Towers of trees: Vertical forests in the sky are the height of green living

30 Oct

Towering over the city skyline, these are the world’s first forest in the sky apartments, complete with a living space that is also your garden.

With trees equal to one hectare of forest spanning 27 floors, these 365 and 260-foot emerald, twin towers will be home to an astonishing 730 trees, 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 ground plants.

Basking in the north Italian sun, the towers, called the Bosco Verticale, are under construction in the city of Milan – and the plants are being grown in pots while their new home is being prepared.

Green towers: Artist's impression of the 27-floor apartment buildings which will contain 730 trees and 16,000 shrubs and plants

Green towers: Artist’s impression of the 27-floor apartment buildings which will contain 730 trees and 16,000 shrubs and plants.

Crane forest: The street in Milan, Italy where the revolutionary green apartments are being built covered with thousands of trees and plants

Crane forest: The street in Milan, Italy, where the revolutionary green apartments are being built covered with thousands of trees and plants.

Director of Boeri Studios, Michele Brunello, 35, has been managing the project for his urban design and architecture firm since it was designed in 2006.

‘The idea for a vertical forest came when we were involved in a local tree planting project,’ he explained.

‘We imaged a building that allowed the landscape to enter it.

‘By creating a tower that truly becomes a home for the landscape we have a powerful tool.’

Brunello’s concept is designed to save on land, which, he said, is a precious resource in the centre of a major city.

‘We can provide the quality of life of expensive housing without consuming the resources that conventional housing would demand.

‘On top of this we have a building that is a world symbol for sustainable living.

‘It’s very different from anything that has come before,’ said Brunello.

Bosco Verticale has been designed as a home to a variety of plant life, which planners hope will act as a filter to pollution from traffic, shade people from the Mediterranean sun and will change its appearance each season – with new plants coming alive at spring time and rich colours being displayed during autumn.

Apartments range in price from £560,000 for a low level 80 square meter apartment to £1.7 million for a 200 square meter penthouse with commanding views of the city.

‘The interesting aspect to the way people live with the trees is that they don’t own them – they are communal,’ said Brunello.

‘This means that all the plants have been picked by the designers to be suitable to the height and correct side of the building.

‘So the people aren’t just choosing an apartment based on the size and view.

‘But also they need to consider which trees and plants they will be living with.’

Concrete jungle: The twin emerald towers will reach 365 and 260 feet in height when completed

Tree-house: how the architects imagine the apartments once they are occupied in this world first for design

Concrete jungle: The twin towers under construction and how the architects imagine apartment living.

Safety is also a major factor and Brunello explained: ‘If a tree was blown down in the wind from a great height this could be a huge problem.

‘So we tested various trees in a wind turbine to make sure we had the right ones.’

When the sky forest is completed by the end of 2012 the structure will house the same amount of residents as 50,000 square meters of conventional urban sprawl.

The towers will not only be home to human residents but to the insects, birds and animals that usually live in the parks of Milan.

The towers, which are still under construction, are the brainchild of world renowned Milan architect, 55 year-old Stefano Boeri.

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