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Renovation in Corvinus' grand hall: secrets of the brand new green wall

In the middle of the built-up city, the sight of a plant wall is always refreshing. It is no different with the iconic green wall in the hall of the Corvinus University of Budapest. But how can such a huge living carpet work, and what secrets does it hide? Curiosities and backstage behind the curtain.

Written by Belayane Najoua, Images: Brigitta Burkus

The lobby, located in Corvinus University’s E-building, plays a central role. The biggest and most important events are held here, so its appearance is extremely important. The first green wall was built in 2017, then in addition to quality acoustic sound, closeness to nature was also an important goal of the renovation. From 2020, another plant wall will color the university hall, making the space even greener and more aesthetic, while providing a stress-free environment for staff and students.

6 things you didn’t know about the green wall of Corvinus

The second green wall made the university hall even more open and closer to nature. When someone enters, their eyes immediately wander to the two huge, living rugs that stand as bastions at both ends of the hall. The operation of the green walls is refined and mysterious. We managed to reveal a few secrets while talking to Miklós Flór, the contractor of the project:

  • There are 25 plants per square meter, i.e. a total of 602 plants are planted in the whole green wall.

  • There is no soil in it. Instead, volcanic medium (perlite) was used in the construction of the wall.

  • Irrigation is highly dependent on seasonal changes, but in the autumn semester, the plants usually get water 2-6 times a day for 3-6 minutes through an automatic irrigation-drip system.

  • It only took two weeks to build the wall.

  • In total 8 people have hand work in it.

  • The plants take about 4-8 weeks to find their place. Thereafter, maintenance work take place every two weeks.

What is a green wall?

Green walls are vertical surfaces overgrown with plants, which can be natural or artificial. In the case of natural green walls, the roots of the plants are in direct contact with the soil, while built, artificial green walls do not, so they grow horizontally. Artificial green walls have a separate frame and are usually automated. The wall is kept alive by nutrient and drainage systems that give the room a new look. Of the green walls, the built green walls are the most spectacular, although they require more investment, but modern offices, communal spaces, department stores, and universities generally opt for this.

The idea of a green wall wasn't born in the 21st century. We can first meet these walls in Hellenic culture, where they acted as spatial boundaries in labyrinths. With the advent of the Renaissance, the role of green walls also changed. Not only did they have a practical function, but they also had an aesthetic role. At the most prominent points of the gardens, garden structures with green plants appeared. It was then that plant sculptures cut into various shapes became fashionable in Europe, followed by lush gardens full of plants. The innovative spirit of the 20th century also had an impact on plant use and landscaping. It has become important to combine the modern world with closeness to nature.

The first green wall was built in 1988 in Paris, followed by green “giant rugs” built in hotels, banks, restaurants, universities (source).

The benefits of a green wall

Increasing green space has become key in the 21st century as the climate crisis and pollution are changing the environment around us on a large scale. A living wall can be an alternative to green space enhancement, which has the ability to bring nature into our everyday lives. Living walls are not only aesthetic and spectacular, they also have many good features.

  • Clean air - Plants planted in the wall, in addition to producing oxygen, filter out harmful substances from the air, thus improving its quality.

  • Acoustic benefits - The acoustics of the spaces can be improved through plant textiles filled with special soil.

  • Longevity - With regular care, a green wall can bloom for up to twelve years.

  • Plants without reduction of floor area - We can surround ourselves with plants without reducing the floor space of the room.

  • Stress relieving environment - The presence of plants has been proven to improve our mood, which helps reduce stress.

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