A View From Grey to Green

22 January 2020

When property developer John Harman approached Natural Habitats about a large green wall for his luxury apartment development, he had a vision of showcasing a new modality of urban living.

The brief included creating a central communal green area to offer a relaxed space and provide a high quality ecological and visual amenity.

Location: Auckland

Project Type: Luxury residential design and build

Soaring five stories high, the series of three green walls are the tallest in the country, comprising a combined area of over 110 square metres.  With over 5000 predominantly native plants, the walls’ design pattern features organic swathes of largely native plants with explosions of seasonal colour change.

“The green walls provide a wonderful visual appeal for residents of the rear apartment,” says Mr Harman. “Rather than looking at glass and concrete, they enjoy an ever-changing landscape of exciting colour and structure.”

A green wall of this size naturally came with challenges, the biggest being the podium which was to sit below to the green wall.  The podium restricted all height access equipment due to weight exceedance.  With hard work from the installation team, the walls went up without a hitch.  However, no access equipment meant we had to come up with an innovative solution to care for the walls, and what better way than to abseil.

Maintenance via abseiling was a first for Natural Habitats, however, it is a method which has proved successful to combat tricky access and also reduce disturbance to residents and the public.

Natural Habitats’ green walls have earned the St Mark’s Apartments New Zealand’s first-ever Homestar Innovation Point from the New Zealand Green Building Council.

The New Zealand Green Building Council’s CEO Andrew Eagles says the Homestar rating is an independent, robust and straightforward tool to demonstrate what the building has achieved and communicate the quality of the building to investors and residents.

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