World’s Largest Vertical Garden Goes up at Ports of Auckland

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Ports of Auckland has installed the world’s largest soil-based vertical garden on its new car-handling building on Auckland’s waterfront.

“This vertical garden is one of several design features of the new building that will improve the look of the port and better integrate it into the central city.

As it grows, the vertical garden will help turn what could be a boring, functional building into a local landmark which increases biodiversity and greens the central city.” said Ports of Auckland Chief Executive Tony Gibson.

“Another great feature of the garden is that its production is a collaboration between Ports of Auckland and a number of fantastic local businesses and organisations,’ said Mr Gibson.

The unique soil-based vertical garden system was invented by New Zealand company Hanging Gardens and the components are manufactured right here in New Zealand as part of a Department of Corrections prisoner rehabilitation programme.

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“The creation of these hanging gardens gives the men in our care a fantastic opportunity to learn and hone industry-related skills and earn qualifications that can help them secure sustainable employment on their release from prison,” says David Grear, Manager Industries at Auckland Prison.

“This project also provides the prisoners with a great opportunity to give back to the community in a meaningful way.”

The garden has been planted with 75% NZ native plants with around 40 species used, all chosen because they require less water and fewer nutrients. Around 3800 plants have been used in the installation, pre-grown in felt pockets by the team at Pukekohe-based Joy Plants.

It is the only vertical garden product which meets the Living Building Challenge criteria for sustainability. Everything used in the garden can be either reused or recycled.

To ensure plant health – and minimal water use – sensor-controlled drip irrigation has been installed.

This is the first time the vegetation like this has been allowed inside a New Zealand port, and special biosecurity measures were required. These were approved by MPI and include the use of plants that don’t attract insects and other pests, as well as a comprehensive surveillance programme.

We would like to thank MPI for their help in bringing this unique project to fruition.

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The car handling building was designed by Plus Architecture and is being built by Hawkins Ltd. When complete the building will also have a 110 metre-long light sculpture on one façade and a public park on the roof.

Source: Ports of Auckland

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