The Bata Library at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., features a 26-m2 (278-sf) green wall in the atrium.
Constructed in 1967, the Bata Library is a prominent landmark at Trent University. It was designed by architect Ronald Thom, a pioneer of modern Canadian architecture. Completed in 2018, a renovation project, planned and guided by the Toronto studio of Perkins + Will, transformed the building into a library of the future.
Installed and maintained by green infrastructure specialists Ginkgo Sustainability, the green wall is almost 2 m (7 ft) tall and was constructed in two side-by-side sections, each 6 m (20 ft) in length. In total, it includes 150 modular planter boxes in a bluestone colour. The planters contain inserts holding the growing medium and 380 plants. The plant palette is a mix of seven different tropical plants with dark green, light green, and white foliage.
“The living wall is recessed between existing concrete pillars in the library’s atrium,” said James Mallinson, OAA, LEED AP, project architect, Perkins + Will. “It connects two adjacent seating areas to create an inviting open space, softens the centre of the interior, and complements the tone of the cedar ceilings.”
Thom envisioned the campus buildings, constructed on the west and east banks of the Otonabee River, as growing out of the picturesque landscape on the site’s 607 ha (1500 acre) of forested hills.
“Thom wanted excellent design that harmonizes with natural settings and natural beauty,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, Ph.D., president of Trent University. “Featuring a living wall in the re-design of the Bata Library is a wonderful way to honour this legacy.”