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    The story behind Patrick Blanc vertical gardens at Sydney’s One Central Park

    Nathan Johnson

    French botanist Patrick Blanc visited Sydney’s One Central Park on 7 July, discussing his realised world-first concept, the 116 metre vertical garden-walled residential building.

    Blanc attended the building’s dramatic cantilevered Sky Garden where he discussed the details of his work.

    One Central Park’s two towers, designed by fellow Frenchman Jean Nouvel with collaborating architect PTW, house Blanc’s 35,000 plant vertical gardens. 

    Central to the 1200sqm vertical garden design is Blanc’s insistence that plants do not need soil to grow provided they have something to attach themselves to. Light, carbon dioxide water and nutrients are mechanically dispersed to the plants and facilitate their growth and survival.

    This approach eliminates the need for soil, making it possible for plants to grow on buildings without compromising the structural integrity of the building.

    The construction experience was described as unique by builders Watpac, NSW/ACT State Manager Ric Wang saying “it was important that we invested in the best resources available to ensure our approach would actually turn a concept in to a reality, especially in regard to the ‘living walls’”.



    “Patrick Blanc’s garden concept is a hydroponic system which in effect hangs off the building, so we had to revise the original façade design and methodology to make it possible.”

    Locally based collaborating architects PTW have also described the innovation behind the process, noting how extraordinary results were achieved with relatively simple material applications. {see video}.

    After two years of planning and building a solution was developed which saw individually designed planter boxes installed, supported by the floor slabs, to create the ‘living wall’ aspect of the façade design.

    Each horizontal and vertical planter is supplied its own irrigation system through a building management system which also monitors environmental conditions.

    “Essentially this type of façade build had not been attempted successfully elsewhere so we were determined to create something that actually brought the vision to life,” Wang said.

    “To work with Patrick Blanc and see the final effect of these gardens is something we are extremely proud of, knowing that our methodology and skills created this iconic façade.”

    One Central Park façade facts:

    • 350 different species of plants used in the green walls alone
    • 35,000 green wall plants
    • 85,000 facade plants in total
    • 23 green walls = 1200sqm total.
    • Largest green wall is in the East Tower = 196sqm
    • 5,500 planter boxes surround every level of the East and West Towers and five levels of the retail podium
    • 15km of 4mm diameter stainless steel cables used across the project
    • 2,100 stainless steel springs used to keep vine cables tensioned
    • 2,486 glass façade panels on the East Tower = 12,678sqm of glass
    • 820 glass façade panels on West Tower = 4,428sqmof glass
    • Total area of glass on both towers = 17,106sqm x 12.5mm thickness x 2.5kg/mm = 534.5 tonnes of glass.

    Images: Supplied

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