Whether urban gardens or skyscraper farms or vertical forests – lush green towers are a steadily growing element of sustainable urban design and in all likelihood an integral part of our future.

The Vertical Forest

Standing in the centre of Milan, the Bosco Verticale – (the Vertical forest) is the first sustainable residential building of its kind to pioneer metropolitan vertical reforestation.

According to the Stefano Boeri Architetti (SBA)- the Milan based design firm – this project contributes to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding the city upon the territory. It is a model of vertical densification of nature within the city that operates in relation to policies for reforestation and naturalization of large urban and metropolitan borders.

Opened to the public in 2014, the Bosco Verticale residential towers stand 110 and 76 m tall and host 900 trees (each measuring 3, 6 or 9 meters tall), and over 5000 shrubs and 11,000 climbers, perennial and floral plants are dispersed all over the façade. On flat land, each Vertical forest equals, in amount of trees, an area equal to 7000 square meters of forest. For each person in the building – there are 2 trees, 8 shrubs and 40 plants.

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The system of the Vertical Forest is said to aid in the construction of a microclimate, produces humidity, absorbs CO2 and dust particles and produces oxygen.

It also aims to increase biodiversity by promoting the formation of an urban ecosystem where various plant types create a separate vertical environment within the existing network to be inhabited by birds and insects (with an initial estimate of 1,600 specimens of birds and butterflies). Thereby spontaneously repopulating the city’s flora and fauna.

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Sustainability factor:

Geothermic heat pumps and solar panels cover the building’s power needs.

Contribution to the reduction of heat loss due to the micro-climate created by the plants: approx. 2 degrees

Contribution to the reduction of air pollution: transformation of CO 2 into O 2 : approx. 20,000 kg/year

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The Tower of Cedars

Continuing on the theme of the “vertical forest”, Stefano Boeri’s plant-covered 36-storey tower project in Lausanne, Switzerland, Le Tour des Cedres is the prototype of a new dwelling model, an edifice that unites: the comfort of the apartment complex with the beauty of living in nature- specifically by integrating the towers with the various species of cedars that inhabit the territory.

Creating a new relationship between urban sphere and the natural sphere, the structure will host more than 100 trees (4 typologies of cedars) covered by shrubs and other plants over an area of  3000 square meters.

Tower of Cedar Trees, 117 meters high, will also be home to 6,000 shrubs and 18,000 perennial, falling and covering plants. Its projecting terraces that are faced with reinforced concrete panels will accommodate plants including the coniferous trees that give the project its name, La Tour des Cedres or the Cedar Trees Tower.

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A species able to live more up to 2500 years, the Cedar tree is one of the most grandiose trees in the world. Since ancient times it has been considered sacred and renowned for its great ability of adapting itself to extreme climate conditions as the ones in Middle East and on the Himalayas.

It will be the first tower in the world made of evergreen trees – its ecological contribution and the intent of the project is that the leaves of the trees will help to trap fine dust, absorb CO2 and produce oxygen to improve the city’s air quality. A green masterpiece in gorgeous Lausanne.

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The Vertical Forest Mountain Hotel

Located in the 10 thousand peaks area, the Mountain Forest Hotel project is a masterplan of 400 acres in the Wanfeng Valley, in Guizhou, China. Guizhou, named  by the New York Times as one of the best destinations in 2016 – is an unspoilt mountainous region with a wealth of historic monuments.

The mountain project spans over 31,o00 square meters, and has 250 rooms designed for the Hong Kong based Cachet Hotel Group. The concept comes from the unique natural scenery of the 10 thousands peaks valley, its original topography and ecosystem.  The design aims to restore the landscape, by reconstructing a former existing hill that was flattened years ago, and creating a man made mountain in its place.

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According to the SBA team, symbiosis is the goal. Sustainability not only depends on energy conservation, but on a wider biodiversity.  The symbiosis between man, architecture and nature is the real sustainability.

Following the first prototype in Milan, then in Lausanne, SBA’s Vertical Forest aims to be a model for sustainable urbanization.

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