Toronto — Diamond Schmitt Architects won the Interior Green Wall Award of Excellence for an innovative living wall biofilter on a newly renovated campus building at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The award was presented at the CitiesAlive conference in New York City. It is the seventh Green Wall and Roof Award for the firm, from among 18 living wall biofilters designed by Diamond Schmitt.

Weiser Hall, formerly named the Dennison Building, is a 10-story academic tower on the University of Michigan’s central campus. Originally built in 1963, it houses the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. During the structure’s 106,000-square-foot renovation, Weiser Hall was stripped to its concrete shell and envelope and revitalized with a deep retrofit to all building systems. Its separate floors were cut back and interconnected to create four double-story sections, each with a two-story, 25-foot NEDLAW Living Wall Biofilter.

A living wall biofilter is an active filter system that removes contaminants and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from indoor air. The exposed roots of tropical plants absorb airborne pollutants, then emit them as their benign components: water and carbon dioxide. The wall filter is connected to the building’s HVAC system and delivers clean, humidified air to augment the building’s fresh air supply.

Commercial application of the living wall was pioneered by Diamond Schmitt and developed by NEDLAW Living Walls. Past experience of the living wall shows anecdotal evidence of lower absenteeism, higher productivity, and an improved sense of wellbeing by occupants of buildings with this green feature. Past winning projects include a six-story living wall at University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences; the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building at Drexel University in Philadelphia; the atrium of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario; Corus Quay office building and One Cole condominium in Toronto; and the green roof at Bridgepoint Active Health Care in Toronto.

Publication date: 10/24/2018

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