Facade gardens have become an integral component of a high-quality architecture. Parking garages are greened, high plant-climbing walls are more common... life without facade greening in all its facets is now almost unthinkable. Completely new greening systems are also being tested, but are still quite maintenance-intensive.

Shopping mall with four separate green fields of wild vines, Leipzig-Liebertwolkwitz / Saxony
Building greened with wild vines

Functional Buildings and Negative Trends

A negative trend also begins to emerge now. Functional buildings (warehouses, car parking houses, protective walls, etc..) begin to be perceived more and more as eye-sores and disruptive enough to require greening as a compensation measure. Naturally, the positive insight is that greening can improve the appearance of large, boring, unsightly, or uniform areas. The shady side of this thinking: a builder/owner can take advantage of this fact and must then no longer take the trouble that is necessary to create high-quality buildings. One could equate "modern buildings" with expressionless, cheap, dull facades. And greening is reduced to just a covering/coating to provide consolation to the architect, provided that 'architecture' is really deserving of the name. (In German, silver lace vine is also called 'architektentrost'-- literally, ''architect's consolation" -- for its ability to quickly cover large areas.)

Cheap industrial architecture with twining silver lace vine
Industrial architecture with 'architect's consolation' (a cover of silver lace vine)

Housing Construction - Single-Family Houses, Photo Gallery

Greened residential buildings, most from the time after 2000. FassadenGrün-systems are noted with a wire rope system number. More examples under Modern Trellises.

Vine with cable system 5050/ middle of a residential building (modern construction)
Evergreen honeysuckle
Evergreen honeysuckle, cable system medium construction style
Cable system 8040 modified, small kiwi is planned
Dutchman's Pipe with fall leaves on wire-cables analogous to our cable system 5050
Wild growing vine, fall colouring, steel cable system 5040 heavy construction on ETICS
Different climbing plants on a rooftop terrace, system 2020
Modified system 3060 on thermal insulation
Cultivated wisteria on a modern townhouse
Ecological construction with different climbing plants
Balcony greening with wisteria
Annual morning glory on climbing wires
Drainpipe greening with Brown-eyed Susans
Privacy planting with wisteria
Greening of terraced houses with wisteria
Apricot with cable systems 1040 on facade panels
Cable system 7060 with an evergreen honeysuckle
Greening with honeysuckle, cable system 5050 (modified)
Greened modern house: 2 vines in pots
Carport greened with ivy

Social Housing Construction-- Improving the Environment

Unless otherwise stated, the facades are always insulated and then greened.

Climbing elements made of painted metal square tubing on a gable, greened with small-leafed Dutchman's Pipe (aristolochia tomentosa), Chemnitz / Saxony
Wall greening with wisteria on a gable, Berlin
Crimson glory vine (vitis coignetiae) on a gable in Erfurt-North / Thuringia
Greened facade with Boston Ivy on a metal lattice, Dresden / Saxony
Silver lace vine on a lattice system, Torgau / Saxony
Superimposed climbing wall made of steel profiles, Dutchman's Pipe, Erfurt / Thuringia
Mixed greening on a textile-coated wire rope, Leipzig / Saxony
Wisteria on a railing in Jena / Thuringia
Renovated apartment block with silver lace vine on wire ropes, Lübben / Brandenburg
Unrenovated prefab. buildings greened with five-lobed wild vine P. quinquefolia (Virginia creeper), Cottbus / Brandenburg
One of the last, distinctive WBS 70 pre-fab buildings WITHOUT additional insulation (new modern stucco) - in the near future, perhaps a case for monument protection! Lattices growing wisteria, Gera/Thuringia
A green project with Dutchman's Pipe on trellis cables in Dresden/Saxony
Mixed greening on a pre-fab construction gable, Leipzig/Saxony
Greening on standard WBS 70 construction near a water system beneficial to the atmospheric humidity, Leipzig/Saxony
Apartment complex of the WBS 70 series from the GDR time with clematis vitalba on steel cables, Leipzig-Paunsdorf/Saxony
Apartments (renovated with ETICS), oriental bittersweet on steel cables, Leipzig-Sellerhausen/Saxony
Inner city housing program from the GDR (German Democratic Republic) time without modern insulation or stucco-work, additional greening of the first floor area with wisteria on cable systems 9020, Leipzig/Saxony
Prefab. gable without insulation. Building greening 25 m high with thicket creeper, Halle/Saale / Saxony-Anhalt

Office and Commercial/Industrial Construction

Examples of successful facade greening. Please also refer to the section on Parking Garages.

Alternative greening possibilities on an office building: Front facade metal construction with wisteria, silver lace vine, and Dutchman's pipe, new construction of the IHK Cottbus/Brandenburg
Building greening with wisteria on the stair tower of a factory in Dresden/Saxony
Climbing trumpets on trellis cables on a glass facade, Leipzig/Saxony
Cinema building with a pre-planted firethorn pyracantha in Döbeln/Saxony
Hotel greened with wisteria spindles in Heringsdorf/Rügen/Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Native jungle lianas: clematis vitalba on an University building in Leipzig/Saxony
Virginia creeper on a shopping center in Halberstadt/Saxony-Anhalt
Small commercial building in the international style with wisteria, Quedlinburg/Saxony-Anhalt
Green up of a garage with an evergreen honeysuckle Leipzig/Saxony
Green trellis wall with wisteria and other climbers, Faculty of Humanities building-- University of Leipzig/Saxony
A "Living Wall" from Patrick Blanc at the department store "Hallery Lafayette" in Berlin
Fore-standing green wall with wild climbing vine (Virginia creeper), University clinic Leipzig/Saxony
Greening of a 'break' (pause) room in a street car "tram" terminal station, separate lattice enclosure of the space as support for the climbers, Leipzig-Knautkleeberg/Saxony
Brilliant and simple: wall design with wild vine at a shopping market. A wall offset contains the four green wall fields and keeps the plants in their dedicated area. Leipzig-Liebertwolkwitz/Saxony
Stair tower on a modern building, greened with wild vine, highschool building HTWK Leipzig/Saxony
Warehouse greening with wild vines (vitis coignetiae) on steel cable climbing nets, St. Benno Publishing house/Leipzig/Saxony
Wall panels planted with wild climbing vine at the entrance of a school greened with wild growing vine, Leipzig-Mölkau/Saxony
New hospital in the international style, a windowless wall greened with creepers on ropes, Halle on the Salle river/Saxony-Anhalt
One can see from the wall and window soffits how thick and lush this greening will be in the future if the plants are properly cared for and maintained.... Fraunhofer Institute /Halle on the Salle river/Saxony-Anhalt
Modern construction with ivy greening on an office and hotel building. With more care, the lattice fields in the large wall opening can probably be filled in with potted plants. Halle- Neustadt/Saxony-Anhalt
Diagonally tensioned rope systems 0020 with Dutchman's Pipe and wild growing vine, ZOO Leipzig, "Gonwanaland"
High bay warehouse with GFRP-grids on sandwich-façades. The side facing the nature reserve area-- greened with hops and silver lace vine, 6 months after completion. Böttcher-AG in Jena / Thuringia
Ventilation tower at the Fraunhofer-Institut. Modified massive wire rope system 5050 for clematis. 1 year after completion, Jena / Thuringia
Building greening on a parking garage. Different climbing plants on galvanised steel bars. "Arsenal" shopping centre, Wittenberg / Saxony-Anhalt
A shopping centre greened with silver lace vine, clematis vitalba, akebia, and others on steel cables, Konstanz / Baden-Wuerttemberg
Dutchman's pipe and trumpet vine, university clinic radiology, Dresden / Saxony