Extreme Vertical Gardening

Image: Boeri Studio

Image: Boeri Studio

I was going to post something quite different about urban vertical gardening today, but when I saw this, it kind of made me forget what I was doing. A completely new spin on rooftop terraces. Vertical gardening taken to new heights, literally.

From the article on Inhabitat:

“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.”

I’ve only visited Milan for a weekend once upon a time, but it did not strike me as a particularly green city. There are a number of questions I have about the Bosco Verticale project, the main ones being: How is the watering and maintenance (and autumn raking) managed for this 27-story structure, and how will this vertical forest look when some of the trees either outgrow their location, or near the end of their lifetimes? It will be very interesting to see whether the forest can hold its promise of creating a micro-environment similar to a real forest in terms of air quality and providing a habitat for other creatures besides the apartment dwellers.

Bosco Verticale: The World’s First Vertical Forest Nears Completion in Milan

The towers while under constructionPhoto: Peri Gmbh

The towers while under construction
Photo: Peri Gmbh