This week has been full of exciting reveals on the STAR Campus as some of the final construction projects inside the Tower at STAR are nearing completion. One of the most striking is the living wall inside the Tower atrium, where more than 5,000 plants are being showcased in a unique vertical design. 

Created by EcoWalls of Bordentown, N.J., this space is a visual reminder of the College of Health Sciences’ overall mission of promoting health and wellness. Once completed, this will be the spot to – literally – grab a breath of fresh air. Featuring more than 25 species of plants, this space also offers opportunities for reducing stress, improving indoor air quality and promoting positive mental health.  

Many of the plants included in the living wall were selected because of their capabilities to assimilate volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful indoor air contaminants. These plants, including spathiphyllum, philodendron and ficus, also naturally filter the building’s indoor air. You’ll want to take a deep breath to drink in the fragrance from hoyas, which smell like chocolate, as well as the vanilla orchids.

The living wall also is environmentally responsible, featuring a water-efficient irrigation system and sustainable hydroponic technology. The irrigation system has zero waste and reclaims all excess water, which is then treated and reused for another water cycle. This approach reduces resources and overall maintenance for plant growth. 

Plants were pre-grown in modular panels before being installed this week in the atrium. Layers of inorganic medium are used as a substitute for soil to promote long-term plant growth and allow direct access to nutrients and water while roots can migrate across the panel rather than being restricted to pots or containers. 

The living wall will be one of the key features at the Gala/Grand Opening happening on November 9th. For more information, visit http://chs.udel.edu/gala/ 

Health Sciences