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African Vertical Gardens and Sustainable Architecture

31 Jul 2023

Vertical gardens have become increasingly popular in sustainable architecture all over the world, and Africa is no different. These creative designs upgrade the aesthetic appeal of structures as well as offer a great many advantages for both humans and the environment. 

Vertical gardens have become increasingly popular in sustainable architecture all over the world, and Africa is no different. These creative designs upgrade the aesthetic appeal of structures as well as offer a great many advantages for both humans and the environment. 

From improving air quality to promoting biodiversity, vertical gardens are changing the manner in which we design and interact with our urban landscapes. In this article, we will explore the different benefits of vertical gardens in sustainable architecture and talk about how to actually design and integrate them into African urban environments.

Advantages of Vertical Gardens in Sustainable Architecture

Improves air quality by filtering pollutants: Vertical gardens act as natural air filters, eliminating contamination and further improving the overall air quality in the surrounding area.

Reduces energy utilization by providing insulation: The vegetation in vertical gardens acts as insulation, decreasing the need for artificial heating and cooling systems and bringing down energy consumption.

Creates a characteristic cooling effect, reducing the need for air conditioning: The evapotranspiration cycle of plants in vertical gardens creates a cooling effect, reducing the dependence on air conditioning and saving energy.

Improves aesthetic appeal and creates a feeling of well-being: Vertical gardens add a visually satisfying element to sustainable architecture, creating a feeling of beauty and serenity. They likewise have a positive impact on psychological well-being and prosperity.

Promoting biodiversity by drawing in birds, bees, and butterflies: Vertical gardens act as living spaces for different species, drawing in birds, honey bees, and butterflies. This elevates biodiversity and adds to the ecological balance.

Architects and Landscapers think of the modern city

Architects and Landscapers
Architects and Landscapers

In architecture, nature can be perceived as a constraining element to be reckoned with. Buildings must withstand destructive forces such as the sun, rain, and the passage of time. We cover the walls with plaster, we redo the roofs, and we stabilize the foundation. Nature, for an architect, is also a challenge. Not only does the building have to resist the onslaught of the elements, but it can also integrate into its environment, or even take advantage of it.

In parallel with the major environmental changes that our planet has been experiencing in recent decades, architecture is adapting. It follows the spirit of the times while proposing solutions to contemporary problems. In a world where more than 50% of the population is urban, nature has become the Holy Grail. We are looking for the benefits of plants, for the well-being and comfort of the inhabitants, and for this reason, plants are integrated into the architecture.

This is why many architectural projects integrating vegetation are flourishing all over the world. Over the ages, techniques have evolved, and while freeing themselves from elementary constraints, architects now play with these parameters to highlight their achievements and create buildings with a positive impact. More and more, architects and landscape architects work together. 

Plant specialists join the design teams. Plants, once reviled in the city because they were synonymous with wasteland, stray animals, and pests, are now a sign of modernity and the avant-garde.

How to integrate greenery and nature in vertical and very densely populated cities If there is no more space on the ground, is there more space on the walls and roofs of buildings? Nature becomes more vertical and thus adapts to the urban environment. 

And its strengths are not diminished. This is why green walls and green roofs are now part of the landscape of major world cities such as Paris, Tokyo, or New York.

Designing Vertical Gardens to Enhance Sustainable Architecture


Designing Vertical Gardens
Designing Vertical Gardens

While designing vertical gardens in sustainable architecture, it is fundamental to consider different variables that can advance their functionality and aesthetics. Here are a few key considerations:

Choosing suitable materials for vertical garden structures

Choosing the right materials for the development of vertical garden structures is pivotal for guaranteeing their sturdiness and life span. Factors like weather conditions, load-bearing capacity, and compatibility with plant growth ought to be considered.

Streamlining natural light and water resources for plant growth

Proper usage of natural light is fundamental for the healthy growth of plants in vertical gardens. Designing the structures to maximize exposure to sunlight while likewise considering the water necessities of various plant species is crucial to achieving sustainable and flourishing vertical gardens.

Integrating irrigation systems to guarantee proper hydration of plants

Effective irrigation systems ought to be integrated into the design to guarantee that plants in vertical gardens are adequately hydrated. Innovations, for example, like drip irrigation, can assist with moderating water while providing plants with vital moisture for their growth.

Creating a balance between aesthetics and functionality in design

Vertical gardens ought to be designed with a balance between aesthetics and functionality. Integrating visually appealing elements like beautiful plants, cascading vines, and varying textures while additionally considering the structural stability and practicality of the design is fundamental for sustainable architecture.

Improving Air Quality with Vertical Gardens in African Cities

Vertical gardens have the potential to significantly improve air quality in African cities. By filtering and absorbing pollutants from the air, they act as natural air purifiers, reducing air pollution and creating healthier urban environments. Here are some ways in which vertical gardens contribute to improving air quality:

Filtering and absorbing pollutants: Vertical gardens effectively filter harmful chemicals and particulate matter, such as dust and smoke, from the air. The plants and vegetation in the gardens act as natural air filters, absorbing pollutants through their leaves and roots.

Lowering the concentration of harmful chemicals: By reducing the concentration of pollutants in the air, vertical gardens help create cleaner and healthier air. This is particularly beneficial for cities in which high levels of air pollution pose a significant risk to the respiratory health of residents.

Creating oxygen-rich environments: Vertical gardens not only remove pollutants from the air but also release oxygen, creating oxygen-rich environments. This improves respiratory health and overall well-being for city dwellers, reducing the risk of respiratory diseases and allergies.

Enhancing the overall well-being: The presence of greenery and vegetation in vertical gardens has a positive impact on the overall well-being and quality of life of urban residents. Being surrounded by nature has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve mental health.

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