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Environmental Movement (approx. 1970-today)

After 1945, the greening up of buildings had initially no new inspirations or impulses. The big post war cleanup was the higher priority, both physically and mentally. Promising projects of a “Garden City” slept, because the heirs of the remaining houses understood nothing of the art of the trim and had no desire to take care of greening because of a few fruits that might possibly grow. There was a pause until the 1968 movement when the Eco or Environmental movement started, and with it arose the ecologically motivated greening of buildings. Many new green areas emerged, especially high greening, but not without its own inherit problems.

Parthenocissus tricuspidata on a typical East-Germany building in Leipzig / Saxony

The Protagonists

The environmental  movement isn't an "architectural style", however, it has nevertheless characterized and marked our towns and cities. The environmental  groups which carried  the " greening of houses" from the country to the cities, were responsible for this. Inexpensive wall surface greening should improve the inner municipal climate: "Planting wild vine without expensive growing peripherals is a help to your house, and it's nice!"- so were the appeals. Do not make a mess, but labour away - as announced, "The greening up" has begun. Innumerable municipal promotional programs were established giving away thousands of self climbing plants. The model was the greening up of social houseing buildings in the 20's and 30's. Competitions like "the most beautiful green up project of our town" were also carried out.

fleece vine in a pedestrian precinct
Wall greening with Knotweed

Greening as a Condition

Some cities require in renovation and expansion in densely built-up areas by planting square metre keys, thereby aiming at a preservation or improvement of the microclimate. Too often the demand is perceived as annoying and then met only half-heartedly. *A colleague from the greening industry reported that a large and initially only commissioned, not yet implemented verticle high greening contract on a new building, was canceled by the city's building department because the officials suddenly 'forgot' about the greening part. The cacellation was then officially signed and confirmed by the official as unessential and despensible!  This certainly decreased costs for the builder-owner- a piece of luck for his/her purse. 

Greening is really convincing when not only anonymous requirements are made for greening, but also clients stand behind this, and are motivated  ecologically. They would then care and maintain their greening with passion. 

Wisteria on greened gables of a new insurance building, year of construction approx. 2000, dooryard in Leipzig/Saxony
Greening due to sanction

Structural damage and neglect

In the heat of the moment It's sometimes overlooked that every now and then green up projects only function if a perfect wave of confirmations exist: ∙ Support by the house-owner, ∙ acceptance with tenants and neighbours, ∙ takeover of maintenance fees, ∙ disposal of the autumn foliage etc... Sometimes setbacks can follow when a fine little green up project developes in time into a mean green octopus , penetrating with her leafy tenticles and shady desires into roof structures, pushing and pulling and damaging materials!  Is the home owner ready to hire a specialty firm to trim the 4th floor of her / his house annually, and pay for it?

Overgrown building greening with ivy
Building greening with feral ivy