If you have visited Spain’s capital, Madrid, and walked on its bustling streets in the old town area, you will surely notice the multitude of large murals, graffiti, and street art. Though Madrid street art is not as popular as in other major global cities, it is surely catching up.
In addition, the city center also boasts of a Royal Botanic Garden, a beautiful garden with an incredible selection of different plants, and El Retiro Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a green oasis.
So, it is apt to find a piece of architecture that combines creativity, art, and greenery in a single place.
The vertical garden in Madrid is just in front of the Royal Botanic Garden beside the Caixa Forum building.
CaixaForum is a series of museums, galleries, and cultural centers in multiple cities in Spain, including Barcelona, Palma, Sevilla, Tarragona, and Madrid. Caixa Bank and not-for-profit La Caixa fund the cultural center.
Caixa Forum Madrid is a popular contemporary cultural hub in Madrid with exhibition halls, auditoriums, and eateries. The building was a power plant in the early 20th century but was dismantled and abandoned by the 1940s. In 2001, Caixa Foundation acquired this building and got it reconstructed and renovated by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. The building reconstruction integrated the parts of the old power station’s frame and perforated screen made of iron, giving off the same industrial feel.
The renovation has also included the construction of a 4-floor-high vertical garden at the front of the building. The vertical garden, which was the first in Spain, was designed by French botanist and landscaper Patrick Blanc and takes up one outside wall overlooking the plaza. The Caixa Forum Madrid was integrated in 2008.
The surface area of Madrid’s Vertical Garden is 460 square meters, which accommodates 15,000 plants from more than 250 species, depending on the season. The plants don’t need soil to grow, and they work in a hydroponic system, only requiring water and nutrients. The garden is supported by five pipe structures that anchor the roots of the plants inside. Half of the water is recycled, while the other half is absorbed by the plants or evaporated.
The vertical garden of Madrid is more than aesthetic appeal, as it offers insulation to its host building both in winter and in summer, reduces temperatures outside by absorbing sunlight, purifies the air, and mitigates the urban heat island effect.
Here is a video you can watch to get a glimpse of the Caixa From Vertical Garden in Madrid.