When employees and visitors come to the new Prudential Tower in Newark, New Jersey, they will see the familiar Rock of Gibraltar logo that has been the symbol of the company for generations, but instead of being carved from granite, it is represented by living plants carefully assembled into a 1,760 square foot green wall facing the building’s main entrance.
The Tower, which will have 3,000 employees, has 650,000 square feet of commercial space and cost $444,000,000 to build. It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and is a candidate for LEED Gold certification, thanks to the 32′ X 55′ living entrance wall and a 5th-floor cafeteria that steps out onto a green roof garden.
Using the familiar Rock of Gibraltar logo for inspiration, the architects extrapolated its stratifications to create the living wall’s composition and plant color selection. Collaborating with Plant Connection, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture designed a plant palette that met Prudential’s expectations and was also tailored to address the different microclimates that occur on the living wall.
Plant Connection carefully overlaid the final design onto their panel grid and, after refinements, began growing the living wall panels at their 42-acre nursery late last summer. Over the winter, Plant Connection was able to closely monitor the project in their greenhouses so it would be ready for this spring. The G-O2® Living Wall, along with the other green architecture features of the Prudential Tower, sets a high standard for sustainable development in the area.
Living plants on the exterior of buildings are becoming a key component of sustainable architecture. According to an EPA study, the maximum temperature of a green roof is 86 degrees Fahrenheit when a “cool roof” in the same location can be at 130 degrees or higher. The reduction in thermal loading allows for smaller, more efficient heating and cooling systems, which generate cost savings for building owners during the entire life of the structure.