Gallery: Bosco Verticale: The World’s First Vertical Forest Nears Compl...

Boeri Studio - photo by Francesco de Felice
The innovative concept provides a viable model for reforestation within the confines of a developed city.

Milan is one of the most polluted cities in the world, and the Bosco Verticale project aims to mitigate some of the environmental damage that has been inflicted upon the city by urbanization. The design is made up of two high-density tower blocks with integrated photovoltaic energy systems and trees and vegetation planted on the facade. The plants help capture CO2 and dust in the air, reduce the need to mechanically heat and cool the tower’s apartments, and help mitigate the area’s urban heat island effect – particularly during the summer when temperatures can reach over 100 degrees.

The two towers measure 260 feet and 367 feet tall respectively, and together they have the capacity to hold 480 big and medium size trees, 250 small size trees, 11,000 ground-cover plants and 5,000 shrubs (that’s the equivalent of 2.5 acres of forest). The types of trees were chosen based on where they would be positioned on the buildings’ facades and it took over two years of working with botanists to decide which trees would be most appropriate for the buildings and the climate. The plants used in the project were grown specifically for the building, pre-cultivated so that they would gradually acclimate to the conditions they would experience once placed on the building.

Given the lack of green space in the city, Milan’s environment does not promote biodiversity. The new plantings will provide an urban eco-system able to support the presence of birds and insects. Bosco Verticale has the potential to balance out the city’s environmental damage and to create a self-sufficient ecosystem.

Even more impressive is the fact that the construction of the towers cost just five percent more than an average skyscraper, and the project’s vertical design provides space that is equal to an area of sprawl measuring 538,200 square feet. The structure is sure to set a precedent not only for new developments Milan, but also for similar cities who have witnessed the same level of urbanization. The innovative concept provides a viable model for reforestation within the confines of a developed city.

+ Stefano Boeri Architetti

+ Barreca & Lavarra

Photos courtesy of Boeri Studio and Peri Gmbh


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  1. gailklein May 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Note on old Google Maps proximity to a totally antithetical glass building!

  2. WhoopWhoopie April 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I don’t think the architects, builders, investors, etc, would overlook the issues brought up here. Anyway, this is a very interesting project. You come across concept images like this all the time, but to actually see one being built is awesome. Here’s the Google Maps address for anyone interested: 17 Via Gaetano de Castillia, Milan, Lombardy, Italy.

  3. Abha Khabar February 14, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    oject were grown specifically for the building, pre-cultivated so that they would gradually acclimate to the condi

  4. bharati M January 19, 2013 at 2:46 am

    beautiful, but there seems to be no scope for the trees to grow any taller! If they do, they will grow bent and twisted!

  5. kristinjordan January 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Will there be human inhabitants in the building?

  6. lesley poisson January 16, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Wonderful!!!! Let’s do it here and there and everywhere!!!!!

  7. RonnyJay January 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    It’s looks like quite a project, but may I ask if they used plants that bear edible fruits and vegetables? It says they chose according to which were most appropriate for the buildings and climate, but there are also people in there, it would be a good opportunity for a win/win situation.

  8. sustainablefarm January 15, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    How do they stop the trees from ripping through the concrete?

  9. osita January 14, 2013 at 6:03 am

    How much it will cost to look after them, the roots will eventually grow and how they will control the damage of it?
    But it looks beautiful

  10. desmond January 11, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Looks brilliant – definitely something to watch and learn from over the next few years

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