GPW: Ngee Ann Polytechnic”™s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility

October 24, 2011 at 11:16 pm Project of the Week: 10/17/11
Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility
323 sf.  Greenwall

Year: 2009
Owner: Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Location: Singapore
Building Type: Educational
Type: Living Wall, Test/Research
System: Custom
Size: 323 sq. ft.
Slope: 100%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public

Project Description & Details

Early efforts to green up walls and flyovers vertically in Singapore began about 40 years ago with the use of creepers and ornamental plants to increase the aesthetic values. Current vertical greening planter systems implemented in Singapore were mainly from overseas which tend to be heavy, difficult to install and suited for deep rooted plants.

The Landscape Design and Horticulture programme from the School of Life Sciences and Chemical Technology at Ngee Ann Polytechnic embarked to develop “simpler” green walls for high rise buildings where 90% of residences are dwellers. The 2-year research on sustainable plant species for the green wall involved 40 students and the outcome was a 12m x 2.5m vertical extensive green (VEG) system implemented in 2009. The VEG comprised of 120 polypropylene panels (50 x 50 x 3cm) that were pre-grown with shallow rooted vegetative cuttings and plantlets. Eleven species of grass, bromeliad, creeper and fern on shallow panels filled with cocopeat (2% osmocote) were tested for their long term growth performance.


Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Green Wall Design: Gregory Chow, Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Green Wall Construction & Irrigation: Microwet Engineering Pty Ltd
Plant Sourcing, Planting & Growing Services: Landscape Design & Horticulture, Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Additional Info

Since over 90% of people in Singapore reside in high rise public housing, infrastructure needs are built on this model.  For example, public transportation is readily within sight, let alone walking distance, to the vast majority of these high density multi-family dwellings.  And greening the built environment is taken very seriously here as well – more so on horizontal spaces such as rooftops, or sky gardens as they are commonly referred to here, sky bridges and other connecting devices.

Above is a shot I took from when we visited Singapore last November (when I spoke at the International Skyrise Greenery Conference) where you can see multitudes of housing blocks, and below notice all the greenroofs already in place:

Greenwalls are becoming another very popular “skyrise greenery” element, as well, and there is a growing industry and government help to support it.  And now indoor greening is also getting attention after the success of the  Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility.

After an October 2009 student design competition where students were  “tasked to create a portable do-it-yourself vertical greenery system,”  National Parks Board  Singapore’s Centre For Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE) Research collaborated with the Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Life Sciences and Chemical Technology and School to develop a simple, inexpensive and attractive vertical greening system for residential homes.

Borrowing some of the ideas from student  submissions,  researchers from CUGE and Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturers then “put their heads together to draw out some of the good ideas behind the students’ submission and created a product that is user-friendly and practical for home owner.”  Long Seen Hui and Gregory Chow continue:

“The final invention consists of a stackable  system of modules for the support. Each unit  can work singly, or in stacks of threes or sixes. The single units and those in stacks of threes may be free- standing on the floor, while the three- or six-unit system can be mounted onto the wall. The single units can also be displayed as miniature gardens on the table.

The system is simple to assemble, easy to  maintain and aesthetically pleasing. Already  patent-registered, it is designed to fit in  most living rooms, balconies or other suitable locations in the homes. Users are able to  arrange series of flexible and modular vertical  systems to suit their imaginations when greening their walls to provide a maximum impact.

The self-regulating water requirement in each  planting module allows a steady water supply  over extended periods. With an efficient drainage system, plant stress due to lack of water or over watering is prevented, thus removing the guess work on manual watering and providing a healthy growing environment indoors.” ~  Vertical Greenery for Interior Spaces Made Easy: DIY Vertical Greenery at Home


The second task at the  Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Vertical Extensive Green Wall Testing Facility  was to evaluate shallow rooted plant species for its growth habit, disease susceptibility, nutrient deficiencies and its maintenance requirement.

An instructional DVD along with an instruction booklet is available for purchase at the Garden Shop of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  Contact  Gregory Chow of  Ngee Ann Polytechnic for more information here:

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click  here to see more information about this project in  The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours  here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.