Gallery: Bosco Verticale in Milan Will Be the World’s First Vertical Fo...

The Bosco Verticale is a system that optimizes, recuperates, and produces energy. Covered in plant life, the building aids in balancing the microclimate and in filtering the dust particles contained in the urban environment (Milan is one of the most polluted
The Bosco Verticale is a system that optimizes, recuperates, and produces energy. Covered in plant life, the building aids in balancing the microclimate and in filtering the dust particles contained in the urban environment (Milan is one of the most polluted cities in Europe).

The Bosco Verticale is a system that optimizes, recuperates, and produces energy. Covered in plant life, the building aids in balancing the microclimate and in filtering the dust particles contained in the urban environment (Milan is one of the most polluted cities in Europe). The diversity of the plants and their characteristics produce humidity, absorb CO2 and dust particles, producing oxygen and protect the building from radiation and acoustic pollution. This not only improves the quality of living spaces, but gives way to dramatic energy savings year round.

Each apartment in the building will have a balcony planted with trees that are able to respond to the city’s weather — shade will be provided within the summer, while also filtering city pollution; and in the winter the bare trees will allow sunlight to permeate through the spaces. Plant irrigation will be supported through the filtering and reuse of the greywater produced by the building. Additionally, Aeolian and photovoltaic energy systems will further promote the tower’s self-sufficiency.

The design of the Bosco Verticale is a response to both urban sprawl and the disappearance of nature from our lives and on the landscape. The architect notes that if the units were to be constructed unstacked as stand-alone units across a single surface, the project would require 50,000 square meters of land, and 10,000 square meters of woodland. Bosco Verticale is the first offer in his proposed BioMilano, which envisions a green belt created around the city to incorporate 60 abandoned farms on the outskirts of the city to be revitalized for community use.

+ Stefano Boeri Architetti

+  Barreca & Lavarra

Via Financial Times


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  1. MartinD28 September 8, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I am from Milan and as a ecologist am very excited that a city that barely has a recycling program and a population that would rather cut off a limb than take public transport is embarking on such a venture. Wouldn’t the apartments be dark in the summer with all that foliage blocking out the light? Please tell me there is another window that can let the sunlight in. I’ve seen no such preparation in the city. Where exactly are these buildings going to be. And where are those regenerated former farms going to be. I really hope this is true and not just us Italians talking big!

  2. Lee Chia June 29, 2012 at 12:15 am

    just another perspective of the age-old concept “manmade-forest”, nothing new to it but by going vertical/upwards, it is potentially a catastrophic issue with maintenance & sustainability because management will become non-viable & eventually fail !! just like many countries’ management are failing now !! hi leo, i know you will read this, tell me otherwise pls…

  3. Chana Keefer June 16, 2012 at 7:34 am

    It does seem that a “wider at the bottom” then pyramid and/or tapering cylinder would be a better shape. And hydroponic would go far to prevent the dirt/root problems. Great idea though. That’s about the only way I could live in an apartment tower for any length of time and stay sane.

  4. bo diddly March 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Intelligent and stupid at the same time.
    It’s like making artificial limbs rather than disarming land mines.

    It’s backwards thinking

    We are destroying too much greenspace so let’s create unnatural forests!!

  5. falconsoars March 13, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    This is NOT the world’s 1st vertical forest! Humans built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon over 2500 years ago!!

  6. gardncity February 8, 2012 at 4:30 am

    It is a really good concept !
    May be one day in France !
    paysagiste urbain
    balcons terrasses et jardins urbain

  7. Kirk Lawrence February 8, 2012 at 3:08 am

    It does looks beautiful… and love the thought of how healthy this would be at a grand scale as mentioned… but would it not be much better to have shrubs instead of trees, especially those that are the easiest to trim where even a top-to-bottom conveyor and camera assisted cutter would climb to each floor given the appropriate time designed to also drop the excess onto the soil and since there would more of the leaves as opposed to bark… should arise far better benefits.

  8. maxhodges January 30, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Are they really “vertical forests” with rich diversity of flora and fauna, or are they really just some sort of cultivated, monolithic topiary gardens?

    If they former, our scientific understanding is simply not nearly up to the task of creating and maintaining artificial ecosystems. Look at what happened to the Biosphere mission. They had food shortages and had to end the experiment because of a drop in oxygen. And there is still debate about the cause of that drop in oxygen…some suggest microbes in the soil, but other argue that if that was the case, there would have been a higher CO2 level…

    Forests are composed of layers, such as a canopy that regulates temperature and humidity, without which the wind and sun would dry things out. These buildings are terraced gardens at best.

    i think they are conceptually and aesthetically inauthentic. There is a pretense that they are earthy, imperfect, variegated “forests”, but actually they’ve dumbed down nature to fit it within their geometric, modular, mass-produced, rational worldview.

    They romanticize people adapting to technology, not people adapting to nature. Are they future-orientated or present-orientated? Do they express a believe in that nature can be controlled or that nature is fundamentally uncontrollable? Do they romanticize technology or nature?

    They are expressed in the public domain but nature is experienced privately. Stapling shrubs to the side of your building is not the same as building a home in the forest.

    Natural systems accomodate degradation and attrition, but these would need to be well-maintained.

    On many levels these buildings are really an antithesis of what they pretend to be.

  9. marcom November 26, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I agree with Simaril who thinks that trees can also include edible fruit-trees like blueberries, raspberries, olive, grapes, peanuts, cashews, and so forth… I guess the small schrubs will be the best options, for example grapes or blueberries, even olive trees can be managed to stay small. There are always chances to grow larger fruit-tree species in green roofs, so that one can produce mangoes in Brazil or Venezula, Papaya or Coco in Mexico, or Apples in temperate countries like Argentina, Chile, USA, Canada or Mexico. Australia and New Zeland could try growing kiwis.

  10. universeissmall November 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    This is a wonderful idea. I see a lot of people have begun to criticize it already….I am sure they wouldnt start building a structure without thinking of solutions for such obvious problems.I think this is the beginning of a new way of conceptualizing urban ENVIRONMENTS. Thank you Milan.

  11. octopus October 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I love this idea! It’s beautiful. That being said,we have hurricanes here. I wonder what the violent force of those trees whipping around in a storm would do to the stability of tall narrow structures like these. The damage caused by flying plant debris in a storm, from ground level, can be devastating. I imagine a tree falling from 15 stories would do more damage. Not to mention natural loss of foliage due to the seasons. Depending on what’s planted, and where you are, these things could be raining leaves on your neighborhood all autumn.

  12. rivka October 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Is it possible to retrofit an existing tower?

    How is maintenance of the growing plantlife carried out? And what is the cost of that maintenance?

  13. pk32819 October 26, 2011 at 11:25 pm
  14. reboker October 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I think its GREAT! Sooner or later the trees will grow beyond what is manageable and will need to be replaced. Easy to extract a tree. People have gotten too used to negative blogging. Critical thinking has become a mud slinging session. Imagine what we could do if we could actually work toward a common goal with cooperation and teamwork like what we see here.

  15. Simaril October 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Most tree roots are 8″ – 18″ deep. Street tree plantings are often interconnected, not containerized – since there are trees everywhere I’m sure they’re not in individual containers.

    Not all forests burn. In the eastern US we do have ground fires now and then (mostly man caused) but almost never canopy fires. You do realize that redwoods have grown for THOUSANDS of years without burning down. Google “methuselah tree” and you’ll find trees can live VERY long (4,842 years).

    Tree maintenance is always an issue. Residents can do some care on their own, or hire a certified arborist, AND it’s nothing new for homeowners associations to regulate landscaping upkeep. Normal low density residential properties benfit from energy savings and property value that justifies the cost of maintenance. There’s amazing research on the wide array of anthropocentric values of trees.

    You could argue that vertical gardens would be better, but forests can be productive too. Elderberry, raspberry, blueberry, ginseng, cohosh, and goldenseal are some examples of benefitial native forest plants in PA. Furthermore there are other products like cellophane, cellulose acetate, ester, torula yeast, resins, cork, and let’s not forget wood.

  16. baci October 20, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I love it! So Hundertwasser!! I want to live there!

  17. notsoTupeloHoney October 20, 2011 at 8:57 am

    This is a beautiful idea and I wish them great success. As for all the negativity, have you never heard of bonsai or roof gardens?

    Also, posters, you are not taking in scale. Each balcony may be 10 to 20 feet in height. The trees will not be taller than that. They will be trees that have already proven themselves in roof gardens.

    As for root balls, have you ever seen the root ball of a fallen oak? I live in the Ozarks where there is little top soil. The oak trees here can grow 40 to 60 feet with a root ball as shallow as 2 feet.

    Again, bravo to all associated with this project.

  18. ryan cameron October 19, 2011 at 10:31 am

    seems dumb. Rootbound trees, all the leaves die and fall off…what do you replace trees that die and fall off the building and kill people? Why not just leave the trees on the ground instead of uprooting them from wherever you’re getting them, and build buildings with smaller, easy to manage plants and a green roof?

  19. EnviroPlanner October 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    The trees in this design seem to be very well behaved. I do like that none of them are leaning out from the building and it’s shadow in the typical phototropic manner(growing in the direction of light). And they are all keeping very uniform height and spread as well.
    As in idea this project is great, and a much larger first attempt than i would recommend. As an improvement to what we do at the moment, its certinaly a brave committment. As a solution, i think we might be barking up the wrong tree.

  20. josephz October 17, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    what about cell phone coverage towers and satellites. I know my xmradio doesn’t work as well around trees

  21. macchickpro October 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I wish the structures were more “designed” not just straight towers. More like temples so they are attractive to look at. Towers are just going to look weird, even though they are green. I think they will still make the environment more claustrophobic.

  22. mac42us October 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    It looks wonderful but it’s also impractical, dangerous and impossible.
    First, how fast can the wind blow at 250-300 feet high? These smaller plants would have a hard time up there. Remember, we’re not talking about a natural hillside. There’s no other trees or obstructions to act as a wind block. The plants will be thrashed. The danger wouldn’t be trees falling off as one commenter stated. The danger would be limbs breaking and falling. a 20-30 pound limb falling on your head from 20 stories up can do more than ruin your day.
    Secondly, the images show trees on all sides of the building. for much of the year, one side of the building will be in shade. Trees need light.
    Maintenance would have to be part of the monthly fees. Otherwise, the homeowners’ association would constantly have to be suing residents to trim plants and replace any dead or overgrown plants. Costly, but that would just be part of the deal. Also, what happens when a resident decides to do a little work themselves and either drops a limb on the street below, or worse, falls to their death?

  23. optmrizwan October 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    yah in the current time this will be the 1st project of its kind , as of history it will be 2nd project I think

  24. optmrizwan October 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm
  25. optmrizwan October 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I cant say any thing yet, but there is a refrance in Holly Quran about “Hanging Garden peoples” I am searching for that and will provide with translation if posible

    Dr. Rizwan Elahi

  26. jacksonvillage October 17, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I agree with rosarola 33, get back to the original problem and quit this fascination of man the ultimate toolbuilder who rushes ahead of his own evolutionary pace to create fabulous new and problematic solutions to problems whose essence he fails to grasp or deal with!
    Get real! Who are we and what do we think we are doing?

  27. gurl_m October 17, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I’m so happy one of these vertical garden towers are finally being built! We’re finally going to be able to see how they actually work so that we can make tweaks to it instead of staring at paper architecture. It’s a great indication of the shift in world view: People finally want to invest in eco-systems and get it done IN REAL LIFE!

  28. tc1967uk October 17, 2011 at 5:37 am

    I had a similar idea years ago, but with lawns instead of trees (which would obstruct people’s views surely?)

  29. Sunryse18 October 17, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Tis a lousy idea, but may be necessary as we have destroyed “nature” meaning, the system that G-d created that works. Man and his “Towers” never have. Oh take those amazing human brains and use them to save nature, not create new problems.

  30. kimc October 16, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    The question is, who’s going up the tree to secure the cat?

  31. Kfisch October 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Hi, it’s very interesting but how be sure that the trees and plant will be maintained properly. If there are plants on each balcony, will it be the owner or event the tenant will take care of the plants ? It supposes that each person who lives there are responsible and can do that properly.

    The idea is great but it poses some kind of problems in terms of maintenance, I think.

  32. scarletgirl October 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    It looks amazing but also overly optimistic. Those big trees would require deep soil and there seem to be only shallow containers which, as someone else pointed out, will become rootbound. And would they really grow that huge when placed high up in the sky and buffeted by wind? Has anyone asked the trees (just kidding)? Gardeners immune to vertigo would also be required. Still, even if only palms. climbing vines and hardy shrubs survive, it will still look better than the average slab of concrete and glass.

  33. g3lepage October 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    What’s the carbon footprint on building the building the building and sustaining the trees? Not to mention it’s built using concrete. How about taking some lessons from the ECOark in Taiwan. Not perfect but these young kids have come the closest.

  34. Melissa me October 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    It is a great idea from an Eco point of view. But this building would not be allowed where I live for the simple fact that if a fire starts the whole building will burn instantly. Also when the trees die, won’t they fall and kill someone on groud?

    -Just want to comment on this from the point of view of a professional gardener. The trees are not going to fall over dead and kill some one below. If a tree dies, it is a slow process, so they can be taken out before it is a danger. Also, they will be held in place by a root ball that will very likely be extremely root bound, as the roots will grow to the size of inside of the container. From personal experience, it will be gardener’s nightmare to get a dead tree out. A root bound tree in a pot on the 50th floor of a huge apartment complex. Ugh. Gardeners know what I’m talking about. Difficult situation but not dangerous.

    It does bring up a question in my mind, who is responsible for the regular care and maintenance of the trees? Professionals, I hope.

  35. Rafael O. Quezada October 15, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Talk about top-heavy! How do you spell R-O-M-A-N C-A-N-D-L-E
    I fear that anything so tedious as lifting Earth and her forests into the sky, on any structure smaller than a mountain, is a “feat fated for failure”. There are more elegant ways to achieve the desired results.

  36. Kate81650 October 15, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Should be very interesting in a lightning storm!

  37. Concreteoppinion October 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Aside from the probably most great looking building decoration ever, all that concrete is Not a very ecofriendly way of building

  38. DragonTiger667 October 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    keops123 says:
    October 14, 2011 at 7:26 am

    It is a great idea from an Eco point of view. But this building would not be allowed where I live for the simple fact that if a fire starts the whole building will burn instantly. Also when the trees die, won’t they fall and kill someone on groud?
    >> Ever tried to uproot a dead tree ? have you seen all the pictures ? the whole building is covered in large water flow systems which would prevent anything from instantly going up into flames and then why on earth would it instantly catch fire ? have you ever tried to set fire to a sole tree without the undergrowth ? Do you know how hard it is to set a tree on fire ?

  39. rosarola33 October 14, 2011 at 7:46 am

    My thoughts exactly, catatomic! That aside, (assuming that’s been addressed)it’s a great innovation, but frankly I’d just prefer to see more solutions to the actual production of pollution in the first place and high rise buildings will never take the place of open green spaces for health and emotional well-being.

  40. keops123 October 14, 2011 at 7:26 am

    It is a great idea from an Eco point of view. But this building would not be allowed where I live for the simple fact that if a fire starts the whole building will burn instantly. Also when the trees die, won’t they fall and kill someone on groud?

  41. saach71 October 14, 2011 at 2:59 am

    How much is each unit in the USD, may I ask? And when is it gonna be completed.

  42. Zalyia silver October 14, 2011 at 1:47 am

    My question was the same as above. Will people be allowed on the tower in the same way you can use the High Line in New York or will they be too heavy for the structure.
    What a wonderful project and what hope it gives to those forced to live in the city. Thank you

  43. catatomic October 11, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Where do the roots grow? I always understood that trees have almost as much root ball as foliage above – some palm trees being a notable exception…

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