As we struggle to come to terms as a planet with the destruction that we have all caused and continue to cause, there is a greater urgency required to help build a brighter, more sustainable future that works for the planet but continues to function as we need it to. Architecture and design has been the cause of improbably large and problematic carbon footprints in the past, and now it could hold the key to an environmentally sustainable future in the way that urban centres and buildings are designed and constructed in the future. The best architecture firms tasked with creating brand-new urban buildings and town plans understand that the environment has to be front and centre, but how can we achieve this?
One thing that has often been discussed is that there is a pressing need to increase green spaces within our urban environments. If you think about how the biggest cities in the world have evolved over time, there is likely one big park that is central or just off centre, with smaller parks dotted around the city. On the most part however, there are very few ‘real’ green spaces for residents to explore to enjoy or that make any real difference to the environmental impact of the city as a whole.
It can never be quite as simple as a mass tree-planting scheme, as there are many factors to take into consideration, but there are other ways in which we can turn our cities green, and houses that are covered in trees could be one of the most exciting and innovative approaches.
You can see this type of innovation in one of the biggest cities in Europe, Milan. The Italian financial centre has any number of tall buildings that are home to Allianz amongst other multi-national offices. However, it is also a city that is home to the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest). This exciting residential development consists of two towers standing at 80 and 112 metres high respectively. The innovation in question is that both towers are covered externally in plants and trees.
This project is an exciting one in the Porta Nuova area of Milan, with 21,000 plants that are made up of 250 trees, 4,500 shrubs of various shapes and sizes, and 15,000 plants of various nature and size. This equates to 30,000 square metres of forest on an area that is quite small in terms of urban space. With this, you can see the potential for future urban developments to reduce the carbon footprint and become sustainable, whilst increasing green space in city environments that are difficult to find naturally.
As you can see, there is innovative though within the architecture world, as there has always been. With the pressing need to provide new designs and buildings that have drastically lower carbon footprints and can be built in a sustainable way that doesn’t damage the planet any further, there is light at the end of the tunnel. With a drive from governments and activists around the world to act right now, architects are looking at the most innovative ways they can help. With a need to increase the amount of green space in urban environments, projects in big cities worldwide are transforming how we view and act in certain areas that used to just be concrete jungles. Houses covered in trees is one idea that could change the face of city skylines forever.