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living visual barrier design competition

humes, oliver, stauffer the pennsylvania state university


table of contents

1 2 4 7 8 9 10 14 16 18 21 22 23 26

introduction inventory analysis living visual barrier site plan overall site plan seasonal interest a first impression functionality plant materials installation budget maintenance budget project timeline bibliography


introduction UPMC Shadyside earned Magnet® status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Receiving Magnet Recognition® is one of the highest achievements a hospital can obtain in professional nursing and demonstrates nursing excellence, a commitment to quality patient care, and a healthy work environment. UPMC Shadyside is a 520-bed tertiary care hospital that has been serving the residents of Pittsburgh and the tristate area since 1866. UPMC Shadyside offers primary medical care; physician and nursing education; and a broad range of specialties that include cardiology, oncology, orthopaedics, geriatrics, vascular medicine, endocrinology, and more. UPMC Shadyside’s medical staff includes nearly 1,000 primary care physicians and specialists, with offices at the hospital and throughout the community.


inventory hospital entrance patient and visitor views

prevailing winds sun direction concrete surface (contributes additional radient heat)

primary viewing areas ^

patients and visitors have a prime view of the wall from the hospital entrance and waiting area.

climate ^ mechanical equiptment temporary maintenance parking emergency vehicle and parking access

noise generation^

site use ^


Living Visual Barrier It has been well documented that a view of something green from within a hospital reduces stress and speeds healing. The close proximity of this wall to the waiting room at UPMC Shadyside will allow for it to potentially have a great impact on patients and visitors using the waiting room. For these reasons, it is important to incorporate living material into this wall.

This site is also in direct sun and wind, which creates limitations in regard to the plant material that will survive in this environment. In order to insure the best chance at survival, a variety of plant types will be used. There will also be a planter which will have a full foot of soil to increase the probability that the plants will survive the winter freeze.

Currently, the intense sound emanating from the mechanical equipment is loud enough that it could be disturbing for hospital visitor, patients, and staff. Managing the sounds level will be a key to the success of this project.

This design recalls the color, form and materials of the many bridges of Pittsburgh. The yellow color will provide year-round interest, and the structure will provide an ideal place for climbing plants to grow.

There are constraints in this site which have been integrally considered in the design proposed herein. Notably, the narrow, exposed space available and the limitations of how to physically attach the green wall to the existing buildings.

Goals: Create a sustainable green wall, with enough tolerance built into the design to account for seasonal die back or damage.

Block the sound from the mechanical equipment, most importantly near the drop off and entrance to the waiting room.

Add visual interest for passers by, while blocking unpleasant views of the mechanical equipment.

Provide a sustainable landscape plan in regard design, implementation, and maintenance.


site plan

close up of wall design ^

site plan ^


seasonal elevation

spring ^

summer ^


seasonal elevation

autumn ^

winter ^


the first impression


functionality load calculations structure

cable I-beams fasteners


3,000 lbs 14,000 lbs 200 lbs


precast concrete gravel fabric soil plant material

sound barrier fabric


9,000 lbs 6,400 lbs 50 lbs 23,000 lbs 13,100 lbs


2,000 lbs

68,050 lbs steel frame cast in place concrete planter 12� soil filter fabric 3� gravel steel support* brick facade CMU block steel bracket anchor bolt



plant materials

spring summer

autumn winter

1 - Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris / Climbing Hydrangea, deciduous climbing vine with showy, lacy flowers. 2 - Pyracantha coccinea / Pyracantha, evergreen climbing vine with showy white flowers in the spring, brilliantly colored berries in the summer and fall. 3 - Parthenocissus quinquefolia / Virginia Creeper, fast growing, hardy climbing vine. Spectacular red berries, and red foliage in the autumn. 4 - Campsis radicans / Trumpet Creeper, climbing vine with prominent display of distinctive clusters of orange flowers. 5 - Rosa sp ‘Climbing America’ / Climbing Rose, climbing vine know for its showy, fragrent flowers. 6 - Lonicera japonica / Japanese Honeysuckle, climbing vine with showy and fragrent summer flowers




plant materials







installation budget

maintenance budget


The landscape at UPMC Shadyside has been designed to be relatively low maintenance. The planters are easily accessible from the back along the length of the structure, and in many places they are accessible from front and back.


cable 20’ I - beams fasteners 20’ lengths bracket bolts nuts yellow paint


precast concrete planter gravel fabric engineered soil

Plant Material

Hydrangea anomala Pyracantha coccinea Parthenocissus quin. Campsis radicans Rosa sp ‘Climbing Am.’ Lonicera japonica

Sound Barrier fabric bolts nuts




$250.00 $221.00 $14.08 $16.00 $13.66 $5.36 $144.95

250 74 240 4 808 808 2

$2,625.00 $16,354.00 $67.58 $64.00 $110.37 $43.31 $289.90

$85.00 $20.00 $25.00 $15.00

131 50 6 600

$11,135.00 $1,000.00 $150.00 $9,000.00

$25.00 $25.00 $17.00 $12.00 $14.00 $16.00

6 10 6 4 10 4

$150.00 $250.00 $102.00 $48.00 $140.00 $64.00

$759.00 $0.60 $53.15

9 600 600

$6,831.00 $360.00 $318.90

35 50 6 600 6 2 2

$2,975.00 $1,000.00 $150.00 $9,000.00 $150.00 $50.00 $28.00

Add Alternate - Additional Planter planter gravel fabric soil Hydrangea anomala Pyracantha coccinea Rosa sp ‘Climbing America’

$85.00 $20.00 $25.00 $15.00 $25.00 $25.00 $14.00

materials total $62,378.07 labor total $32,300.00 grand total $94,678.07

With a regular, through spring and autumn clean-up, the maintenance should be minimal throughout the rest of the year.

Spring Clean-Up (approx. 16 hours) mulch amend soil (fertilize) replace plants lost over the winter

Autumn Clean-Up (approx. 16 hours)

pruning / trim perennials, particularly the near roof access doorway and mechanical equipment amend soil (fertilize) remove any fallen leaves or other plant litter

Weekly Maintenance spring (approx. 4 hours) pull weeds

Summer (approx. 4 hours) pull weeds water plants Autumn (approx. 4 hours) pull weeds possibly water plants Winter (varies) varies based on weather conditions ie. possible ice removal


timeline The landscape at UPMC Mercy has been designed to be flexible in it’s implementation. Particularly in regard to the budget, this landscape plan can be installed in stages.


site design completed


yellow frame installed


planters installed plant materials installed


Bibliography Pittsburgh Bridge: lukasgraphics/index.php?/photography.htm google maps bing maps Pyracantha: http://www.smithfieldgardens. com/2011/09/05/a-sure-sign-of-fall-pyracantha/ Climbing Hydrangea: Honeysuckle: photo.php?imageId=5892918 trumpet creeper: mainplants.html trumpet creeper (left): php?image=14882&picture=trumpetcreeper&large=1


In June 2012 UPMC Shadyside held a design competition to come up with conceptual ideas for a new living wall that would be located adjacent...

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