In the Bauhaus style of Germany starting around 1920 and the modern architecture movement that followed, facade greening was initially frowned on because it reflected the older garden city style. Bauhaus was all about clearing off the ornamentation and embellishments considered unnecessary or unfunctional (on buildings and otherwise). Minimalism became king. The new ideal favored clear, angularly-cut facades, often without details. Though Bauhaus wanted to reconceive structures for the support of growing social needs and to counteract the momentum of the capitalist machine, the style resulted in a cold, even soul-less effect. Bauhaus as such is more of a ghost now, but modernist architecture echos its ideals and retains the aesthetic to some degree. Since then, things have relaxed a bit on the greening front and greened facades 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 wall greening is sometimes intended to compensate for bad architecture...
The few original houses from the Bauhaus period (until about 1935) are listed as historical monuments in Germany and are under the strict protection of the government. They are usually kept white, as this was the typical colour of the 'new building' ('modern architecture'). From afar these houses appear quite bright, even pure, but can be somewhat shrill and glaring up close. Although greening could mitigate this effect and provide contrast, facade plants are virtually out of the question here (that is, they are usually prohibited): "only the original" is the motto. At the least, one could set simple potted plants against the walls. Still, where greening is permitted, self-clinging and vigorous climbers should be avoided.
When greening modernist-style buildings, it is best to choose plants which need support to climb rather than self-climbers who tend to colonize a building quickly but wildly. Those that need assistance from cables and wire ropes in order to form and grow will be significantly more maneagable in the long-run. We recommend discussing a facade garden and 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; traditional wooden trellises are also possible. The installation of a cable system may be challenging on some wall types / special facades.
The ideas of modern architecture were applied in Germany from 1950 onwards also in the construction of social housing. Facade greening didn't play a role here at first, but with the advent of the environmental movement, the first attempts were made around 1980. To meet rental quotas, these buildings were redeveloped and rennovated en masse and also greened (mostly on the windowless facades), starting around 1990. Unfortunately, the facades, some of which were very striking, were often expressionless after insulation because they were uniformly painted in plain, light tones (walls with external insulaion systems-- ETICS -- usually have an acrylic plaster that does not tolerate darker colours). Such large-scale and high greenings , due to a lack of maintenance or interest, were sometimes severely neglected or even later cleared away.
The conditions for office and commercial construction have also changed since 1920, with green building and sustainable construction playing an increasingly important role. Facade gardens have become an integral element in high-quality architecture. Parking garages are being greened, high-rises with green facades are more common (see greening large metal structures / walls), and compltely new greening techniques ~ vertical gardens / living walls ~ are also becoming popular, though these are quite maintenance-intensive and still being tested. In any case, building for a sustainable future without some aspect of facade greening is now almost unthinkable.
A negative trend has begun to emerge with modern, especially industrial, construction. Functional and utilitarian buildings (warehouses, car parking houses, protective walls, etc..), banal forms of concrete and metal, have become quite the eye-sore and are often considered disruptive enough to require greening as a compensation measure. Since greening transforms large, uniform, unsightly, or boring structures, it has understandably become a go-to measure. But the shady side of this discovery: a builder or contractor can use this to his advantage and avoid putting in the effort or cost necessary to create high-quality buildings. Thus, with many 'modern buildings' and their expressionless and cheap facades, greening is reduced to just a covering to mask poor construction or architectural deficit, provided that it is really deserving of the name 'architecture.' *In German, silver lace vine is also called 'architektentrost' -- literally, ''architect's consolation" -- for its ability to quickly cover large areas!
Photo gallery of greened residential homes, most of them from after 2000. FassadenGrün trellis systems are marked with a wire rope system number. More examples under Modern Trellises.