Flamboyant French botanist Patrick Blanc is in Sydney this July for the final inspection of his spectacular vertical gardens – now thriving and bursting with colour on the north and east facades of the iconic One Central Park towers. The tapestry of unique artistic designs which creatively weave together over 380 exotic and native species is what makes Blanc’s vertical gardens truly remarkable, together with the delicate science of ensuring the plants’ ongoing survival at great heights and under all weather conditions.
One Central Park’s two towers, designed by fellow Frenchman Jean Nouvel (with collaborating architect PTW), house Blanc’s highest-ever vertical gardens. Two of the 21 panels reach a height of 116 metres.
The concept behind Blanc’s vertical gardens is that plants do not need soil to grow provided they have something to attach themselves to, plus well as light, carbon dioxide, water and nutrients, which can be mechanically dispersed to the plants. This approach eradicates the need for soil entirely and allows the plants to be light enough to grow on any surface, effectively transforming glass facades into a canvas for sustainable, lush, living art.
Patrick Blanc met with media on Monday 7 July on One Central Park’s dramatic cantilevered Sky Garden, before addressing Sydney’s architecture and planning community at UTS School of Architecture on Tuesday 8 July. Having created his vertical gardens all over the world for the past 30 years, Blanc is the pioneer and leading expert on growing plants vertically, a concept he believes is only due to expand with high density accommodation becoming a necessary part of living in large cities.
“One Central Park is only the fourth project Patrick has completed in Australia and we are incredibly pleased to have been able to secure his living artworks for all future residents and visitors to these iconic towers,” said Central Park’s Project Director, Mick Caddey.
“One Central Park’s vertical gardens are one of the most visible expressions of Central Park’s commitment to sustainable urban living,” added Caddey.
Vertical gardens act as a natural air purification system, and may have a cooling effect on the building as a whole. Benefits include a reduction in energy consumption through thermal insulation, providing a natural shield between residents and the elements. Introducing bio-diversity to the heart of a city is another advantage.
One Central Park was recently declared the Best Tall Building in Asia and Australia by the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
(CTBUH); an honour attributed in part to the remarkably green facades.
Part of the magic of Blanc’s installations is that he has made it possible for plants to grow on buildings without compromising the structural integrity of the building, a problem which has often arisen in the past when plants have attached themselves to buildings.
Throughout his distinguished career, Patrick Blanc has created more than 250 vertical gardens all over the world. Patrick’s first outdoor vegetal wall in Australia commenced in 2009 when Frasers Property Australia commissioned him to design a vertical garden for its award-winning Trio development in Camperdown – which continues to thrive and delight.
His impressive collection of work in Australia includes the Qantas lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Trio residential development in Camperdown and, in particular, the striking vertical gardens that adorn the Jean Nouvel designed One Central Park, the landmark towers at Central Park.
One Central Park has the largest green façade ever undertaken on a residential tower in Australia comprising over 1100sqm of vertical gardens.
Blanc has completed installations for the Jean Nouvel–designed Quai Branly Museum in Paris, the Marithé & François Girbaud boutique in Manhattan, Herzog & De Meuron’s Caixa Forum in Madrid, the aquarium in Genoa, the Siam Paragon mall in Bangkok, and the 21st Century Museum of Art in Kanazawa, Japan.