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Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Client: Network rail

Install Date: 2018

The 77 metre long living wall on the link bridge at New Street Station in Birmingham  welcomes travellers from all over the country to the centre of the city.  The living wall creates a pleasant promenade of calming, green infrastructure amongst this built urban environment with the addition of 16,600 plants.

Project Details

The living wall overlooking the New Street Train Station tracks was originally installed by another living wall supplier in 2012 but despite several full replants, by 2017 a good proportion of the plants had died. Network rail commissioned Biotecture to remove the old, soil based, living wall system and reconstruct an all new hydroponic living wall to replace it.

There have been on-going concerns about air quality in the station and surrounding area because even through the whole station was converted to electric in the 1960’s a high number of services still run on diesel trains, meaning that pollution, in particular levels of NOx are very high. In addition, Birmingham was named by the world health organisation in 2014 as one of  nine UK cities where safety guidelines for air pollution was being breached. The sixteen thousand plants in the living wall help to mitigate this, creating a better environment for people arriving at and leaving the station on foot.

To learn more about how living walls are great for the environment, people and businesses visit our Benefits of outdoor living walls page.

  • Living Wall situated on a pedestrian walk way on the approach to the train station
  • Freestanding steel frame structure
  • 77m long  at an average height of 4m
  • 43.7 million passengers pass through New Street Station in a year

Our Approach

Biotecture developed a design with lines of flowing waves in a random informal pattern along the length of the wall.

A selection of 10 plant species are utilised in the planting plan at Birmingham New street to give variety in colour and texture. Flowering Heucheras and Armeria ensure that there will be a vibrant slash of colour in the wall in the spring and summer months, while the variegated, evergreen foliage of the Euonymus and Pachysandra offer winter interest. As part of the contract Biotecture also replanted the horizontal planter the runs at the base of the living wall and three stand along planters on the station end of the walkway.

Biotecture also have a contract in place for the on-going maintenance of the living wall. A bespoke maintenance regime has been drawn up for the site outlining particular plant care requirements, irrigation system running parameters and  site specific information. The irrigation system will be remotely monitored daily from our offices by our maintenance team and we will  perform regular site visits to monitor the appearance and overall health of the living wall.

Seeing the [living] wall in all of its glory is a completely different and much more calming experience to the way other parts of the city are challenged by the harshness of the built environment

Graham Young Birmingham Live
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