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Meet Canada's Living, Breathing Bridge

Friday, October 17, 2014

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Mother Nature is giving bridge coatings a run for their money in Canada, where a concrete overpass now owes its aesthetic to plants, not paint.

A living carpet of more than 100 unique plant species and 45,000 unique plants provides the visual appeal for the highway overpass in Surrey, British Columbia.

Green over Grey overpass wall
Green over Grey

The 10,150-square-foot living wall is the largest green wall in North America and the only one built over a roadway.

The installation, called “Mountains & Trees, Waves & Pebbles,” covers both sides of the overpass and incorporates 10,150 square feet of vegetation in all.

That makes it the largest green wall in North America—and the only one built directly over a roadway, according to Vancouver-based design firm Green over Grey, whose name sums up its architectural vision.

The installation is part of the $280 million redevelopment of the Guildford Town Centre, which opened in 1966. The redevelopment project began in 2010.

Living Wall Inspiration

Inspiration for the project came from the mountain ranges and shorelines throughout the Western Canadian province, the company said.

Green over Grey / YouTube

Installation of the massive green wall gets time-lapse treatment in this video.

“[M]ountains provide the organic and free-flowing patterns which we’ve found resonate best with people when viewing our planted work,” said Mike Weinmaster, chief designer at Green over Grey.

Wave patterns represent rhythm and fluidity in the design, he added.

The living wall system contributes to the Town Centre’s LEED Gold Certification, the firm said. The town centre project was designed by the Musson, Cattell, Mackey Partnership.

Founded in 2008, Green over Grey focuses on the creation of “spectacular and eye-catching green walls throughout North America.”

Its portfolio includes installations at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA; Desjardins’ headquarters in Levis, Quebec; and international airports in Edmonton, Alberta, and Birmingham, AL.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Architecture; Bridges; Design; Green building; Green walls; Landscape architects; LEED; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways; Transportation

Comment from M. Halliwell, (10/17/2014, 11:46 AM) least it is in Surrey, BC. It'll have a decent chance of surviving winter there, where it is much warmer than places like Edmonton, Winnipeg, Whitehorse or Yellowknife.

Comment from Jim Johnson, (10/17/2014, 11:58 AM)

I'm wondering what is the purpose of the wall to begin with?

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (10/20/2014, 8:33 AM)

Jim, apparently it is the side of an enclosed pedestrian bridge.

Comment from Karen Fischer, (10/20/2014, 9:19 AM)

That is one wide pedestrian bridge!

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