Vertical Forests – Inspiring Green Living

The most pressing issue being faced by humanity today unequivocally is climate change. The need for ways to combat and reverse its effects rises with each passing day. In this dire situation, it also becomes necessary for such solutions to be innovative and sustainable enough to be integrated into the populace’s day to day lives without being a hindrance to their lifestyles. A great example which blends sustainability with ingenious architecture to help combat the growing problem of climate change is the Vertical Forest. The Bosco Verticale or the Vertical Forest is designed with input from horticulturists and botanists by famous architect, Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca and Giovanni La Varra. According to Boeri, the building’s inspiration was derived from Italo Calvino’s 1957 novel, “The Baron in the Trees” in which the protagonist gives up his life on the ground to live in the trees. To ensure that strong gusts of wind did not topple over the trees, the design was tested in a wind tunnel . The construction of the project began in late 2009 and it involved 6000 workers. The initial stages of its construction progressed very slowly as only five floors were completed between mid 2010 and early 2011. Construction progressed throughout 2011 and the structures and facades were completed in 2012. And the building was finally inaugurated in 2014.

The buildings host approx. 900 trees and over 20000 plants and is located in the centre of Milan. The Vertical Forest is a model for a sustainable residential building and provides a glimpse into the future of green living spaces. It helps in regeneration and purifying the environment and provide urban biodiversity through city reforestation. And this is done without encroaching upon the cityscape in any way. On flat land, each Vertical Forest is equivalent to around 20000 square meters of trees. The Vertical Forest’s flora help convert approximately 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year while also acting as very efficient dust filters, bringing down the pollution levels around them. It also moderates the temperatures in the building during the winter and summer by shading the interiors from the sun and harsh winds. The building is self-sufficient as it uses renewable, waste-free energy from solar panels and filtered wastewater to irrigate the plants and trees.These technologies help reduce the overall waste and carbon footprint of the towers. The Vertical Forest also increases biodiversity. It helps set up an urban ecosystem wherein the vegetation creates a vertical environment which enables the habitation of birds and various insects.

On 29th November, 2014 the Bosco Verticale won the International High-rise Award which honors the excellence and innovation involved in recently constructed buildings that stand at least 100m tall. One of the buildings was also used as a gallery during the Milan Fashion Week. Being the first model of the urban densification of nature in a city, Boeri has projects  to design identical structures like the Bosco Verticale in Switzerland. There are already two under construction in the Netherlands (Eindhoven and Utrecht) and also in several cities in China. Bosco Verticale is a veritable modern-day Hanging Gardens and projects like these only help to bridge the gap between the present and the future.

Author: Parminder Singh

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