Vertical forests, a new trend in architecture
boschi verticali nuova tendenza

Green architecture and urban forestation are becoming realities in different parts of the world thanks to Vertical Forests, a new architectural trend connected with nature.

Vertical Forests consist of the construction of environmentally friendly buildings incorporating trees, shrubs and flora for a more sustainable city.

Vertical Woods, sustainable architecture by nature

The Vertical Woods are buildings that started out as ‘idyllic projects’ that would never be realised.

In recent years, however, they have started to materialise in different parts of the world.

These beautiful and functional structures contribute to:

  • protecting biodiversity;
  • reduce CO2;
  • improve air quality;
  • improve the quality of life of citizens.

Since the first building in Milan, which was awarded the title of ‘best skyscraper in the world’ in 2015, more and more cities are adopting this building model based on sustainable architecture by nature.

The Bosco Verticale in Milan is a residential complex of two skyscrapers located in the centre of Italy’s economic and industrial capital. It was designed by Stefano Boeri and his staff.

The towers, 80 and 112 metres high, were inaugurated in 2014 and feature 2,000 different plant species. A vegetation equivalent to that of 30,000 square metres of forest and undergrowth, concentrated on 3,000 square metres of urban area.

This green project, consequently, is also a device to limit the greening-induced expansion of cities.

In contrast to ‘mineral’ façades made of glass or stone, the Bosco’s vegetal screen does not reflect or amplify the sun’s rays, but filters them, generating a cosy indoor microclimate without harmful effects on the environment.

The green curtain, at the same time, ‘regulates’ humidity, produces oxygen and absorbs CO2 and fine dust.

Together, these features have earned the project major awards, including the International Highrise Award from the Deutschen Architekturmuseums in Frankfurt (2014) and the CTBUH Award as the world’s best tall building, from the Council for Tall Building and Urban Habitat of the IIT Chicago (2015).

Today, the new frontier is to unite individual ‘green’ buildings through the construction of real ‘forest cities’: small centres composed of dozens of structures such as Vertical Forests.

Vertical Forests, how many are there in the world?

In addition to the above-mentioned Bosco Verticale in Milan, there are now numerous counterparts built or commissioned around the world, with increasingly imposing dimensions: from Lausanne to Utrecht, from Paris to China, as better described below.

  1. Cedar Tower in Lausanne

An architecture that dialogues perfectly with the surrounding landscape of lake, meadows and mountains: 117 metres by 100 trees and four different species of cedar.

From a simple residence to something more complete: in fact, there is everything inside: flats, a gymnasium, a shopping centre, offices and a restaurant.

  1. Nanjing Vertical Forest

The first vertical forest project in Nanjing consists of two towers, with alternating terraces and green pools, on the Milanese model. A total of 1100 trees of 23 local species.

The first tower, 200 metres high, will be dedicated to offices and will include a museum and a club. The second, 108 metres high, will be a hotel with 247 rooms, with a swimming pool on the roof floor and a conference centre on the ground floor.

The format can be adapted to a variety of buildings with different functions.

  1. Vertical Forest in Utrecht

Utrecht is also about to get its own vertical forest called Vertical Forest. After the awarding of a municipal tender, surveys have begun near the station for the construction of the impressive Hawthorn Tower.

It is 90 metres high, with 360 trees, 9,640 shrubs and flowers, or 5.4 tonnes of CO2 absorbed per year. On the sixth floor, the Vertical Forest Hub houses a documentation centre on forestry, to promote exchange on this topic.

  1. Forêt Blanche in Paris

In Paris, the concept changes again: 54 metres high and wooden structures.

A project that is part of a larger urban complex alongside buildings by Kengo Kuma & Associates, Oxo Architectes, KOZ Architectes, Michael Green Architecture and X-TU.

The equivalent of one hectare of forest will grow skywards, 10 times the area on which the building stands.

  1. City Forest of Liuzhou

A far more ambitious project recently approved in China.

Often associated with little environmental interest, the ‘eastern giant’ shows with Stefano Boeri that perhaps the course is changing.

It is no longer a building, but an entire ‘forest city’, complete with schools and hospitals.

An area of 175 hectares will absorb 10,000 tonnes of CO2 and 57 tonnes of fine dust, while producing around 900 tonnes of oxygen.

Developed along the Liujiang River, the Forest City will be connected by rail transport to Liuzhou.

A city that will be fully energy sufficient, starting with geothermal energy and solar panels.