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The Vertical Forest: the 10 advantages of a new residential trend

Plant-covered towers such as Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale represent one of the most innovative approaches to urban living. From his ‘Vertical Forest’ in Milan to those rising in China, the Italian architect’s green skyscrapers are spreading across the world. What are their characteristics? And why are they having so much success?

Who has never heard of Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale in Milan? The complex consisting of two residential tower buildings, designed for Milan’s Centro Direzionale quarter, represents an outstandingly innovative example of sustainable architecture, inspired by the idea of urban reafforestation. Thanks to the presence of over two thousand plants, ranging from shrubs to tall trees, placed on the towers’ sides according to their position in relation to the sunlight, the Vertical Forest aims to boost the vegetal and animal biodiversity of large residential areas, and to reduce urban expansion, while also contributing to mitigating the urban microclimate.

Here is a list of the 10 characteristics of the Bosco Verticale indicated by the architects and designers of Studio Boeri:

  • It’s an environmental survival project for contemporary cities
  • It boosts the number of trees in cities
  • It is a tower for trees inhabited by humans
  • It’s an anti-sprawl device
  • It demineralizes urban surfaces
  • It reduces urban pollution
  • It reduces consumption of electricity
  • It serves as a multiplier of urban biodiversity
  • It is an ever-changing urban landmark
  • It is a living ecosystem.

 

From winning numerous awards to becoming a residential model exported worldwide

Undeniably the greenest example of so-called green architecture, Boeri’s Bosco Verticale has won the “Best Building in the World” prize awarded by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) in 2015, and the International Highrise Award from the Frankfurt Museum of Architecture. Such prizes add important additional value to these authentic vegetal dwellings which, only three years after their completion in Milan, have turned into a residential model of sustainable architecture that is spreading successfully around the world.

The idea of the vertical densification of nature inside major cities is already underway in Lausanne, but is about to unfold in South America and China too. Nanchino, Guizhou, Liuzhou, Shijiazhuang and Chongqing are some of the Oriental sites which will shortly feature a profusion of Vertical Forests inspired by the two towers in the capital of Lombardy.

But why do you think these residential buildings are receiving so much praise and success? We have an idea about that…

Stefano Boeri’s green-leaved towers: an urban challenge backed by a deep human need

Trees, large shrubs, perennial plants, hanging plants, evergreen and deciduous species: vertical forests are made up of a variety of different plants and vegetation. Natural elements that benefit the environment and climate, but also and above all benefit people.

Nature, after all, is not only a landscape element which provides a backdrop to our everyday lives or a setting for weekend picnics: it is also a living entity which, as such, can interact with us. It is good for our bodies and for our minds, and it sooths and stimulates our spirits. Because being in contact with nature brings us energy, vitality and wellbeing.

Immersing oneself in green life benefits our everyday existence: just to rediscover the texture of a tree’s bark with our hands, to scent the perfume of wood resin, caress the leaves, watch their colour shifting with the seasons, close one’s eyes and listen to the subtle sounds of a living natural habitat… all this adds up to a deep training for our five senses.

That’s why we can add at least one other advantage to the list of 10: the possibility of feeling ourselves a part of a living ecosystem, in contact therefore with ourselves and with the vital cycle of every season.

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