Designing living walls in Turin
10 May 2019
In times of increasing urbanisation, green spaces in cities are essential to reducing air and noise pollution, and increasing resilience towards the effects of climate change. But what if the ground space in inner-city areas is full with roads and concrete structures? The proGIreg team in Turin have decided to go vertical and put gardens on their walls. And just like the horizontal type, vertical gardens also need a good design. So during 4-8 March 2019, a group of Master students in System Design from the Politecnico di Torino came together for the “Life on Wall” workshop, within the framework of the proGIreg Living Lab in Mirafiori Sud, to learn all about designing green walls.
The workshop, which was curated by Elena Comino, of the Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering, and Andrea Vigetti, from the Landscape Design Studio Vigetti Merlo, involved a mixture of theoretical lectures and hands-on laboratory work. The students learned about the potential of nature-based solutions and green infrastructure, in particular via green walls, to increase public health and well-being in cities, not only through reducing pollution, but also because of the psychological benefits of being surrounded by more nature. The conceptual thinking around the design focussed on both the technical as well as the aesthetic needs of the green walls.
Living walls have become increasingly popular in recent years, not only to improve the urban outdoors, but also to improve the sustainability of buildings themselves. Exterior green walls can greatly improve a building’s insulation quality, leading to significant energy savings, while interior green walls can act as natural air filters, increasing the flow of oxygen, like indoor pot plants do, but on a much larger scale. The students worked on both indoor and outdoor prototypes. In three groups, they focussed on three different contexts: the first group created an indoor green wall for a school building; the second produced a free-standing, outdoor reception area for homeless people; and the third designed a free-standing wall for a co-working space.
The workshop week finished with a public presentation of the final designs, with representatives from the Municipality of Turin and the Politecnico di Torino University attending.
The workshop was made possible thanks to Laura Ribotta and Luisa Barbi (City of Turin), Laura Dominici, Paolo Tamagnone and Maurizio Rosso (DIATI), Silvia Barbero, Cristian Campagnaro and Sara Ceraolo (DAD), Chiara Manchovas and Andrea Buzzi (Studio creativo Sélva), and Antonio Kouzelas and Giovanni Berruto (POLITO).