/ Projects / Queens University of Charlotte Adds Living Wall to New Science and Health Building

Queens University of Charlotte Adds Living Wall to New Science and Health Building

Matt Ball on February 7, 2013 - in Projects

Rogers_Science_and_Health_BuildingFounded in 1857, Queens University of Charlotte is a private, co-ed university located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The university serves approximately 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students. To meet growing needs it has undertaken the construction of a new $18M Rogers Science and Health Building.

“For the design of Queens’ Rogers Science and Health building, we sought to respect tradition while bringing aboard a modern twist which celebrated environmental science.

We considered many sculptural ideas and were captivated by the building’s greenhouse where students will be able to monitor plant growth conditions and environmental factors in ways not possible in a traditional laboratory,” said Philip A. Kuttner, AIA, LEED, BD+C and Chief Executive Officer of Little. “After some deliberation, we proposed the addition of an exterior green wall which we felt could be visually compelling, environmentally responsible and also serve as an educational tool.”

Dr. Reed Perkins of the Environmental Science Department immediately embraced the green wall concept as a key teaching tool for his students in the Rogers Building. “A living wall can offer an opportunity for our students to truly live science, not just learn what others have done. From the beginning, the faculty wanted even the most casual observers of the university to see that this building was a place of science, discovery and imagination.”

Ambius, a global interior and exterior landscaping company, www.ambius.com, was hired in the fall of 2011 to install the wall.

“The DNA strand is made of evergreen so that it stays green all year round as well as seasonal changes with evergreen and flowering plants,” said Denise Eichmann of Ambius. “Working with Dr. Perkins, his colleagues, and the architect firm, we produced four drawings with recommended plant species and plant design for the spring, summer, fall and winter living wall prototype.”

The installation of the green wall took about two weeks. “It was fascinating to watch the installation process,” said Nichols. “The wall is 24 feet wide and 35 feet tall and there were 693 standard panels and several custom panels so ensuring that the right plant was placed in the proper place was crucial. Each plant container was numbered and Ambius followed their chart which showed exactly where to put each container on the wall.”

“This living wall at our Platinum LEED-certified facility is now directly involved in teaching about environmental conservation,” said Dr. Perkins. “Queens University of Charlotte is demonstrating conservation, as the abundance of green design features ensures that students learn both in and from the building. Its green wall features non-invasive plants which keep the building cool. The students understand how living walls come complete with their own ‘life support’ system which is comprised of a supporting structure to hold the plants vertically, a growth medium to ensure plant longevity, an irrigation/fertilization system to deliver the correct amount of water and nutrients, and a drainage system to properly re-circulate the spent water. They understand how proper selection and design of a system for a particular locale necessitates plumbing and electrical considerations.”

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