A “vertical forest” is a modern, multiple-storey structure designed to include a large number of plants as part of its design.
Increasingly, environmentally responsible urban developers are looking to vertical forests as a way to mitigate the effects of climate change and make cityscapes more attractive.
Vertical forests may also serve as cooling and air filtration systems, reducing overheads for building owners and improving people’s health.
Here we offer an overview of six of the world’s most remarkable planned or existing vertical forests. Each is a creative mix of sophisticated architecture, nature and technology.
Bosco Verticale – Milan
Italy’s iconic vertical forest consists of 900 trees and upwards of 20 000 plants and shrubs – roughly, the equivalent of 20 000 square metres of forest. It covers two mixed-use towers in the centre of Milan.
Completed in 2014, the Bosco Verticale is the natural habitat of more than 1 600 species of birds and butterflies. It is also an effective air and sun filter, and reduces inner city noise pollution.
One Central Park – Sydney
One Central Park is a futuristic carbon-conscious building located in the heart of Sydney. The building’s façades are veiled by more than 38 000 indigenous and exotic shrubs that change colours with the seasons.
Aside from providing a natural source of shade, the plants trap carbon emissions and create a private piece of paradise on all the apartments’ balconies. More than 42 heliostats, or reflective mirrors, are used to direct sunlight to heavily shaded areas.
Hawthorn Tower – Utrecht
Source: Global Construction Review
Although still on the drawing board, Hawthorn Tower is Utrecht’s answer to a vertical forest. The 90-metre stepped skyscraper will be studded with 360 trees and 10 000 flowers and shrubs in a verdant sky garden, the equivalent of one hectare of forest.
The urban greenery is expected to absorb 5.4 tons of carbon emissions and produce around 41 000 tons of oxygen each year. It is also designed to act as a natural sound barrier to street noise.
Supertrees – Singapore
Source: New Atlas
Standing up to 50 metres in height, Singapore’s Supertrees are high tech vertical gardens built to emulate the functions of real trees. They take pride of place in the city’s spectacular Garden by the Bay, and are either topped by photovoltaic solar panels or rainwater tanks.
Each tree supports a stunning array of orchids, ferns, flowering vines and bromeliads that consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.
Depending on the tree’s structure, it either collects and channels water throughout the park, generates electricity from the sun, or acts as an exhaust flue for the park’s subterranean biomass burners.
Eco Neighbourhood – Brussels
Source: World Architecture
Brussels is about to embark on an extravagant project that’ll transform 40 hectares of industrial park into three vertical forests. The entire footprint will cover more than 85 000 square metres, and consist of three towers of ‘sky villas’, that vary in height from 24 metres to 100 metres.
Millions of indigenous plants and trees will be used to green the buildings, and residents will have access to private food gardens, and rooftop community orchards.
Liuzhou Forest City – China
Source: Stefano Boeri Architetti
In a project that’s pencilled in for completion in 2020, Liuzhou is facing the challenges of air pollution and climate change head on. They are in the early stages of erecting an entire forest city consisting of 70 heavily greened buildings.
The idea is to cover a 175-hectare area of the city with vertical forests containing a total of 140 000 trees and one million plants.
The vegetation is expected to improve air quality dramatically, by absorbing 57 tons of carbon emissions and producing 900 tons of oxygen each year.
Once completed, Liuzhou Forest City will house 30 000 people.
What we offer at The Workspace
Caption: The Workspace Pretoria
At The Workspace, we don’t create vertical forests – but we do love clever, modern uses of building space!
We offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking, and all our clients have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services. Our shared office space model is also good for the environment.