When architectural fantasy is meeting the sustainability, is when the high-density residential development is combined with tree planting in city centres. Highly polluted city centres, lack of oxygen, lack of green spaces are some of the problems that this new trend is coping with. Transforming rocks into trees means in fact transforming houses and streets into places inhabited by thousands of living species.
It means living with trees, with their presence and their speed of growth, with their extraordinary capacity, even in the most polluted and congested areas of the urban world, of accommodating and giving life to a wealth of species. An architectural concept which replaces the traditional materials on urban surfaces using the polychromy of leaves for its wall.
1. Vertical Forest in Milan
- Completed 2014
- Architect Stefano Boeri
The most exciting new tower in the world that won the International Highrise Award as a “striking example of a symbiosis of architecture and nature”.
The towers have heights of 110m and 76m and host 900 trees and over 2000 plants distributed in relation to the facade’s position towards sun. Trees are lovely things and may well thrive in these planters in the sky.
Discussing on sustainability, trees and soil absorb so much CO2, created as a result of urban traffic and would help clean the air in Milan, as well as producing oxygen in turn.
A microclimate that produces humidity, absorbs CO2 and dust particles and produces oxygen. Nature and trees make us nicer people and they certainly make for nicer apartments!
Research and experiments of a group of outstanding experts in botany, ethology and sustainability had to solve problems that architecture had never before hand to deal with, like watering the trees planted, maintain conditions of humidity and exposure to sun.
The balconies are a useable space, a real outdoor room that those trees make it feel like a backyard of the city. Those balcones are like a living facade because of the constant evolving of changing colours with the seasons, that are offering the Milan’ s residents an ever-changing view in the cityscape.
2) One Central Park in Sydney
- Completed 2014
- Architect Atelier Jean Nouvel and PTW Architects
“A flower for each resident and a bouquet to the city” – Jean Nouvel
A combination of landscape and architecture created by the continuity between the park and the building, so the that facades literally extend the park into the sky.
This building marks a new experience for living in harmony with the natural world, as the architects used 250 species of the Australian flowers and plants,the buds and the booms form a musical composition of the facade.
This increased biodiversity promotes the formation of an urban ecosystem, a spontaneous factor for repopulating the city’ s flora and fauna.
In Sydney’ s newest residence, you can live the experience of living in harmony with the natural world. A complete curtain of foliage, where the green living is totally redefined.
The vertical gardens wrap the east and north facades of both towers with a large number of indigenous and exotic plants. An astonishing tree house transformed in a hi-tech tower. A beguiling assembly of motorised mirrors, also, capture sunlight and direct the rays down on the Central Park’ s Gardens.
Through densifying the urban fabric, the architects create a new innovated relationship of proximity between nature and the built environment, creating new landscapes and new skylines.
3) Soaring Green Garden Tower in New York
- Currently under construction (as of December 2016)
- Architect Daniel Libeskind
On the topic of sustainability, Libeskind recently unveiled a new green architectural project that’s currently in construction in New York city.
As concrete is responsible for a large amount of carbon dioxide, produced every year, the architect designed a mostly glass skyscraper that will be the city’s tallest residential structure at 900 feet.
The 54-story apartment building features a series of sky gardens cut out from its facade that provides ample green space and terraced balconies for residents.
Terraced gardens are becoming popular as a mean for people to have an outdoor connection, fresh air and a possible place to grow their own food. The gardens seem to gain height and the green spaces have their roots more close to the sky than the ground.
A residential project that has a great indoor air quality and is very energy and water efficient thanks to the insular effects of the sky gardens.
“ It is as if the nature has come back into the city”, – Daniel Libeskind
Now, the project has undergone significant changes and hopefully has become even more green. They took away space from the apartments to create the gardens, which are actually balconies tucked within envelope.
The green spaces would be enclosed in cylindrical glass tubes at the centre of the building and cut-aways in the face would open them up to the outside. The openings also provide the condominium in the part of the tower with balconies, while the images depict a rather daring design.
4) Park Royal in Singapore
- Completed in 2013
- Architect Woha
An example of green architecture at its most elemental. A geological metaphor that has no boundaries between exterior and interior.
Designed as an extension of Hong Lim Park, this new green space is located next to the site in the centre of the city’s business district.
As a hotel and an office in a garden, the green replacement in the city centre is multiplied, integrated and sustainable.
In this topographical architecture, the stratified undulating layers of pre-cast concrete wrap around, through and above the car park and the public areas of the hotel, as contour lines weaving through a modular grid of cylindrical columns.
By adding plant-covered balconies and terraces around the exterior, the architects were able to create 15,000 square metres of greenery -around double the area of the site- and give every guest a garden view from the room window.
Inspired from the combination of landscaped bonsai arrangements, modelled and sliced to mimic natural landscapes and mountain rock formations a s well as the contoured paddy fields of Asia.
A variety of species ranging from shade trees, tall palms, flowering plants and leafy shrubs come together to create a lush tropical setting, attractive not only to people but also to insects and birds, encouraging biodiversity in the city.
These green spaces are completed by the contoured surfaces that make up the building’s podium. Modelled on the topography of natural landscapes, these surfaces break through the glazed outer walls and continue through the reception spaces at ground level.
A self-sustained building, where photovoltaic cell arrays on the roof will power grow lams and softscape lighting, making the Singapore’ s and perhaps the world’s first Zero Energy Skygarden.
5) Agora Garden Towers in Taipei Taiwan
- Under Construction (as of December 2016)
- Architect Vincent Callebaut
A new ecological philosophy has been introduced in this project, that aims at limiting the ecologic footprint of its inhabitants by researching the right symbiosis between the human being and the nature.
As a living organism, this new twisting tower becomes metabolic.
The source of inspiration for the Belgian architect is a DNA helix or two encircling hands. The whole complex looks as neither single tower or twin towers.
A 20-storey apartment block designed with a double structure that twists up around a fixed central core. The use of concrete, glass and steel combined in an innovate way, makes the tower as a green twisted mountain positioned in un urban centre.
A cascading layer of greenery across the exterior has been created by plants, vegetables and fruit trees. These will enable residents to grow their own food and compost all the biodegradable waste .
On each floor, there will be two to four apartments that will integrate a number of technological advantages, making sustainable the tower and including rainwater- harvesting and solar energy.
The concept to build a true fragment of vertical landscape with low energetic consumption.
“As a built ecosystem”, explains Callebaut, “that repatriates the fauna and the flora in the heart of the city and generates a new box of subtropical biodiversity”.