It’s official – China joined the ‘urban forestation’ revolution.
The revelation came as news broke about architect Stefano Boeri’s plans to create a pair of ‘vertical forests’ in Nanjing – two towers adorned with trees and greenery that will represent the very first vertical forest project in China.
Nanjing Green Towers, promoted by Nanjing Yang Zi State-owned National Investment Group Co. Ltd, are located in the Nanjing Pukou District. They are characterised by the interchange of green tanks, balconies and facades.
The facades consist of 600 tall trees, 500 medium-sized trees and 2,500 cascading plants and shrubs. There is an approximate total amount of 1,100 trees from 23 local species that cover a 6,000 square metre area.
According to Stefano Boeri architects, Nanjing Green Towers will help regenerate local biodiversity, and will absorb about 25 tons of CO2 each year, producing about 60 kg of oxygen per day.
The taller tower of the pair, at 200 metres high, will host offices from floors 8 to 35 and also include a museum, a green architecture school and a private club on the rooftop. The second tower, peaking at 108 metres, will contain a 247-room Hyatt hotel and a swimming pool on the rooftop. It will be built with a 20-metre-high podium that will host commercial, recreational and educative functions, including retail options, a food market, restaurants, conference hall and exhibition spaces.
The Nanjiing Vertical Forest project commenced in 2016 and is scheduled to be completed in 2018. Stefano Boeri Architects said they plan to erect more vertical forest towers in China, specifically in Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou, Guizhou, Shanghai and Chongqing.
Vertical Forest - A growing environmental phenomenon
The vertical forest model is nothing new in the world of development, but it certainly has not indicated any intentions of fading into the mist. It was a concept designed to contribute to metropolitan reforestation and the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding the city upon the territory.
“It is a model of vertical densification of nature within the city that operates in relation to policies for reforestation and naturalisation of large urban and metropolitan borders,” Stefano Boeri Architects said.
There are a number of ‘green buildings’ all over the world, like Melbourne’s own K1 Residence by DE Atelier and Optimus Developments or the Diamond Lotus in Ho Chi Minh City.
K1 Residence by DE AtelierEven Stefano Boeri Architects have created more than just Nanjing Green Towers.
Diamond Lotus in Ho Chi Minh City, by Vo Trong Nghia ArchitectsStefano Boeri’s first vertical forest project was created in Milan, which consists of two residential towers that are collectively covered in about 900 trees and over 20,000 plants, which are all positioned according to the sun exposure of the façade.
According to Stefano Boeri architects, some of the benefits of vertical forests are:
Vertical Forest increases biodiversity. It helps to set up an urban ecosystem where a different kind of vegetation creates a vertical environment which can also be colonised by birds and insects, and therefore becomes both a magnet for and a symbol of the spontaneous re-colonisation of the city by vegetation and by animal life. The creation of a number of Vertical Forests in the city can set up a network of environmental corridors which will give life to the main parks in the city, bringing together the green space of avenues and gardens and interweaving various spaces of spontaneous vegetation growth.
Vertical Forest helps to build a micro-climate and to filter dust particles which are present in the urban environment. The diversity of the plants helps to create humidity and absorbs CO2 and dust, produces oxygen, protects people and houses from harmful sun rays and from acoustic pollution.
Vertical Forest is an anti-sprawl measure which aims to control and reduce urban expansion.
“If we think of them in terms of urban densification, each tower of the Vertical Forest is equivalent to an area of urban sprawl of family houses and buildings of up to 50,000 square metres.”
Who knows? Perhaps this way of development and design will (pardon the puns) grow into the norm and sprout up in cities all over the world, sowing the seeds for a greener tomorrow.
Images courtesy Stefano Boeri Architects