urban treehouse

Urban treehouse, anyone? That’s exactly what Italian architect Stefano Boeri’s Vertical Forest in Milan will be. The project consists of two, high density vertical residential towers (260 and 367 feet high), with the apartments within the tower sporting staggered concrete balconies full of greenery. Inspired by vine-covered Italian buildings, Bosco Verticale is designed to provide space for approximately 2.5 acres of forest, in the form of more than 700 trees, 11,000 ground plants, and 5,000 shrubs. Two years of collaboration with botanists went into determining what vegetation would be best suited for the project, and the actual plants to be placed in the balcony gardens were grown specifically for the towers in special conditions to minimize shock after transplant.

urban treehouse construction

Milan is one of the world’s most polluted cities, an urban cluster that supports very little biodiversity. The proposed benefits of the Bosco Verticale project include the creation of micro-ecosystems that will support bird and insect life, the absorption of dust and CO2 from the city’s atmosphere, and a reduction in the need for mechanical heating and cooling of the building via the creation of a microclimate. Use of residential grey water to irrigate the apartment gardens and photovoltaic energy systems to power the building contribute to the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the design. The vertical design of the building conserves what would be 538,000 feet of urban sprawl.

Harvard Design Magazine called the design “dreamily utopian”, and critics point to many possible challenges the project (seemingly) fails to consider: root growth, bad weather, and pests, to name a few. With construction of the towering Bosco Verticale set to be completed by the end of 2013, we’ll soon see if this is a green dream come true.

Photos via: www.stefanoboeriarchitetti.net