Diamond Schmitt Architects has been awarded the Interior Green Wall Award of Excellence for an innovative living wall within a campus building at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Weiser Hall, formerly named Dennison Building, is a repurposed mid-century 10-storey tower that was taken down to its concrete slabs and columns and redesigned with an entirely new plan. Each floor features a unique configuration with learning space, meeting rooms, offices, conference rooms and student and staff lounges. The building is home to the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts.
“We saw the opportunity to include four double-height living walls, each one above the next, as the central feature of community clusters that prominently anchor the building and overlook the campus,” said Don Schmitt, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release. “The renewed building now provides flexible, day-lit spaces, community clusters and greater accessibility with highly sustainable design features.”
The green wall award was presented to Diamond Schmitt at the CitiesAlive conference, which took place in New York City on Sept. 27, marking the seventh time the firm has been presented with a Green Wall and Roof Award. The award-winning living walls were developed by NEDLAW Living Walls and their commercial application was pioneered by Diamond Schmitt.
A living wall biofilter is an active filter system that removes volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. The exposed roots of tropical plants turn airborne pollutants into their benign components, water and carbon dioxide. The living wall is connected to the building’s HVAC system and provides cleansed and humidified air to enhance the building’s fresh air supply.
Anecdotal evidence on living walls shows they result in lower absenteeism, higher productivity and an improved sense of wellbeing by occupants of buildings that feature them. “Bringing the outdoors inside has a positive psychological effect,” continued Schmitt.