When Luciano Pia undertook to design a five-storey, 63-unit residential apartment building in Turin, Italy, he sought to break from the homogenous urban development that was consuming the area. What resulted was 25 Verde, an extraordinary urban treehouse that blurs the lines been the domestic and the wild, captures a certain childlike imagination with branches rendered in steel, and whose exterior is melded with 150 trees, as well as a vast array of additional plants to which protect residents against noise pollution, and reduce air pollution in the neighborhood.
The building features a curved, varied facade that grows up along industrial steel girders, with the girders along a vertical axis are cut into playful branch-like structures. 150 tall trunks reach up around the terraces of the building, while an additional 50 trees are planted in the courtyard. The greenery is then diversified with additional large planters along the terraces, green walls, and private green-roof courtyards atop the fifth floor.
The overall effect, explains Pia, is one of creating a “flowing and smooth transition space to soften the passage from the inside to the outside where the space is always enjoyable,” as well as a space that is constantly evolving. The plants grow and change with the seasons, and species have been carefully selected to ensure year-round foliage and color.
With this immense greenery comes a significant environmental benefit. According to the architect, the trees produce 150,000 liters of oxygen each hour, while absorbing 200,000 liters of carbon dioxide an hour at night. On top of reducing air pollution for the neighborhood, the trees also provide an aesthetically pleasing, somewhat transparent barrier against the noise of the outside world.
In addition, the urban greenhouse has integrated several sustainable features; heating and cooling systems for the apartments utilize geothermal energy, while the plants aid in providing continuous insulation and protection from the sun. Rainwater is also recycled for watering the building’s greenery.
Via This is Colossal