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Press Release: California Academy of Sciences, Piazza Living Wall

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (3/28/11) – Habitat Horticulture announces the completion of a new 12- by 18- foot living wall commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences. Totaling 216 square feet, the wall provides a dramatic backdrop to the Academy’s “Spring to Life” exhibit which will run through May 1 of this year. Utilizing state-of-the-art hydroponic technology, Habitat Horticulture has designed and implemented a large-scale artwork flanked by a steel frame that supports approximately 2,000 plants, mostly found in the understory of mixed evergreen forests and woodland plant communities. 27 different species are featured; 14 are native to California. This vertical garden is one of the largest free-standing living walls in North America.

The California Academy of Sciences, which reopened in 2008, is the greenest museum in the world as measured by LEED points. The new building was designed by architect Renzo Piano and features a living roof, four-story rainforest, planetarium and aquarium. Sustainable components of the building include soil and denim insulation, solar panel-generated energy and recycled steel and concrete. The museum is the largest public building to receive a Platinum-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Designer David Brenner said of the project, “I am very excited to have designed a uniquely dynamic installation for the Academy. I envision it providing both entertainment and educational value that will support the Academy’s mission as a living museum. Nothing could personify ‘life’ better than a living wall that echoes that season of spring. This vertical garden engages the museum’s visitors at eye level – a perspective from which many people are not accustomed to interacting with plants, which makes it very special. The Academy has been very supportive; I hope we will find more opportunities to work together in the future.”

Habitat Horticulture was founded to bring greenery into urban areas and into the everyday lives of city inhabitants. The firm creates innovative living walls and designs with the guiding principle that plants provide essential nourishment and vitality to our environment and the wellbeing of our community.

Contact: Natasha Blum, natasha@habitathorticulture.com, (415) 509-5947

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