Van Gogh Comes Alive at the National Gallery


This summer, The National Gallery in London is engaging public audiences with an 8,000 plant rendering of Van Gogh’s A Wheatfield with Cypresses (1889).

Over 25 varieties of flora are offering museum-goers sweeter, cleaner air and a setting ripe for ecological discussion as the National Gallery forwards their plan to reduce the museum’s carbon footprint 43 percent by 2015.

The living wall will insulate the museum, lower outside air temperatures and cast entertaining shadows on Trafalgar square, but the integral component of the carbon-neutralizing plan is GE’s Jenbacher engine.

The combined heat and power (CHP) system minimizes energy loss from transportation and distribution while providing electricity and heat. Jenbacher engines have the added function of utilizing waste heat, an innovation that increases overall plant efficiencies by more than 90 percent. The engine will account for 40 percent in energy savings.

The Gallery is also in the process of switching to LED lights in conjunction with a system that automatically adjusts roof blinds and accounts for sunlight. The bulbs are expected to last 25 times longer at 15% of the cost.

A Living Masterpiece

Grasses for the living wall were grown off-site until a desired length and texture had been reached. Then the 640 hanging modules were installed, plant-by-numbers style by designers and horticulturists, ANS Group. ANS Group offers a 10-year maintenance plan, but are only contracted to prune the piece through October. Then… free flora with admission day?!

Article by Allison Leahy, appearing courtesy Earth & Industry.



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