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Vegitecture: Barcelona’s vertical garden home to birds, bats

Architect Juli Capella was tasked- by the city of Barcelona- to design a vertical garden to cover a nearly 70-foot-high windowless wall (leftover after an adjacent building was demolished).

Instead of creating a typical living wall that simply covered the existing surface with plants, he constructed a piece of architecture (or vegitecture) that acts like any conventional building, with a door, stairs and floors. But unlike any other building, it has plants for walls.

Unlike other vertical gardens that require a crane to fertilize or replace plants, gardeners simply climb the stairs and aided by a pulley-system and swappable planter boxes can keep the vertical garden in an ever-green state. A drip irrigation system keeps water use low and upkeep at a minimum.

It acts as a huge steel tree: it provides oxygen, filters the air, shades the neighboring building and provide a home for nearly a dozen bird species (complete with nesting boxes), as well as, for geckos and bats.

This type of vegitecture, like any other living wall, is expensive to build explains Montserrat Prado Barrabés, an architect with Institut del Paisatge Urbà (The city’s “Institute of Urban Landscape and Quality of Life” that commissioned the project), but she assures it is cheap when it comes to maintenance.

Given my experience climbing the 8 floors with a camera bag, I don’t doubt that it’s upkeep is similar to any other urban garden. Now just add some vegetables and it might start to resemble a prototype for skyscraper farming.