Plans unveiled for ‘Living Building’ at Ecobuild 2010

16 February 2010

Capita Symonds at Ecobuild 2010

Capita Symonds will be showcasing a unique ‘living building’ as part of the 'CityScape' central attraction at Ecobuild 2010 - the world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment taking place at Earl’s Court from 2-4 March 2010.

Designed by Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner Patrick Collins and Capita Symonds’ landplanning division - Capita Lovejoy - the 10x10x8 metre ‘green cube’ structure has been designed to highlight the importance of green infrastructure in the built environment. It features a variety of sustainable technologies ranging from the traditional method of climbing plants growing over a series of wires or trellis systems, to the very latest in ‘living wall’ technology.

We’ve created something unexpected and memorable at the centre of the show

Part of ‘Cityscape’ - the event’s public realm space, the building is set within a dynamic and engaging landscape and features over 50 species of plants including indigenous and ornamental evergreen perennials, grasses and ferns. It also demonstrates the use of living walls in conjunction with architectural products, particularly UK grown and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified timber cladding.

It is the first time a ‘living structure’ of this scale has been attempted at the show and the first time that the various ‘living wall’ technologies have been combined in a single project. The walls are currently being grown and assembled off-site before being erected during a three day build at the venue.

During the course of the conference the structure’s interior space will host a variety of events and displays including a series of videos and presentation materials from Natural England from which visitors can learn about other aspects of green infrastructure.

The building features the following technologies:

Mobilane’s LivePanel and WallPlanter

LivePanel, which is being unveiled for the first time, will present the market with the most flexible system for decorating exterior or interior walls with a wide range of plants. The system consists of individual sections which are fixed to the wall or building using a lightweight aluminium frame. These sections can be cut to virtually any shape or size, making them extremely flexible and suited to a wide range of applications.

A broad range of plants can be selected with the client’s requirements and local environmental conditions in mind. LivePanel is easy to fit around doors and windows and can be extended to roof areas. LivePanel also allows near unlimited aesthetic and creative possibilities, both in shape and in plant types and colour.

WallPlanter is Mobilane’s long established living wall system. The system consists of aluminium planters into which fully mature plants are grown. WallPlanter delivers an extremely robust living wall solution and is featured on Europe’s finest example of a living wall - the harbour front in Monaco.

Biotecture’s BioWall

This unique hydroponic modular living wall system uses a hydroponic growing system which delivers water to the plants via a computer controlled, remotely managed system. This ensures that the precise amount of water and nutrients are delivered while any excess water is removed.

The plants selected are a range of hardy evergreen perennials, grasses and ground-covering shrubs which are ideally suited to living walls. A unique biological control programme is also worked out for each wall to minimise the problems of pest and disease, with susceptible varieties of plants being eliminated from use. 

Plants are chosen to enhance the biodiversity of a site including a wide range of flowering varieties to encourage insects and birds. Nest boxes can also be built into the walls to encourage small birds such as wrens and sparrows, and even bats.

Scotscape ANSystem Living Wall

This soil and compost (peat free) based living wall is made up of modules measuring 500mm tall by 250mm wide by 100mm deep each holding 14 individual plants. The modules are planted at Aldingbourne Nurseries up to two months before their delivery date so they arrive as a fully mature, ready to install wall.

The wall is irrigated using a zoned irrigation system delivering water and nutrients to the capillary fleece at the rear of each module thus enabling a wide variety of planting schemes. Each wall is designed to suit the client or site requirements and we offer a full maintenance package to ensure each wall fulfills its potential.

MMA/Jakob Stainless Steel Wires

This highly innovative system draws on a balance of stainless steel ropes, rods and mesh systems to create lightweight, durable and flexible green wall solutions. With each component manufactured from High Grade 316 Stainless Steel, the system delivers long-term performance with a minimum of maintenance, and is suitable for even the harshest environments, including coastal applications.

Patrick Collins says: “We wanted to highlight the importance of sustainable green infrastructure in the built environment and promote the use and understanding of some of the latest environmental and living wall technologies. We’ve created something unexpected and memorable at the centre of the show, a place where people could experience something completely different away from the crowds. It is intended to be an iconic and thought provoking display, a celebration of sustainability, and a centre for debate.”

'Green Room' events

Capita Symonds will also be running a series of debates and events in the green cube structure during the course of the Ecobuild conference. Speakers include Joe Duckworth, CEO of Newham Council; Tony Douglas (ex CEO of Heathrow for BAA);
Chris Brown, Igloo Regeneration; and Richard Woods, one of the UK’s leading experts on sustainable school design: