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Meinhardt's take on green facade progression

Last week the Australian arm of prominent global engineering firm Meinhardt released a white paper titled 'How Far Are We From Truly Green Façades?' via their Practical Imagination platform.

The white paper delves into the issues currently surrounding the advancement of green facades which in turn allows the practice to become the norm rather than the exception. Glazing types and efficiency, thermal effects, recycling and aesthetics are all considered through the piece which can be viewed in full here.

In a local context there's no shortage of green walls adorning developments, yet green facades remain an altogether more elusive beast. Melbourne City Council trumpet CH2 and rightfully so given its long list of ESD features including a northern green facade.

Of the current crop of developments, 720 Bourke Street which is nearing completion employs a green facade over all elevations. Project architect Hassell's take on 720 Bourke Street:

As the new Medibank headquarters rises from the ground in Melbourne, the plants that will give it a dynamic green facade are being trialed on an adjacent rooftop. The southern façade of the Cbus Property development at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands will feature two 20 metre high-planted green walls rising from the Bourke St entrance.

Higher up, the building will have a growing façade system consisting of 520 planter boxes as part of the façade curtain wall. It is an ambitious greening project in a difficult environment. While green walls in an urban environment flourish in Asia and the tropics, the challenges of such projects are much greater in the temperate climate of Melbourne.

The challenges of the coastal location in the Docklands include a variety of conditions for plants to prosper on each aspect of the façade. There are varying levels of exposure to and to prevailing winds.

The final words are best left to Meinhardt:

Green façades may not be a reality yet in a holistic sense, but thanks to intense research combined with clever and practical design, they are coming much closer to becoming a reality.

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