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Covering over 3,000m² of the façade with more than 350,000 plants of 32 different species, we are on the way to completing the second largest living wall in the world (the first we completed in Qatar in 2018, named Khalifa Avenue).  Located in the heart of Manchester, a seemingly small patch of land in the cultural hub of Salford is being transformed into a 12-storey office building, which will set the sustainable building agenda for years to come.

But this is no ordinary office block.  With a curved façade, holding more than 160 tonnes of natural soil and plants selected for their properties to support local biodiversity and improve air quality, rainwater harvesting and net zero carbon in operation, this building is heading up the next generation of environmentally supportive developments.

In fact, this development, fittingly named ‘Eden at New Bailey’ has already been awarded WiredScore Platinum and BREEAM Outstanding.

concept visual of living wall on large office building

We were approached by Bowmer + Kirkland and are working closely with Muse Developments in the design and implementation of the façade.  We are currently on-site with Bowmer + Kirkland to integrate the living wall.  We'll soon begin what we call the ‘first fix’, where everything up to the module (the subframe) is fixed to the structure.  Following this, the pre-grown modules and the irrigation will be fitted.

The journey of the plants

All 350,000 (and more!) plants began their lives in the module cells as young plugs – no bigger than your thumbnail.  Having been planted at our nursery in West Sussex, they have been carefully tended to as they grow and establish to become mature, resilient plants over the last six months. 

young plug plants in soil filled living wall modules

Pictured: the plants growing at our nursery in May

Growing from plug plants instead of mature plants, whilst meaning a longer lead time, has allowed for a large cost saving for Bowmer + Kirkland, the main contractor for the project.  Another key benefit of this is that the plants are more resilient, as they have had longer to fully establish in their cells before being installed on-site.

plants growing at a nursery in modules

Pictured: The plants growing at our nursery in July

Supporting local biodiversity and removing toxins

Set to be completed in May 2023, the living wall uses natural soil over hydroponics and thus provides several environmental benefits to its local Salford area. These include a significant increase in biodiversity, providing habitats for various wildlife, removing toxins from the atmosphere, and improving the building’s thermal performance.

Each species of plant has been specially to fulfil a purpose, whether that is supporting local biodiversity or improving air quality.  Here are some of the plants we’ve included:

Thymus vulgaris (English Thyme) – good for air quality (hairy leaves, better for air purifying)

Hypericum Hidcote (St John’s Wort) – source of nectar and berries for birds

Hyacinthoides non-scripta (Bluebell) – early source of nectar

living wall growing at a nursery

Pictured: one of the many A-frames bearing the modules for Eden at New Bailey.

Steve McIntyre, Eden’s principal urban environmental consultant added:

“Eden’s living wall will not only be lush and striking it will be serving a very important purpose of creating an oxygenated environment and capturing carbon dioxide.”

Being created as we speak, Europe’s biggest living wall will be a key feature of Eden, allowing for many of the environmental credentials the development has already gained. 

Developed by The English Cities Fund and Muse Developments, Eden will allow companies to demonstrate their commitment to our planet, with sustainability and well-being built into its core.

If you have any questions about the project at Eden at New Bailey or your own potential project, give us a call on +44 1243 545818 or email enquiries@ans.global!

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