Vertical Grounds Design Lab


Mackenzie Van Dam – University College London

“Greenwall” or “Living Wall” is a term for a vertical garden on the outside of a building. They promise improved urban ecologies but are however, a relatively new technology. Much like the first computers they require new ideas for their evolution and increased sophistication.

Living Lattice is a new form of greenwall system, which creates a more bio-diverse and resilient system vs conventional greenwalls. It also replaces the plastic of current systems with sustainable materials and is able to be deployed as a highly versatile architectural veneer for buildings, covering walls and acting as a screening system for windows. The project uses an innovative fabrication and application of cork product, which is a highly sustainable replacement for plastic. Cork is a carbon negative material, meaning in the production of the product, more carbon has beenstored than emitted in its production. This technology is patent pending.

The work has just exited its research phase which was done in collaboration with UCL’s Bio-integrated Design Lab, and is pursuing external funding and clients to create a large wall system which will arguably be the worlds most sustainable greenwall system to date. This project will help to move the building industry to a more sustainable, ecological future while helping new buildings meet government regulations on reduced environmental impact.

By introducing living soils and plants to our urban centres, the living lattice helps our cities transition towards to objectives of the EU green deal through improved biodiversity, water retention and fresh air, while lowering the cities urban heat island effect through evaporative cooling and heat absorption. Its cork material, and embodiments of living plants and microorganisms makes the living lattice a carbon sink, bringing the balanced thermodynamics found in living forests to our urban core.