A 27-story "vertical forest" is under construction in Milan, Italy, designed by architect Stefano Boeri.
Dubbed Bosco Verticale, it is one of his architectural solutions to urban sprawl, rising emissions and declining air quality. It’s also a response to the disappearance of nature from peoples’ lives.
Inspired by traditional Italian towers covered in ivy, he expanded the concept by envisioning apartment buildings covered in plants.
A lush garden of 900 trees, shrubs and many other plants envelop the two towers and every apartment has a balcony.
Birds and insects will be attracted to the vegetation, creating miniature gardens and habitats.
If the footprint was flattened, the vertical forest would span 10,000 square meters.
The design optimizes, recuperates, and produces energy, says Boeri. Covered in plant life, the building aids in balancing the microclimate and filters dust particles from one of the most polluted cities in Europe.
The diversity of the plants and their characteristics produce humidity, absorb carbon dioxide and dust particles, producing oxygen and protect from radiation and acoustic pollution, improving the quality of living spaces and resulting in dramatic energy efficiency.
Plant irrigation will be produced to great extent through the filtering and reuse of the grey water produced by the building. Additionally Aeolian and solar PV systems will further promote energy self-sufficiency.
The trees have been chosen to respond to the city’s weather – providing shade in the summer and allowing sunlight to permeate apartments in the winter when they are bare.
He notes the vegetation only adds 5% to construction costs.
Bosco Verticale is part of his proposed BioMilano – a green belt surrounding the city.
Milan, like every city in the world, today, is at a crossroads.
It can continue growing by eating up agricultural land, woods, natural space, and thus reducing biodiversity and the space available to other species.
Or it can choose to become a bio-diverse metropolis, starting with a new agreement between the city, the natural world and agriculture.
BioMilan provides a vision of a city which stops expanding into rural areas and chooses to grow by regeneration and by increasing the presence of natural and biological spaces.
A new kind of agriculture surrounds the city, provides work and produces for local agro-food markets. It allows nature to find spaces where it can express forms of biodiversity, both inside and outside of the city’s borders.
BioMilan is a political project which aims to increase the number of businesses which, working together in areas linked to agriculture, forestation and renewable energy, can regenerate the urban economy and provide forms of integration and work for thousands of citizens.
See a slide show of Bosco Verticale: