The Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) is the world’s tallest example of living architecture, with two towers lifting hundreds of trees above Milan’s streets. One of the architects Stefano Boeri describes the two buildings, due to be opened this year, as a ‘model of vertical densification of nature within the city’.
Measuring at 110 and 76 meters high respectively, the two structures will hold 900 trees between them. That is equivalent to 10,000 square meters of forest, says Boeri. He says the trees will create a microclimate, filtering dust particles, removing carbon dioxide, and creating oxygen.
Waste from the building itself will be kept to a minimum. Grey water from the occupant’s showers and sinks will be used to irrigate the trees while photo voltaic panels will soak up solar energy.
Co.Exist’s Michael J. Coren believes that vertical greenspace could solve the problem of finding room for trees in dense cities. He argues that building New York’s central park would be almost impossible today. Instead, Coren welcomes the blurring of the lines between nature and living space. In his view, Milan’s Bosco Verticale shows that vertical green space ‘is more than possible.’
Others are more pessimistic. ‘Ever seen trees on top of a mountain’ asks journalist Tim de Chant? He argues that the extremes of hot and cold temperatures, as well as strong winds and rain found at that height, are too much for most plants. Writing specifically about the Bosco Verticale he questions whether the building is really greener, given the extra materials needed to support the trees and soil.
According to de Chant, the Bosco Verticale’s building costs were an estimated 5% higher because of the trees. He calculates that this extra money could have restored 2,125 acres of forest – 850 times more than the two towers create. Meanwhile, he argues, the extra carbon needed to produce the materials is probably more than will be recouped in the trees’ lifetimes.
Others makes similar points asking how it will save energy given the constant maintenance these trees will require. With this in mind, Tim de Chant concludes that we should focus instead on ‘preserving and restoring places that already have, or desperately need, trees’.
What are your thoughts on the ‘Vertical Forest’?