Living Wall

2009, Kings Cross Gas Holder
With AHMM Architects

Living Wall takes the form of a vertical garden incorporating multiple functions within the conserved Gas Holder. A curved planted wall, espousing the contour of the tower and contained within it, houses viewing pods and a viewing platform offering ‘windows’ or vistas onto the city beyond. Either by climbing the gently sloping ramp contained within it or by ascending by lift, the user can immerse him/herself in a genuine ‘urban forest’. The reverse facade of the Living Wall accommodates an abseiling wall, reintroducing a human choreography into the urban landscape.

The proposed use of ‘brumisation’ (a fine mist emitted from multiple nozzles) as the watering system for the planting scheme also creates a strong visual and sculptural presence for the Living Wall – it is envisaged that the entire green facade of the wall be periodically shrouded by a layer of mist/cloud.

We propose that the Living Wall also has a strong and distinctive night time identity to be created using a lighting scheme that is both subtle and intense and accentuates the sculptural qualities of the scheme – illuminated forest and illuminated wall of mist.

The Living Wall creates multiple opportunities for community engagement including the potential for collaborations with horticultural, environmental and wildlife specialists. It provides a pioneering community space within this area of inner city London with tangible and inspirational educational opportunities for the city as a whole and the world beyond. The proposed abseiling wall within the Living Wall is a commercial venture, offering an extraordinary and unmatched leisure facility within inner city London. At ground level the Living Wall provides an urban amphitheatre with a central revolving stage – a unique and versatile public performance space.

The Living Wall evolves and re-imagines social and cultural space and simultaneously creates an outstanding, landmark artwork.

  • Vertical garden
  • Evolving/re-imagining social and cultural space
  • Wall of mist
  • Viewing pods/balconies within vertical ‘forest’
  • Night time lighting scheme – with plants and mist
  • Collaboration with specialist horticulturalists (Kew?)
  • Collaboration with specialist environmentalists – bird life, insect life etc.
  • Educational opportunities – wildlife study trips – inner city schools
  • Abseiling – reintroduction of a human choreography within urban landscape