When planning the Monroe County Parking Garage in Bloomington, Indiana, designers from Axis Architecture + Interiors were looking for a way to break up the stark exterior of the six-story garage with a visually appealing element.
They opted to incorporate green design through the installation of a low-maintenance vertical garden, which would fill five of the structure’s window openings with durable plants that bloom in shades of yellow, red, purple, and green.
“Many older buildings in the area have second- and third-story window boxes planted with flowers,” said Julie Thomas, Monroe County commissioner. “Installing a living wall put window boxes into the windows of the parking garage. The green wall, with a total of 180 plants in a variety of seven annuals, is a beautiful, lively addition to the garage.”
With window openings measuring 2.4 m by 1.8 m (8 ft by 6 ft), engineers from building envelope contracting company ProCLAD designed and installed a framework within the window openings using 102 mm by 102 mm (4 in. by 4 in.) tube steel with 6.4 mm (0.25 in.) thickness. Installers bolted the living wall systems’ horizontal aluminum rails to the tube steel frames. Each section of green wall can accommodate six rows of modular planter boxes, which slide into the rails.
The system’s structural design lent itself to a secure installation within the garage window, commented Logan Messmer, project engineer at ProCLAD, which allows for easy access to the plants and irrigation system from behind the green wall on the inside of the garage.