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Living Green Screens Challenge Planter, Irrigation and Drainage Design

The Borealis Apartments, located in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, incorporates green walls to buffer the residents from the busy traffic and screen the views of expansive parking lots to the south. The vines and climbing plants in these green façades are also intended to help screen the direct sun, purify the air for the residents and create a green link to Denny Park directly west of the site.

The green walls are comprised of prefabricated trough planters, green screens®, cables and plants. The planters are supported two-foot four-inches off of the building façade and alternate from side to side as they ascend up to the parapet arbor planters. The planters incorporate green screens® tied directly into the back of the planters and plant climbing cables which link the planters from floor to floor.

The biggest challenge in the design was to provide the planters with irrigation and drainage without compromising the building envelope. The plantings are irrigated from a rooftop connection in the mechanical room which drops down the building façade to the support brackets and out to the planters on each floor. The irrigation system is constructed with galvanized pipe, which will not deteriorate in the suns UV rays and complements the galvanized siding on the building façade.

Each planter is also fitted with a drain line to catch surplus water and keep it from splashing against the windows and building façade. Greening the Architecture on The Borealis integrates the building into the neighborhood.