As you enter the lobby of the new home of NYU's School of Global Public Health, look to the right and take in the verdant hues. This green wall—also known as a living wall or vertical greenery system—boasts a hybrid irrigation system, plants that produce high oxygen levels, and properties that create a unique sense of calm for passersby. (And yes, all of the plants are real!)

Experience the Living Wall

Below is a photographic tour of this new indoor perpendicular ecosystem—the only one of its kind at NYU’s Washington Square Campus.

Anthuriums in bloom in the living wall

living wall facing the elevator bank

Biophilic design incorporates natural materials and patterns into a manufactured space.

BIOPHILIA (noun): a hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature; a desire or tendency to commune with nature.

Looking up at the green wall featuring the underside of the green leaves lit by the overhead lights

If created in an urban environment and on a significant scale, research suggests that a combination of green roofs and green walls may improve air quality and attenuate noise while promoting the health and well-being of citizens.

Looking up at the coral colored anthuriums from below

side view of green wall in the 708 Broadway lobby

“NYU faculty research shows that people feel better, work better, and study better when they encounter green spaces during their daily lives. It’s vital to be reminded that nature is not just ‘out there’ in the woods somewhere. We still live in an environment, even if it’s a human-dominated one, and a green wall can remind us of that every time we pass it.”
—Cecil Scheib, NYU Chief Sustainability Officer
Anthurium blooms close up

PLANT DIVERSITY: As an evolving work of art, the creators of the living wall selected various blooming plants to provide "pops" of color. Some examples are anthuriums (pictured here), the Mona Lisa lipstick plant, and chocolate columnea. Several species—including aglaonema, pothos, and chlorophytum comosum (spider plants)—are among the plants that, according to NASA research, are believed to sequester VOCs, filter air, and produce oxygen.

tight shot of two-toned green leaf

HYDRATION: A hybrid irrigation system recirculates and reclaims all water. This system is connected directly to the building’s water supply, and nutrient-rich water is drawn from a reservoir and supplied through an irrigation control unit. A remote monitoring system provides real-time data with irrigation sequencing to ensure proper water cycles and fertilizer are provided to the living wall.

student in long black dress walks away from camera and by the green wall

“The inspiration behind our living green wall comes from the desire to emphasize the elements of life required to survive and thrive—earth, water, fire, and air. We hope all who pass by it can benefit from its high oxygen levels."
—Cheryl G. Healton, Dean, NYU School of Global Public Health


students walking towards the elevator and past the green wall