In the Mokotów district of central Warsaw, the Foundation for Polish Science has a thriving new home. FAAB Architektura revived a damaged residential building, giving it a new green face with vertical gardens and terraces. The 260-square meters of new green surface area allows the new office headquarters to blend in with local ecology. Read on to find out how this unique vertical garden will develop, giving the building new life as a beautiful addition to the landscape.
The leafy vertical garden contrasts with the smooth pale concrete panels in an attractive juxtaposition of textures. The three-dimensional green wall will give depth and variation to the building all year long as the vegetation adapts to the seasons. Originally low-rise housing built in 1933, the fabric of the building suffered serious damage from WWII air raids. In Warsaw, 72% of residential buildings were lost as a result of the war so the preservation authorities decided the building was to be restored. The building structure demanded extensive work to stabilize and reinforce the foundations walls and ceilings, and the character of the original multi-family dwelling had to be retained during the conversion to green office space.
FAAB was able to keep the existing rhythm of windows, but also carve out an additional light well through from the ceiling to the ground floor. The intervention begins with the main entrance and ends with the rear garden, allowing natural light to penetrate, connecting street to green spaces behind the offices.
In addition to meeting low energy building standards, the biologically active surface supports the retention of the rain water. Together with the vertical garden, the green area covers 82% of the surface of the site. The rain water collected from the roof and pavement is directed into the underground retention basin. The rain water is then used to water the green elevation. This solution helps to reduce to an absolute minimum the amount of the grey water dumped into municipal drainage.
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As the vertical garden grows, the biodiversity of the wall may change due to the seeds brought by birds or wind. The facade will be fully grown and blooming by 2016. The Foundation for Polish Science is a non-governmental, non-political, non-profit institution that supports scientific research. Let’s hope their new green exterior inspires the researchers to make sustainable decisions within the building’s interior.