design environment

Building of the week: Bosco Verticale

I mentioned this building back in 2011 when construction had just started, and now that it’s complete, I thought it was worth featuring in detail. Bosco Verticale is the world’s first ‘vertical forest’, a pair of residential tower blocks in Milan that have been planted with hundreds of trees.


They look spectacular, but the trees also cool the building in the summer, and protect it from wind in the winter, which reduces heating and cooling needs. They create oxygen and disperse air pollution, and shield the residents from the noise of the city. It’s also good for biodiversity, lowers the urban heat island effect, and reduces CO2 emissions. And who doesn’t want to live in a vertical forest?


The trees have been carefully selected to make sure they can handle the winds, and the balconies are massively reinforced so that the roots don’t burrow chunks out of the tower as the years go by. To water the 730 trees and 5,000 shrubs that cover the building, there is a greywater irrigation system. How they are pruned, I don’t know.

“Bosco Verticale is a new concept of skyscraper, where trees and people live side by side” says one of the architects, Stefano Boeri. “It is the first example in the world of a tower block which enriches the biodiversity of the flora and fauna of the city that houses it.”

It is an experiment, no doubt about it, but so far it looks positive. The building won the International Highrise Award, and another vertical forest is being built in Switzerland.




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