From Concrete to Greenery: Building a 320 Square Metre Green Wall For a Gas Farm in Cambridge, UK

Published by Scotscape on 18th February 2021 -


Project: Green wall for AstraZeneca Project Laureate – part 1

Client: Willerby Landscapes

Green wall for AstraZeneca
Green wall for AstraZeneca


Since 2014, biomedical corporation AstraZeneca has been building a state-of-the-art new global HQ and research centre in Cambridge. Part of the complex is a gas farm, enclosed in 3-5m high concrete walls. Working to the project’s main landscaper, Willerby Landscapes, Smartscape was contracted to clad the walls of the gas farm with our green walls, a total area of 320 square metres.


As well as helping the gas farm to blend in with the surrounding green environment, our walls needed to provide a high degree of fire retardation, to meet the safety standard for the highly flammable gases inside the farm, and acoustic baffling to minimise noise pollution. The job effectively comprised two parts: design and build, and installation and planting.


The pre-build began in late spring 2020, as the UK was emerging from lockdown for the first time. The design was complex, needing to draw on our market-leading expertise in fire safety standards and acoustics, and incorporate a planting palette that matched the ecological requirements of the architect BDP.

Prior to the design getting under way, we had worked with BDP in the planning of the build, helping to specify the strength of the walls required to hold the green walls. This early involvement together with the expertise of our design team helped to ensure sign-off on our designs in time to begin construction of the 5m by 3m steel frames.

Knowing that we would need to complete the installation within a tight time frame , and with Covid-19 and Brexit causing uncertainty in the supply chain, we decided to build the wall in modules off-site and then crane them into place when the time came. We adapted our standard building methods and managed multiple suppliers to build the steel sub-frame, cut and apply the acoustic cement board and make a Fytotextile green wall system, all of it being assembled by the steel workers Metal Wizards off-site.

This was a complete change of construction process for us and one that required a great deal of thought and organisation.


The prebuild work continues in good direction for the planned installation in March – the perfect time of year for new planting. The typical installation time for a project of this scale would be nine weeks but we anticipate on completing the it in around 10 days, with a further two weeks of planting, by carrying out the pre-build off-site. 

We will be back to report on the installation in a future case study.

Are you missing the mind-boosting presence of nature? Learn more here or send us an enquire at [email protected]

Anna Roochove

Specialists in Commercial and Domestic Landscape Construction, Living Walls, and Urban Greening. We employ over 60 staff at our head office and nursery in Surrey, operating a fleet of vehicles to service projects across the UK and Europe.

Link to Scotscape business profile

Leave a reply

Be the first one to comment
4th March 2021
Landscaping for Architects
Outdoor Creations are specialists in providing landscaping for architects. Over the years, Outdoor Creations have been privileged to have worked with many independent garden designers and architects
Read more
24th February 2021
The Groundscape Team Donate Native Hedging to Wimbledon Hill Park
Scotscape Groundscape have donated 400 linear meters of native hedging to incorporate in the grounds at Wimbledon Hill Park to further boost biodiversity and enhance this residential development managed by Property Management experts Rendall and Rittner.
Read more
29th December 2020
Jaguar Land Rover Green Wall installed at Sunbury on Thames
This 60m2 Living wall has just been installed by the Scotscape Smartscape team for Sytner Group  at this stunning new showroom for Jaguar Land Rover in Sunbury on Thames.
Read more

This site uses some unobtrusive cookies to store information on your computer. By using our site you accept our Terms And Conditions and Privacy Policy.