View Plant Connection’s G-O2 Living Wall e-Newsletter Bean Town Becomes Green Town.
St. James Ave. is now the home of a new plaza located in Boston’s historic Back Bay. Aside from a custom-designed water feature, lush plantings, stone seat cubes, and distinctive lighting, the site also boasts multi-dimensional G-O2 Living Walls that draw you into the space.
Designed by Copley Wolff Design Group (CWDG), the green walls were used as a strong vertical element that ties in with the paving pattern and vertical columns on the building. Additionally, constructing the green walls as 4-sided columns is especially unique and creates very stunning focal points for the park.
The project site sits within an area of Boston that is predominantly urban fill. As a result, the living walls needed to attach to a vertical surface that was tied down to a pile cap and piles. The offices within the buildings surrounding the plaza all have views onto the St. James Garden. Therefore, the park had to be attractive from above.
CWDG incorporated green roof panels on top of the living walls to provide a solid green, visually appealing view to look great from above. In order to conceal the green roof panels from sight at ground level, the G-O2 Living Wall panels were simply extended 6”, and formed a nice fit.
When designing the plant palette for the G-O2 Living Walls, Plant Connection (PCI) chose plants that remained green year-round, provided seasonal interest for the public space, and were shade tolerant since the site is oriented on the North face of the building, in the dense urban landscape.
The focus of the living walls at the St. James Garden was to celebrate the bold vertical form. Collaborating with CWDG, PCI designed a simplistic mottled green look versus a defined pattern. PCI sculpted each side of the living wall with mostly compact groundcover plants to envelop the shape of the columns. The same plants were used for the green roof in order to establish a unifying theme. People walking by the site can’t help but notice the unusual towers of green emerging from the plaza.
The park continues to offer visitors a rewarding experience even into the evening by special night lighting. Each living wall displays up lighting on both sides that accentuates the vertical objects and creates a highly interesting textured appearance on the foliage, taking the living wall to “new heights.”