Bosco Verticale: Are Forest Towers the Future of Sustainable Design?

More and more people are drawn to the city and more and more green space has to make room - wooded high-rise buildings should represent a solution to the problem

Bosco Verticale urban forest high-rise green space
Source & Copyright by Boeri Studio

Author: Hanna Lina Werner

The Bosco Verticale in Milan is a vertical forest of 7.000 square meters with over 900 trees and more than 20.000 plants. That sounds pretty magical the first time you listen to it, and that's what it actually looks like. The Bosco Verticale, which turns the twin towers in Milan's Porta Nuova district into the most innovative high-rise buildings in the world. In 2014, the two high-rise forests in Milan were awarded the high-rise prize and praised for their future-oriented design.

The wooded high-rise buildings of the Bosco Verticale have these advantages

The residents of the Bosco Verticale twin skyscrapers benefit from a significant improvement in the microclimate in their own flats as well as on their balconies by the plants and trees of the vertical forest. A reduced energy consumption as well as less effects of heat islands in summer make the two forest high-rise buildings very popular. The ecological benefit of the wooded high-rise buildings arises mainly from the absorption of carbon dioxide as well as the production of oxygen by the greenery.

The two skyscrapers also combine an enormous living space under one roof, so that urban sprawl and thus further expansion of the city into the immediate vicinity is prevented. The sustainable design of the vertical Forest in Milan also has a great impact on the biodiversity in cities. The trees and plants offer both insects and birds an ideal habitat that has become rare in an urban environment. Also in this is a further development regarding Vertical farming imaginable.

Bosco Verticale view from the balcony of the wooded high-rise building

Source & Copyright by Boeri Studio

Criticism: Trees on high-rise buildings are not forests

While vertical forests are gaining popularity internationally, environmentalists are sharply criticizing this sustainable design trend. Because the greening of high-rise buildings is by no means an argument to destroy or build on additional green spaces in cities. No Bosco Verticale in the world can be a substitute for a real forest or a natural green area.

Also about the accruing CO2 balance For the transport, assembly, construction and maintenance of the trees at dizzying heights, there are no precise figures yet. So it's not clear whether it'll even work out. And whether perhaps more CO2 is used for the trees on high-rise buildings than they can absorb again in their own lives.

 

Bosco Verticale cityscape from the side

Source & Copyright by Boeri Studio

This is what the Bosco Verticale has for the future of urban design

While cities such as Singapore are already relying more and more on green design for new buildings, urban design could in the future rely much more on forms of living such as the Bosco Verticale. An ideal way to react to the increasingly limited living space in large cities and at the same time to create green oases for their residents. Sustainability in design and Energy and cost efficiency are therefore more than trend-setting in urban design.

The increase in biodiversity also plays an important role in urban design. It could be secured in the long term with green high-rise buildings. A combination of planted skyscrapers and connected parks as well as green areas offers great potential to bring the greening of large cities back into focus City designs to move. The quality of life would also benefit from it.

Worldwide inspired by the Bosco Verticale

The city of Nanjing in China is also building its first Bosco Verticale. The team of the Milanese architect Boeri developed two towers that are supposed to be even higher than the twin skyscrapers in Milan. This could be a first step towards promoting sustainable urban design in China as well. In addition, this has a positive impact on the high CO2 emissions of Chinese cities.

However, Boeri's vision moves on a much larger scale. He is currently planning a forest city with up to 200 buildings in the Chinese city of Liuzhou. By 2050, 66% of the world's population is expected to be living in cities. The Milanese hope that his sustainable high-rise design will give nature back a place in the cities in particular. So that the ever-growing metropolises don't have to give way to the green surroundings.

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