Vertical gardens reaching new heights in Milan

In his new high-rise residential development, architect Stefano Boeri says trees and plants will help control the building's climate while capturing its grey water and boosting air quality.

The 27th story of a building provides a skyline vista, if you're lucky, or a maybe a coastal view. But in Milan, residents in the upper reaches of two under-construction buildings, 110 and 76 meters (360 and 250 feet) in height, will see a tree outside their window...a tree they can touch.

The project, Bosco Verticale (or Vertical Forest), is the first in a development called BioMilan which will integrate vertical gardens into the exterior structure of some new Milan buildings, such that the trees and plants will help control the building's climate, through shading in summer and daylighting in winter, and also help filter the air. Plants are being chosen based on their ability to produce humidity and absorb CO2, dust and urban noise.

Bosco Verticale is the brainchild of Stefano Boeri, whose firm Stefano Boeri Architetti is focused on contemporary architecture and urbanism.  He's also a former editor of architecture and design magazines (Domus and Abitare) and professor of urban design (Politecnico di Milano, Harvard, MIT).

Once completed, Bosco Verticale will support 900 trees (the tallest are expected to grow up to about 30 feet) as well as shrubs and floral plants. Supporting the same amount of plant life on land would require an area equal to 10,000 square meters (about 2.5 acres) of land per tower according to Stefano Boeri Architetti.

Vertical gardens have become an important design tool for eco-friendly buildings, helping to both conserve and reduce energy consumption while enabling onsite plant and food production. Bosco Verticale is designed to irrigate the plants by filtering and reusing grey water from the buildings water system. In fact, the vertical gardens will require an onsite management team.

Some day high-rise apartments might have building horticulturalists, as well as supers.

Photos: Rendering of the finished towers (top) and one of the towers, mid-construction

Credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti

[Via: Inhabitat]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com