Independence Blue Cross Living Wall
 Information Partner  
IBC Plaza; Photo Credit: Pennoni Associates.Project Name: Independence Blue Cross Living Wall
Year: 2016
Owner: Independence Blue Cross
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Building Type: Corporate
Type: Living Wall
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 544 sq.ft.
Slope: 100%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public
Submitted by: Plant Connection, Inc.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Architect: Meyer Architects
Structural Engineer: O'Donnell & Naccarato
MEP/Civil Engineer: Pennoni Associates
Landscape Architect: Pennoni Associates
General Construction: The Riff Group
Green Wall System: G-O2 Living Walls, Plant Connection
Manufacturer & Grower: Plant Connection
Planting Design: Sabrina Buttitta, BSLA, Plant Connection
Maintenance: Ambius
IBC Plaza Living Wall Rendering; Photo Credit: Plant Connection, Inc and Meyer Architects.Existing Plaza Conditions at 1901 Market Street. Photo Credit: Meyer Architects.IBC Plaza; Photo Credit: Pennoni Associates.
Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, serving the health insurance needs of Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia's 1901 Market Street, corporate headquarters for Independence Blue Cross (IBC), underwent a 5-year complete building modernization which included the overhaul of the 1987 building's lobby, full-floor cafeteria, all 45 office floors, and the Market Street frontage expansion at the ground floor. This renovation was awarded with two TOBY (The Outstanding Building of the Year) Awards from BOMA Philadelphia (Building Owners and Managers Association). BOMA's TOBY awards recognize quality in buildings and reward excellence in building management. Buildings are judged on everything from community involvement and site management to environmental and green policies and procedures.

Nothing more visually states a company's green branding than installing two exterior 18' tall living walls! Aside from the site's interior renovations, IBC also gave its outdoor plaza space a "green face-lift." The previous space was segmented and masked, plants had outgrown their space, and the plaza terminated at a tiered concrete wall of weeds that loomed over seating areas.

Now, 1901 Market Street is wide open with welcoming views to lush living walls! New paving, complete with IBC's inlaid logo medallion and recessed LED lighting, runs throughout and visually connects the buildings overlooking the space. Ample seating and modular parallelogram-shaped wooden benches allow office workers to find respite.
IBC Plaza; Photo Credit: Pennoni Associates.IBC Plaza Living Wall Install. Photo: Plant Connection.
But the real wow-factor to the plaza is the green walls! The two green walls span a total of 32 feet and provide a splendid visual contrast to the richly colored Trespa panel accent wall that surrounds it. Serpentine tiered seating extends from the wall and allows visitors to appreciate the living wall plantings up close. Additional plantings below the Trespa panels help soften the transition between materials. The living walls are segmented by recessed LED lighting that aligns with other design elements.

Plant Connection provided the client with several living wall planting design options. A curvilinear design of overlapping arcs that freely flows through both walls was ultimately chosen over more grid-like options, which provides a greater contrast to the linear lines of the plaza space.

Since the plaza is surrounded by tall buildings that cast shadows and bounce light, a planting palette suitable for shade was chosen with seasonal interest. Various evergreen species like winter creeper, which develops a crimson hue in fall/winter, were incorporated, while chartreuse coral bells and carpets of starry pink phlox offer spring and summer color.

Building occupants now have verdant views to the living walls below, and plaza visitors can take a refreshing break outside in an inviting space. Environments with more natural light, as well as different vistas, colors and patterns, all of which IBC lends, can help nurture creativity, improve moods and enhance the ability to focus. Who wouldn't want to work in an office environment like that?

Additional thumbnail photos:

IBC Plaza; Photo Credit: Pennoni Associates.IBC Plaza; Photo Credit: Pennoni Associates.IBC Plaza Living Wall Install. Photo: Plant Connection.IBC Plaza; Photo Credit: Pennoni Associates.IBC Plaza; Photo Credit: Pennoni Associates.
Independence Blue Cross Living Wall is located at 1901 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103; visit their Facebook page. Watch the 3:07 Independence Blue Cross Living Wall - Project of the Week 8/28/17 video from Greenroofs.com on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. Greenroofs.com Project of the Week 8/28/17 video photo credits: Courtesy of Independence Blue Cross Facebook page; Meyer Architects; Pennoni Associates; The Riff Group; and Plant Connection.

See more photos of the Independence Blue Cross Living Wall project from
Plant Connection and the project profile from Meyer Architects. Read the 2017 G-O2 Living Wall e-Newsletter Philly's Market Street Gets Green Face-lift from Plant Connection and the April 11, 2017 Secret gardens, parks, and green spaces in Philadelphia in CURBED.

Learn about
Plant Connection in The Greenroof & Greenwall Directory. For project inquiries contact: Anthony Caggiano, President of Plant Connection, Inc. at 1.888.78.PLANT; myplantconnection.com; or anthony@myplantconnection.com.
 
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