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Whole Foods Market

The green facade wall project on the 85,000 s.f. Whole Foods flagship store along the Chicago River demonstrates how green facade walls can be a successful plug-in within sustainable design best management practices. By incorporating the component technologies of green facade walls, porous pavements, green roofs and native plants, designers have created an award winning amenity that also maintains a commitment to clean water through on-site management. All of these elements would play a significant role individually, but completed together is where the true, regenerative potential of urban design can be explored.

The incorporation of green facade walls increases the hydrologic capacity of the landscape by vertically increasing the amount of rain interceptive vegetation and helping to control runoff at the foundation of structure. Water uptake is increased due to additional root mass as well as beneficial cooling from plant evapotranspiration. With the inclusion of a cost effective, green facade component on this project, the ecological benefits of the natural system are extended and the overall functioning of the natural system to meet water engineering requirements is achieved.

Additionally, the biological benefit of the holistic system is increased by the use of green facade technology. The emphasis on the plant palette was extended to the vertical plane to increase the benefits of shelter, food source, pollination and habitat reconstruction. The landscape architects at Wolf Landscape Architecture Inc. implemented the use of green facade walls as the long term solution to providing a biological corridor that interfaces with architecture and the landscape.

The site design goal was to discover the relationships that are critical to the functioning of natural systems, both human and natural, in an urban environment and to express visually through nature the connectivity and importance of water management to the survival of both. The realized goal was that through a systems approach design, adjacent and existing natural systems, like the Chicago River, can be embraced to provide the ultimate goals of protection and public access.

What once was an abandoned industrial site and surface parking has been transformed into an 85,000 s.f. LEED certified urban renewal driver that has established a new segment of the Chicago River trail. As a testament to the success of the project, the Whole Foods project received a 2014 Award of Excellence in the Exterior Green Wall category from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) and the Friends of the Chicago River awarded the project a first ever Silver Ribbon Award in recognition to those who strive for the ideal in sustainable design for human (public access), water (hydrology) and wildlife (ecology).

Site: 85,000 s.f. LEED certified, Completed 2009
Shoppes at Kingsbury
15,519 s.f. greenscreen® panels with standard clips
Square foot material costs: $8.22 per s.f.

Client: CRM Properties
Architecture: Gensler/Mark Cavagnero Assoc.
Landscape Architecture: Wolf Landscape Architecture, Inc.
General Contractor: Bentley Construction Corp.

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Elements & Plant Types

Wall Mounted


American Bittersweet

Virgin’s Bower

Virginia Creeper

Boston Ivy

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