When we heard that the green thumbed Patrick Blanc hung a series of vertical garden columns at the new Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), we had to take a closer look. Commissioned by renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron to give the illusion that the 200,000 square foot museum is embedded within a park, and challenged by climatic conditions associated with PAMM's oceanside location, Blanc designed long plant-wrapped cylinders that hang from wooden rafters on all four sides of the museum's exterior. Browse through our gallery of photos, which attempt to capture the scale of these extraordinary hanging gardens populated with no fewer than 54,700 plants.
Blanc first popularized vertical gardens in 1988 with a green wall at the Museum of Science and Industry in Paris. At Herzog & de Meuron’s behest, he has since reinvented the concept with fiberglass tubes covered with a membrane and felt. The latter has small pockets that hold individual plants that are watered with an irrigation system embedded between the membrane and the felt. An innovative and very unusual merger of botany and design, the PAMM gardens will eventually enshroud the museum in greenery as the plants mature.
As visitors emerge from an underground parking lot, they are immediately greeted by a collection of gardens, which aren’t easy to photograph since they are so long. The longest, according to the museum, is 51 foot long, and their lengths are staggered as an antidote to aesthetic monotony. There are 67 gardens with seven individual chambers each and a total of 77 different local plant species make up the 54,700 plants, and they have to be watered several times a day.
Mitigating the museum’s potential water footprint, Blanc designed a rainwater capture system that feeds the irrigation tubes, and excess water is drained into planters so that no water goes to waste. Some of the gardens are more mature than others, since they were planted sooner, but they all contribute to a very pleasing microclimate despite Miami’s heat and humidity. This is the first time that Blanc and Herzog & de Meuron have worked together in the U.S., but we hope it won’t be the last.
All images by Tafline Laylin for Inhabitat