At the University of Guelph, near Toronto, green design is a literal term. The new Humber building, designed by Toronto firm Diamond Schmitt Architects, Inc., uses a wall of plants as a living air purifier for the 170,000-sq.ft. building.

The four-story biofilter is a thick jungle of ferns, ivy and other plants, working together to emit microbes that break down harmful airborne contaminants into water and CO2. The wall is self-cleaning, since pollutants are not absorbed into the plants, but actually broken down. The biofilter was developed by biological researchers at the University of Guelph, including Alan Darlington, who now heads his own company, Air Quality Solutions, Ltd., to sell the living walls commercially.

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  1. Diana January 16, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    There’s a vertical garden in Montreal, Quebec. I saw it there in November, 2005. It’s in a skyscraper whose first and second floors have been converted to an indoor mall – at least, it used to be. Wish I could remember the address.

  2. cynthia korzekwa January 15, 2007 at 8:32 am

    too bad not more people are creating such walls

  3. Claire Hyland August 17, 2005 at 4:55 pm

    Love it – have you heard about the vertical garden in Camper’s Barcelona Hotel?

  4. a35mmlife July 21, 2005 at 7:05 pm

    So very beautiful. What a treat it would be to come to work/school and see that each day! Awesome.

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