Bay Meadows is a “charming urban village” in San Mateo, Calif., an appealing mixed-use development with office, retail, residential, park and greenspace elements blended into a pleasing whole. One element that serves to greet, inform and soothe visitors and prospective buyers is the Bay Meadows Welcome Center, a simple long low building with a meadow as its faÃ§ade. The living wall consists of waves of lush foliage with purple, pink and white flowers, while grass-like Acorus gramineus and other green plants give the wall motion and texture. “I’d be happy if people came to the welcome center and were greeted with a sense of tranquility and [were] able to stop, look and relax,” says David Brenner, who founded Habitat Horticulture, San Francisco, Calif., as well as designed and installed the carpet of vegetation.
Habitat Horticulture’s unique wall garden installations use some proprietary materials and processes, but generally plants are grown in a type of felt made from recycled water bottles (PET plastic). The felt is saturated by an irrigation system embedded in the wall (created by Hyphae Design Lab) to distribute water evenly across the plants’ roots. Nutrients administered in the water supply keep the garden lush, growing and altering over time. An expansive public porch with comfortable seating allows visitors to take in the carpeted plantscape and visit again and again.