The Stucki Shopping Centre in Basel
The Stucki Shopping Centre, Basel, opened last year, is the kind of place that you will be familiar with – hundreds of shops under one roof and underground parking. It does include some innovative features though including heating using waste heat from an adjoining industrial estate and absorption refrigerators, which also use waste heat. There is also an enormous (35,000m2) extensive biodiverse green roof – standard practice in Basel (see description by Jim Labbe), but the feature that will strike most visitors as they arrive is the facade greening.
The favoured method of greening facades in Switzerland is to growing climbing or trailing plants up or down trellises made from stainless steel (usually supplied by the Swiss company Jakob). For example an entire park has been created with steel trellis at the MFO Park In Zurich. Interesting but probably a little to much steel for one park.
At the Stucki Shopping Centre two methods are used to green the 20m high exterior walls. The steel trellis method involves stringing wires and growing climbing plants from the ground up and the roof down (see photo). Eventually these plants will meet in the middle, creating a wall of vegetation that will keep the building cool in summer. Plants used include Lonicera species, Clematis armandii, Vitis cognetiae, Hedera helix and Parthenocissus quinquefolia, amongst others. We will look again when the planting matures.
At the front entrance, in order to achieve instant impact, a series of pre-grown trellis panels have been erected, one above another. Each panel consists of a planter box and integrated trellis, covered with a single species of climbing plant. The boxes are also planted with showy flowers, including roses. I personally prefer the more relaxed effect of the climbers (if you have the patience) or if you want instant impact (and can afford it) a pre-grown modular living wall, which fills in all the gaps. However they are created though green facades definitely have a future because they soften the view, cool the building in summer, reduce wind chill in winter and provide cover for our struggling wildlife.