Santalaia the modern day version of Babylon's Hanging Garden

The first time I know about a building covered with lush greenery is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in Sid Meier's Civilization game. Ancient accounts indicate that the garden was built by King Nebuchadnezzar around 605 BC with water being continuously pumped from Euphrates river with ancient water engines into the garden to nourish the plants. A big blob of greenery in the middle of a dry location(desert - modern day Iraq) will certainly draw visitors to it. The Hanging Gardens was listed as one of the Seven Wonders of World and continue to impress anyone that sees it till its destruction by an earth quake.

In the capital city of Colombia today, a high-end residential building employs the similar concept. The building - Santalaia is covered with real plants entirely and this is accomplished by collaboration between the building architect Exacta Proyecto Total and Groncol a company with vertical gardening and green roof design experience.

santalaia 1

santalaia different view

Much like the ancient builder of Hanging Gardens, the builders faced challenges in raising the water to irrigate the plants. To solve this water issue, the designers sourced water from the apartments' showers and deployed sensors to optimize water consumption.

There are a couple of positive outcomes from this project. One is that the building managed to reduce the surrounding heat and also the plants help to purify the airs - the equivalent of cleaning up emissions of 745 cars.

Hope to see that this will inspire more building architects and designers around the world to create more vertical gardens buildings that help to reduce heat. To find out more details, head over to

Source: and

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By Adam Ng

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