When Buildings Become Trees

Alec Schellinx
September 8th 2017

What if buildings could become trees? That vision is what Italian architect Stefano Boeri is aiming at with his Vertical Foresting. Boeri’s high-rises do not just stand there like trees; in fact, they are “trees”. They emulate how trees function or, to be more exact, how they “breathe”.

A vertical forest like the one that is currently under construction in south-eastern China, Nanjing will be covered by 1.100 trees selected from 23 Chinese species, in addition to 2.500 cascading shrubs and plants. The forest building will breathe out a daily 132 pounds of oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide in the process. About 25 tons of carbon dioxide can be ingested annually by the green skyscraper, which is approximately the amount of emissions that would be produced by a 87.300 km car ride, the equivalent of driving twice around the Earth.

Meet the Forest Mountain Hotel, a 250-room hotel that cleans the air while you are asleep.

A vertical “forest mountain” will be built in Guizhou, south China, to host a 250-room hotel: a babylonian dream, made in China. But that’s not all. A “forest city” is also reported to be on its way in the northern province of Hebei. “It’s a different approach, but the same philosophy”  Boeri said.

Creating an urban forest doesn't simply imply connecting a new structure to an existent cityscape. Urban planning starts from the very beginning. Parks, gardens and green corridors are an integral part of the urban setting and every single building should be designed to host its own set of trees. The city becomes a forest and vice versa.

Story: Sixth Tone. Image: Stefano Boeri Architetti

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