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The Britomart East Complex is located at 2 Takutai Square, Britomart, Auckland CBD, New Zealand. Watch the 1:49 video Britomart East Complex Green Walls – Project of the Week 7/21/14 from Greenroofs.com on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. See the Britomart project profile from Natural Habitats and read the June 30, 2011 ‘Green’ Buildings Reap Benefits of Living Art Works on the Britomart.org website. To find out more about the Natural Habitats modular green wall systems visit http://www.naturalhabitats.co.nz/our-gardens/green-technology or contact: [email protected]

“Britomart is a vibrant shopping, entertainment and business precinct in the heart of downtown Auckland. Surrounded by beautiful heritage buildings, it’s a neighbourhood of buzzing restaurants and bars, world-class fashion boutiques and interesting art spaces. It’s also home to the HQs of some of New Zealand’s leading creative and corporate organisations. Eighteen historic buildings are being restored here and seven state-of-the-art new buildings developed. It’s all part of a long-term project that’s transforming Britomart into one of the most exciting places in New Zealand: a 24/7 community where people live, work, shop and play,” (Britomart.org).

Located on Takutai in the city’s Central Business District, stunning living walls are situated in the atrium of the Britomart East complex. New Zealand’s largest to date, they were an ideal lightweight solution to the question of how to differentiate the complex’s interior aesthetic. The atrium forms part of the Te Ara Tahuhu walking street, which provides access to Britomart’s underground train platform.

According to locals, the two three-story high green walls at the Atrium on Takutai are among the most admired and photographed sights in the Britomart precinct. The 120 m2 of living walls line the east and west end walls and integrate seamlessly into the building fabric. The building has a New Zealand Green Building Council five-star rating.

Natural Habitats, the designer and system manufacturer, was just honored with a Silver Award at the prestigious New Zealand Landscapes of Distinction Awards on the 5th of July, 2014, for the Care/Management of the Britomart East Green Walls. When asked for feedback regarding the four-year old green walls in June, Matthew Cockram, CEO of Cooper and Company and Britomart property owner said, “The investment made in these Green Walls have paid off with increased building value, high tenant retention and an improved green star rating.”

The introduction of the vertical gardens has improved air quality, acoustics and thermal performance. They provide a place for natural ecology in the commercial environment and give office occupants a sense of connection with the natural environment. The vertical plantings are hydroponically fed on harvested rainwater and the green walls feature a custom designed planting palette chosen for their low light and maintenance requirements.

The green walls feature a combination of native and exotic epiphytes, ferns, climbers and groundcovers. A collection of flowering plants provide seasonal variety, and have been specially chosen to ensure falling drifts of petals don’t stain the steel grey tiles below. The overall composition was influenced by the shadows that fall on the wall during the day, with repetition of planting patterns loosely referencing those found in traditional Maori carvings.

“The green wall has been the single most outstanding feature of our new work environment. It causes people to stop and take time out to look at the detail of it, which is extremely important in an otherwise rushed corporate environment,” commented an office worker.

As the walls are only 120 mm deep containing an inert medium as opposed to soil, they can be easily fixed into the atrium’s existing stud pattern. The walls’ 60 custom made panels had to be carefully installed by Natural Habitats using a building maintenance unit and abseiling equipment. They have sensors that switch on when ambient light levels fall too low. They are an ideal lightweight solution to the question of how to differentiate the Britomart complex’s interior aesthetic.

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