Many green buildings involve technologies like solar power, recycling of water or natural ventilation. But there's another path of relatively unexplored green potential - literally greening buildings by planting trees on them. The Bosco Verticale, under construction in Milan, Italy, is bridging the gap between this concept and reality.
Designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri, the Bosco Verticale aims to create green spaces in urban areas by vertically organising the green space in the form of a number of residential towers in the centre of Milan, reaching as high as 110 metres. Trees as high as 9 metres will be planted on the various levels of the buildings, making each apartment its own green space.
The architects claim there are a number of benefits to having a green building designed in this matter. First among these is the idea the trees and shrubs on the building will balance the heated microclimate produced by the urban area they are situated in. Sunlight and heat are generally not absorbed by the materials used in urban areas but instead radiate heat back into the environment. Bosco Verticale attempts to mitigate this issue by having plants absorb sunlight and heat, evening out the microclimate of the area.
In addition, the trees aim to provide a layer of acoustic protection for the people living in the building. The architects also envision the flora helping to some degree in the reduction of pollution in the area by taking carbon dioxide out of the air and producing oxygen. The building is designed to irrigate the plants by taking waste water from the building.
Ultimately, Stefano Boeri aims to turn Milan into a biologically diverse urban landscape, with Bosco Verticale just one part of his "BioMilan" plan, which involves a "kitchen garden" to provide agricultural resources to Milan and the revitalisation of abandoned rural sites around Italy to create "courtyard farms."