Wandering in a Green Vertical Garden in Madrid, Spain
Postmodern art critics are fond of positing that a work of art keeps growing and changing—like an organism—long after the artist adds the final touches. This is certainly the case with Patrick Blanc's Vertical Garden. Standing in the shadow of La Caixa Forum—a former electric substation recently converted into a cutting-edge art museum—Blanc's seven-story living sculpture creeps over an adjacent apartment building wall (providing eco-friendly insulation and sound proofing). The patterns and colors change with the seasons as the 250 species and 15,000 total plants bloom and grow and shed their leaves. In arid Madrid, as you step off the car-crazy Paseo del Prado into the courtyard with its tinkling fountains and towering palette of soothing greens, the effect is that of entering a verdant urban canyon. For those who want to keep wandering, albeit horizontally, the venerable Royal Botanical Garden is right across the street.