Office Building Basement Level Live Wall – Mankato Minnesota

A living Air Filter

This was a very interesting location for a live wall that presented many challenges. First it is a nearly 40 foot long flat wall but second, the white metal mesh covers the intake for the entire HVAC air handling system for the building. All of the recirculating air running through this four story building comes through this plant wall!


Mogwai Collaborative – Mankato, Minnesota

Living With Nature

There is no doubt that plants and natural spaces have been shown to relax and reduce stress. They also promote creativity and comfort. Not only do we feel more comfortable immersed in nature, we live healthier and “cleaner” lives. This wall is on the basement level of a four story building with a central open stairwell that allows all of the air to flow freely through the building to settle in the basement. The plants are then given a small additional dose of CO2 from the people in the building and the people receive a small boost in Oxygen. Additionally plants have been shown to filter contaminants from the air.  

Aquascape / Environment

The aquascape in this project, while not immediately evident, is hidden in a maintenance room behind the wall. An air pump keeps a 50 gallon water tank aerated and ready for on demand watering of the wall via a pump. The tank can also be used to apply organic nutrients during watering. With 300+ plants in this wall we chose plants that would be able to handle a noticeable volume of air moving over their leaves and drying the soil. Pothos, Dracaena, Philodendron, and some ferns and succulents make up the majority of the wall.

System Function

These two walls cover 16 feet and fourteen 14 respectively and are about 6 feet tall. A reservoir behind waters the wall on demand using a pump and irrigation system. Gutters under the wall provide for water capture and drainage as water drains through the wall. Lighting is provided by 4 550 watt grow lights provide all of the lighting for these walls and are powered by the building’s solar array. The lighting is controllable to mimic sunrise to high noon and sunset.


A fantastically successful project with almost all of the plants flourishing and growing quickly and substantially. Pruning is required almost weekly to prevent overgrowth from shading out the other plants. A beautiful experience since the air moving through the walls causes the leaves to move in the breeze and there is a smell of fresh chlorophyll from the plants. This wall is four years old now with minimal maintenance required beyond watering and pruning. Some repotting will soon be required as many plants have outgrown their pots.

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