Merging nature with architecture has always been the challenge for designers. Due to the unrestricted burning of fossil fuels and reckless destruction of greeneries, the average temperature of the earth is rising each year. This change in temperature, also known as ‘Global Warming’ is posing a massive threat to the climate and natural ecosystem of the earth.
In a time where ‘Green Engineering’ is the only sustainable engineering, considering the climate changes and the rapidly depleting resources, architects and engineers must be ready to take up innovative projects which could contribute to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity.
Bosco Verticale is such a revolutionary symbol of innovation in Milan, Italy. This ‘out of the box’ thinking is a live example of how vertical forest densification can be achieved while simultaneously creating high-end human accommodation facilities. Effectively, Bosco Verticale can be termed as the world’s first ‘vertical forest’.
Brainchild of world renowned Italian architect and his design studio team consisting of Gianandrea Barreca and Giovanni La Varra, this €6,500,000,000 project is set to usher a new era of green skyscrapers. Soaring over Milan’s skyline the world's first forest in the sky shall be a spectacle to relish. The 27 storied twin buildings will house nearly one hectare of forest trees as tall as oak and amelanchiers. Its balconies are uniquely designed to hold the weight of the trees and also resist the damage caused by strong winds and earthquakes. The 365 and 260 feet bright green twin towers will house an astounding 900 trees, 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 ground cover plants. Boeri stumbled upon the responsibility of the project when the Milan authority was searching for ways to increase green in the city.
A 2003 study revealed that breathing in Milan’s benzene-laced air was tantamount to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The situation was so dire compared to European standards that Mayor Guiliano Pisapia was forced to ban all vehicles and close down schools for two days due to the perilous atmosphere created by air pollution. In 2009, officials were forced to install a state-of-the-art ventilation system to curb damage to historical murals by air particulates. There was essentially an outcry from every component of the city authority for someone to come up with an effective, economic and sustainable solution for improving the air quality.
An up-close view
Project Director Michelle Brunello said, “We imagined a building which allowed landscape to enter it and by highlighting the use of plants and trees we can make the environment healthier and more beautiful. Maybe we can encourage similar developments elsewhere”.
Bosco Verticale represents space effectiveness, and acts as an elucidation to the precincts of city space for ecological and green-based projects. Naturally, when trees are planted, the oxygen in air increases whereas the harmful increase of carbon dioxide is prevented too.
Bosco Verticale has been designed with the idea of self-sustainability in mind. For example, grey water produced by the residents will be smartly used for plant irrigation, as well as the use of Aeolian and photovoltaic energy systems. This means that the heating system could additionally be managed effortlessly by the plants. Air pollution is a major problem in all the cities of the world and Milan is no exception.
Boeri believes that his creation will inspire other investors and builders to build more and more environment friendly buildings. The design is thus intended to lessen air pollution, noise pollution, improve the microclimate for the residents and lower energy costs.
One important aspect of the design is the type of trees chosen. Some trees are vulnerable to wind gusts, some susceptible to heights. For this purpose Boeri brought in Emanuela Borio and Laura Gatti; two celebrated architects in the field of environment-friendly projects. There had been rigorous testing with the trees prior to the beginning of the project and the trees were chosen after it had fulfilled all the major criterions set. The construction is already underway and recent reports indicate that the first trees have already been planted.
Bosco Verticale has produced a buzz in the air of Milan and in the whole international community. It is a system that optimizes, recuperates and generates energy and aids in the creation of a microclimate, filtering the dust particles of the urban environment.
The smartly chosen plants and vegetation will create humidity, produce oxygen to absorb harmful gases and dust impurities. Moreover, acoustic pollution will also be taken care of. It is a revolution indeed. It is amazing to see how green and innovative ideas can be applied to create such a healthy and innovative living environment which eventually contributes to the nature. What is now left for the architects and builders is to move this new trend in urban landscaping forward. This responsibility is equally of the general citizens too as innovations are at their optimum best when they are encouraged and adapted.
**Image source: Internet
The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.2, dated July 2012.