There are many kinds of forests in this world, but have you ever thought about or heard of a vertical forest? The studio led by Italian architect Stefano Boeri thought this was the “way to combine high-density residential development with tree planting in city centers”.
Thus, one has been planted and is growing in Milan since October 2014. Bosco Verticale (the Italian translation for Vertical forest) is the result of an urban rehabilitation project carried out by the Boeri studio in the residential area of Porta Nuova district. The project has involved not only the architects and engineers of the studio but also botanists, horticulturalists, agronomist landscape consultants and experts of energy efficiency.
The result is a pair of green skyscrapers in the centre of Milan, 112 and 80 metres high respectively. They host more than 800 trees, accompanied by 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 floral plants on 8,900 square metres of terraces. To give you a clearer idea, there are as many trees there as in a hectare of forest. Besides their aesthetic function, trees should help mitigate smog, produce oxygen and moderate temperature in the building all around the year.
Despite some initial criticism, the project is now winning its bet. Last November Bosco Verticale won the prestigious International Highrise Award given by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum of Frankfurt. The competition takes place every two years and the Italian project stood out among over 800 high-rises that were commissioned worldwide.
The key criterion for the choice is that the building unite sustainability, external shape and interior qualities and social aspects to create a pioneering design. “Bosco Verticale is an expression of the extensive human need for green” pronounced the jury of experts. For them “The project represents definitely a role model for construction in densely populated zones in other European cities”.
The idea seems to work also for the real estate market: more than the 50 % of the flats have already been sold and ten families are now living there. The units should costs 3,000 Euro per square metre and higher.
Living in the heart of a forest without leaving the comfort of the city centre is now possible. I am not sure if once there, I would live my tree house to face the jungle outside.