Vertical forests: Not towering trees but trees on towers

Photo: Forgemind ArchimediaPhoto: Forgemind Archimedia

Vertical gardens are a well-known concept and so are green roofs, but the new creative concept is “vertical forests.”

While most eco-friendly landscaping in urban settings remains trapped in utopian-looking renderings, this set of skyscrapers in Milan has already become a reality.

The towers have more than 700 trees and 90 species of plants. Aside from simply providing some greenery in a very dense urban location, the plants are able to reduce smog and noise levels while producing oxygen and regulating temperatures of the buildings.

Designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri, the Bosco Verticale (Italian for vertical forest) started construction in late 2009 and early 2010. It wasn’t until 2012 that plants began to be installed on the balconies of the apartments.

One tower is 344 feet tall; the other is 256 feet. If the amount of plant life growing on Bosco Verticale were stretched out on a flat surface, it would cover nearly two acres.

“It is a model of vertical densification of nature within the city,” Boeri said.

The plants are sustained by a complex irrigation system that redirects the inhabitants’ used water to the balconies. According to Boeri, it took two years alone to prune the trees to fit beneath the different balcony heights.

The project’s ingenious concept earned it second place in the 2014 Emporis Skyscraper Award competition. It also has inspired others to follow suit, such as in Australia, where the world’s tallest vertical forest is currently under construction.

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