On Westfield London’s opening day, more than 150,000 shoppers flocked to see Europe’s largest inner-city retail complex: 17.5 hectares with almost 280 shops, 50 restaurants and a 14-screen cinema. AECOM's role in this £1.7b development was to complete the distinctive landscape and public realm design.
Among the highlights of the landscape design is the living wall at Southern Terrace, the western entrance to the new shopping center. At 170 meters long and four meters tall, this visually striking landmark stands between the commercial center and local homes, and creates an exciting, upbeat and inviting destination lined with restaurants, cafes and bars. Constructed using a modular system from Canadian firm ELT, the north-facing living wall is planted predominantly with native woodland plants, primarily ferns, and is incorporated into a massive contemporary-style water feature. In addition to being visually outstanding, it also provides a giant slice of new wildlife habitat in the middle of the retail complex.
A range of living wall types were considered. Among the choices was the traditional method of using climbing plants such as ivy, or pre-grown moss or sedum tiles, but these would have been slow to establish or unsuited to the north-facing location. The system selected is based on modular plastic panels approximately 50cm high by 50cm wide by 8cm deep subdivided into 45 cells. Each cell drains into the cell below through slots. Panels can be stacked and fixed to a board or frame to create a wall of almost any size. Water is supplied to the top of each wall by irrigation lines and is collected in a drainage sump below.