Habitat Horticulture, a living wall design/build firm known for its artful, large-scale installations, was awarded the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) Award of Excellence for their 24 living columns on the top two floors of Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, CA. Judges recognized the project as the “Best Interior Wall” for its aesthetics, thoughtful use of green wall technology, and broader community benefits. The award was presented to Founder and Principal of Habitat Horticulture, David Brenner, at the 2020 CitiesAlive Virtual Conference, held last month.
“Living columns are one of the most challenging living features to execute from a design/build perspective, and maintain in line with Salesforce’s cohesive design principles,” said Brenner. “… I’m incredibly proud of our elite team of horticulturalists, designers, engineers, and architects that helped make this vision a reality.
At 1,070 feet, Salesforce Tower is the tallest building in San Francisco and perched at the top is the “Ohana Floor,” an open, hospitality space with 360˚ views of the city. Instead of dedicating this sought-after space to executives, Salesforce designed the Ohana Floor for all company employees, customers, partners, and members of the community to enjoy. During the day, the floor is open for employees and their guests. After work hours, it’s available to nonprofits to host events at no cost. (The company’s Ohana Floors in four cities have raised over $15M for charity.)
With a focus on clear sightlines, open flow to allow access to the best sunlight and views, and inspiration from nature, 24 structural columns which surround the circular floor were transformed into colorful and vivid plantscapes. Each column is 13′ high which required approximately 25,000 plants to cover 3,500 square feet of cylindrical space.
To provide color and texture, 128 plant species were selected, resulting in a dynamic viewing experience around each of the columns. No two columns are alike: with varying sun exposure, visitors experience changeable hues when observing the sturctures from different vantage points. The end result is a tranquil and verdant naturescape set against a sweeping city backdrop and views of the Bay and Pacific Ocean.
Paying homage to the Hawaiian-inspired intention, 48 different varieties of orchids were sourced for rich and delightful pops of color. As a blended space for a wide range of usage, the columns are also a source of psychological and literal nourishment: edible herbs such as mint, basil, tarragon and dill were also included for potential use onsite.
Habitat Horticulture designs, builds, and maintains living walls and botanic installations that transform and enrich the spaces they inhabit. Founded by David Brenner, Habitat Horticulture’s mission is to bring awe-inspiring, plant-centric spaces to promote people’s connection with nature. The firm’s distinct design process joins the art and science of horticulture, engineering, and sustainability to enhance the biophilic intent in the built environment. Notable work includes residential and commercial projects, public art installations, cultural landmarks, historic institutions, and workplace designs for Fortune 100 companies. Visit here for more information.