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It’s humongous…it’s green…and it’s ALIVE!
Relax, it’s not Godzilla. It’s the world’s largest living wall—and it’s going to be installed in the new subterranean restroom area off the East Conservatory starting late this summer.
“From floor to ceiling, below the skylights, we’re putting in a 3,590-square-foot green wall,” says Kate Donnelly, project engineer. “Just over 47,000 plants, mostly ferns and foliage, will be planted in a random fashion to create the feeling of a ferny dell.” The installation’s size dwarfs the current record-holder, a 2,380-foot green wall located at PNC's headquarters in Pittsburgh.
The wall will be constructed of one-foot-square metal pans about three inches deep that are attached to framing. Within the pans are fibers that serve as the growth medium for the plants. An irrigation channel runs through every panel so the system is completely self-watering.
“One of the challenges is that the wall is very tall,” Donnelly explains, “up to thirteen feet in some places. At different times of year you get different areas of light and shadow through the glass ceiling. The design team performed light studies on the space to determine what sections of the walls would get light, and when. Plants were selected for the ability to maintain themselves with light and shadow.”
Longwood’s wall is the brainchild of Kim Wilkie, principal of the landscape architecture firm that is developing the Conservatory Plaza. “He had a vision to clothe the wall in plantings,” Donnelly says. Wilkie worked with our local landscape architect, Wells Appel, to determine the right system for the design. Several other companies are also part of the team effort. “G-Sky fabricates the structure, and the plants are installed by Ambius. Bancroft Construction will manage the installation.”
The living wall is just one component in the plaza renovation. Sweeping grass terraces will emerge from the landform, with a circle of stone paving that flows through the space and creates a grand walkway to the Conservatory. Terraced seating surrounding the plaza will provide a comfortable location from which to enjoy the landscape, and will double as a venue for educational talks and demonstrations.
The below-ground restrooms take advantage of the age-old practice of insulating with earth, one component in the efficient use of heat, water, and construction materials that characterize Longwood’s construction and renovation projects.
It’s exciting to see how best practices can also be imaginative in design. Kate Donnelly sums it up: “Just to walk next to the concrete wall in its current phase of construction and envision it with plant material is pretty fantastic.”
For information about Conservatory Plaza construction, visit http://www.longwoodgardens.org/TheConservatoryPlazaConstruction.html.
This summer, culture at Longwood Gardens goes far beyond the “horti-“ variety. A full slate of dance performances, theatrical productions and concerts makes Longwood one of the area’s top performing arts venues. The Open Air Theatre, Rose Arbor, and area in front of the Chimes Tower will provide the backdrop for performances, according to performing arts manager Dara Schmoyer.
“Many concerts are free for Pass Members,” Schmoyer says. “Longwood stays open late on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday throughout the summer. It’s a wonderful opportunity to stroll the grounds, have dinner at the Terrace Restaurant, then attend a performance.
“Some of the highlights are the Ranaan Meyer Band classical concert on June 3, folk legend John Gorka on June 19, and Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass on July 9,” she adds. “We also have Solas coming on August 28. They’re probably the best Celtic band to come out of the U.S.”
For ticketed events, Schmoyer encourages Pass Members to take advantage of pre-sale and discount offers. (Miss out on Procol Harum, with special guest Renaissance on June 16, and you might just turn “A Whiter Shade of Pale!”) Other top-name artists include Joan Armatrading on July 7 and Chris Isaak on July 13. “It's an amazing experience to see these high-caliber performers in Longwood's beautiful outdoor setting,” says Schmoyer.
Families will enjoy Steve Roslonek and his band, SteveSongs, on July 30. “Steve’s great,” says Schmoyer. “Families will be familiar with his music because he is featured on ‘PBS Kids’ on the weekends. He has won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and the iParenting Media Award because of his ability to incorporate learning with clever lyrics and catchy melodies.”
“Roger Day on August 13 is also a really popular family artist,” she adds. “We’ve chosen concerts that are fun for everyone, not just kids. Parents are going to enjoy the performance, too. The artists are great performers whose music happens to speak to kids.”
The Savoy Company returns to Longwood with Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore on June 11 and 12. A perennial favorite, The Brandywiners, Ltd. present Guys and Dolls on July 29, 30, 31st and August 5, 6, and 7.
New this summer is the use of the area around the Chimes Tower, which will host The Emperor’s New Clothes performed by People’s Light & Theatre on July 15, 16, and 17. “Kids have a magical relationship with the Chimes Tower,” says Schmoyer. “They call it a castle. We thought how cool it would be to use that setting in a new and exciting way. Having Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale performed there is going to be a lot of fun.”
Longwood Gardens recently announced the selection of West 8, one of the world’s most preeminent landscape architecture and urban design firms, to design and oversee a 40-year Master Plan for the Gardens. The firm was selected following a unanimous decision by a Special Committee of Longwood’s Board of Trustees and Senior Management.
As one of the leading horticultural centers in the United States, Longwood Gardens has commissioned its first Master Plan to guide the physical growth and development of its expansive campus of more than 1,000 acres and 180 structures. Completion of the final master plan is projected for July 2011.
Longwood Gardens’ Selection Committee made its recommendation to the Board on May 6, 2010 following a nearly year-long process of meticulously reviewing submissions and meeting with finalists.
“Our vision for the next 40 years is to leverage the innovation and timeless spirit of horticultural excellence at Longwood, elevating our stature as one of the great gardens of the world, right here in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. West 8 will be the perfect complement to Longwood Gardens in realizing this vision,” says Paul Redman, Director of Longwood Gardens. “West 8 has demonstrated a genuine sensitivity to our heritage, the living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont. We are confident that, with this sensitivity and ingenuity, West 8 will develop a plan that is respectful of our heritage and deeply rooted in our commitment to innovation, design excellence, environmental stewardship and sustainability.”
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Enjoy family-fun activities, an outdoor concert, and behind-the-scenes experiences.
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Get ready for an evening of oohs and ahhs, as Longwood presents spectacular Fireworks & Fountains shows guaranteed to make your summer memorable.
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Registration is now open for our 2013 Continuing Education courses!
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