Greening Large Structures (Metal)

Metal construction is ubiquitous in the architectural style of the modern age. This applies not only to structural load-bearing elements like supports, beams etc., but also to arbours, pergolas, staircases, and facades that can be made entirely of metal beams, grids. These generally sleek architectural elements, often with a natural grid or weave, can easily accommodate climbing plants. Architects are even trending towards planning these additional metal faces only for greening! Read on for some history and examples. You can find similar photo examples under balconiescar parking lots/garages, and high greening.

Military barracks grown over by a Virginia Creeper

The Beginning...

High trellis constructions have been used in agriculture for centuries to cultivate beer hops. Perhaps this gave rise to the idea of installing such trellis walls as a component of architecture. The 'MFO-Park' in Örlikon / Switzerland was the impetus for such projects: after the demolition of an old machine factory, there was a plan to transform the area into a recreational park. The contours of the old factory buildings were rebuilt with a steel frame and planted climbing plants. The plants were meant to take over the metal lattices and transform the empty, airy zones into a green jungle. The project receives attention to this day and has served as a model for many architects.

Tips for Planning

With large metal structures already in place, it will be easy to create green walls using simple metal nets or cable systems with parts available from FassadenGrün. Very high climbing walls work best in (wind-protected) inner courtyards, because there the plants thrive better and are sheltered. The chosen location is particularly important. For the planning of this kind of massive construction, it is best to seek the advice of the structural engineer at an early stage in the planning. A number of specialists in the field of greening may be able to offer you their products and advice-- the big manufacturers of metal lattices or the wire-cable factories (see suppliers) can recommend modules that may reduce costs. Consider providing an irrigation system if the plants will stay in pots or containers.

Pergola with twiners, industrial building in Leipzig /Saxony
Pergola with twiners, industrial building in Leipzig /Saxony
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Photo Gallery

Enter this gallery to see examples of greening high walls. Please click on the photos! See more pictures under Balconies, Parking Garages, and High Greening.