Thirty-Foot-High LiveWall® Installation Symbolizes and Inspires Commitment to Sustainability and Health
Students in the Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) culinary arts and allied health programs take their classes at the Bronson Healthy Living Campus. As they enter the Culinary/Allied Health Building, KVCC’s new green wall stands front and center as a living, thriving symbol of sustainability and healthy living. Measuring 30 feet high by 10 feet 8 inches wide, the 324-square-foot green wall was constructed with the LiveWall® system from LiveWall, LLC, the green wall subsidiary of Hortech, Inc., Spring Lake, Mich.
“The scope of the green wall, extending the full three-story height of the building, and its prominent position at the main entrance to the building serve to remind our students that they are preparing for careers focused on protecting and improving the health and well-being of our citizens and the sustainability of our communities,” said Mike Collins, executive vice president, enrollment and campus operations, Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC).
“The overall design goal for the Bronson Healthy Living Campus is to express and promote health, sustainable food, the environment and community,” said Rick Wordell, senior principal and design director, Eckert Wordell, part of the Arcadia Collaborative architecture team. “The green wall symbolizes this goal and represents the meaning and purpose of the Culinary/ Allied Health Building and the overall campus project.”
D & D Building, Inc., Wyoming, Mich., erected the structure of the green wall in September 2015. It features 30 eight-inch and 255 16-inch LiveWall planter modules attached to the unique aluminum rail and mounting track system, which is affixed to the outside wall to secure the planters and integrated irrigation components. Hortech grew 500 plants over the winter in the LiveWall planter inserts so that the plants would be hearty and ready for installation into the modular planters on the wall in May 2016.
Based on the east-northeast orientation and exposure of the wall, as well as the requirement of plants that can over-winter well, the horticultural experts at LiveWall suggested a mix of six different plants, including Blue Wonder Catmint, Purple Bergenia, two different varieties of Geraniums, and two different types of Coral Bells. The wall design creates distinct blocks of color with flowers that bloom at varied times during the growing season.
“The green wall plant selection and placement produce a vertical landscape that is more naturalistic than formal,” said Collins. “That is in keeping with the design goals for the campus and complements other sustainable landscape features on the campus.”
The KVCC green wall is visually appealing, inviting and inspiring. It is healthful and beneficial to the environment, too. For example, through the natural process of water evaporation from plant leaves, the green wall plants release water vapor that cools the air, helping naturally cool the Culinary/ Allied Health Building during the warmer spring and summer months.
About Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) was established in 1966 by nine local school districts. It is a comprehensive, fully accredited, public, two-year college with enrollment of about 13,000 students. KVCC offers certificate programs in more than 20 areas of study and associate degrees in 25 others. In addition to associate degree and certificate programs in business, health care, human and public service, technical and industrial occupations, the culinary arts and sustainable food systems, the college also provides a quality experience for students preparing to transfer to four-year institutions following graduation. KVCC has four campuses: Texas Township, Arcadia Commons, The Groves and the Bronson Healthy Living Campus.