Prague's green line gets greener with new plant life at Můstek metro station

A striking new project at the city center metro station will test how plant life fares in Prague's underground, with hopes for additional installations. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 25.11.2023 12:23:00 (updated on 25.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A unique green installation called METROROST has taken root at Prague's city-center Můstek metro station. The new project represents a collaboration between the University Center for Energy-Efficient Buildings (UCEEB) at Czech Technical University and Prague public transport authority DPP.

Since November, the upper vestibule of the Můstek metro accessible from the lower part of Wenceslas Square has been home to this intelligent low-maintenance installation filled with plants. The initiative aims to test the viability of projects that enhance the quality of the indoor environment in challenging areas of the Prague metro, with hopes of introducing plant life to additional underground stations in Prague.

"The project of plants in the subway brings a jolt of nature into the anonymously industrial environment - a natural human habitat," says Anna Švarc, Prague metro's head architect, in a press release.

Adam Sýkora, the chief designer of the installation, adds that the contrast of vegetation against the conservative subway environment is a key visual element, offering passengers a break from the ordinary.

"It's like a glimpse into the primeval forest, which takes the subway passenger out of everyday life," Sýkora notes. "In addition, the implementation of plants in the subway offers the opportunity to apply the proven influence of greenery on people's mood, cognitive functions, and overall mental health."

The green installation boasts not only an atypical design but also structural and technological sophistication. The research team from UCEEB drew on years of experience in implementing plants in building interiors to ensure the survival of the plants in one of the most challenging public environments.

"The complex aspect of the project was to implement the developed technology in an attractive casing suitable for the demanding operating conditions of the subway station," says Daniel Adamovský, head of the indoor environment quality research department at UCEEB.

The unusual 3D engineering design for the the plant installation, made of fire-resistant wood-based material, addresses safety parameters, aesthetic quality, and resistance to vandalism.

A smart measuring and regulation system is in place to take care of the plants. Sensors within the installation supply data to optimize algorithms for controlling the atmosphere, ensuring a suitable environment for vegetation growth, irrigation, and energy for photosynthesis. The system also addresses freezing weather conditions by adjusting air temperature around the plants.

The long-term goal of the METROROST project is to monitor its sustainability, gathering insights into the operation of plants in challenging conditions. The UCEEB team plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the design and deployed algorithms based on operational demands and data obtained.

In the words of Švarc, the metro environment deserves the same attention in terms of indoor air quality as other public indoor spaces, given its pivotal role in transporting people. METROROST's operational test at Můstek station will provide valuable data for future green initiatives within Prague's metro.

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