When we first saw this modern interpretation of an ivy-covered wall we kept walking around it. We couldn't stop admiring it from all angles, from both inside and outside the building it graces. The idea is inspired - to have the plants growing up a tension wire grid placed three feet out in front of the building itself. It's part garden, part wall, part privacy provider, part eco-energy a/c alternative. It's gorgeous and is executed so simply - details below.
We saw this at the Pritzker Family Children's Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo. According to the representative, the plants are regular old ivy, planted last summer. (CORRECTION: It is Vitis riparia, Riverbank Grape, see first comment below). They were about a foot high when planted and a year later they already reached the top of the grid (more than 25 feet).
The plants are growing in a narrow soil filled space in the concrete. Rocks are placed on top of the soil, adding another texture and keeping the visuals simple - just the concrete, glass, stones and ivy. We love this idea - a vertical garden that adds natural beauty to an already beautiful modernist facade. The footprint of this garden is long and so super narrow, truly an urban gardening solution. (Re-edited from a post originally published 05.08.06)