British architecture firm Sheppard Robson has unveiled plans for the mixed-use Citicape House in London to have the "largest living wall in Europe" in order to help improve local air quality.
Tackling environmental issues
Citicape House will be wrapped by a facade of 400,000 plants, with the hope that they will “capture over eight tonnes of carbon and produce six tonnes of oxygen" annually. It’s also predicted to produce six tonnes of oxygen, and lower the local temperature by three to five degrees Celsius.
The building will be located in a traffic heavy area between Farringdon and Mooregate in London. It will replace an existing office, and demonstrate that the built environment can address issues such as climate change and air pollution.
"On a site that is so prominent, there was a real drive to inject some fresh perspectives on how to grapple with some of London's most urgent environmental issues, including air quality and noise and dust pollution," said Dan Burr, partner at Sheppard Robson.
"Rather than having an isolated patch of greenery, we felt that an immersive and integrated approach would have the biggest impact on the local environmental conditions, making a better and more liveable city, as well as articulating a clear architectural statement."
The building's green facade will align with the trusses of the building as an external expression of its elaborate superstructure and in a bid to avoid greenwashing.
"We are very conscious to avoid 'greenwash'," Burr stated. "The facade composition expresses the truss that sits behind it so there's an integrity to the architecture."
Once complete, Citicape House will contain a five-star hotel alongside a mix of offices, co-working and event spaces, a sky-bar, spa and ground-level restaurant. The rooftop terrace on the eleventh floor will be publicly accessible, and will offer unobstructed views of the city.
A positive influence
They also considered how the design can positively influence the dense urban fabric of the city and questioned how it can make a meaningful green impact.
On the rooftop terrace, there will be gardens containing threatened native wildflower species to help them flourish.
They also stated that the socially sustainable aspects are just as important. "The publicly accessible spaces and a rich mix of uses allows the public to dwell into the evening and weekends, all directly adjacent to a major transport hub and following the sustainable development ethos."
Beyond the Living Wall
The building is also hoped to function as sustainably as possible internally as it does externally. It will feature an exterior envelope with low U-Values and efficient glazing to minimise heat gain in the building, which will be teamed with renewable energy-sources including air-source heat-pumps. It will also incorporate rainwater collection to irrigate the green wall and reduce stress on the site's existing infrastructure.