Bosco Verticale, Designed by Architect Stefano Boeri (2013)
The most exciting new tower in the world is under construction in Milan. At 27 storeys high, Bosco Verticale is a splinter beside the Shard, the 87-storey skyscraper under construction in London. What sets the Milan tower apart is that it will be the world’s first vertical forest, with each apartment having a balcony planted with trees. In summer, oaks and amelanchiers will shade the windows and filter the city’s dust; in winter, sunlight will shrine through the bare branches.
Bosco Verticale is the vision of Stefano Boeri, architect, academic and former editor of design and architecture magazine Domus: he begins his presentation with Ovid’s fantasy of the nymph Daphne being turned into a tree. But, he adds, such a metamorphosis adds only 5 per cent to construction costs. And, he argues, it is a necessary response to the sprawl of the modern city. If the units were individual houses, it would require 50,000 sq m of land, and 10,000 sq m of woodland. Bosco Verticale is the first element in his proposed BioMilano, in which a green belt is created around the city and 60 abandoned farms on the outskirts are restored to community use.
We live in a time when boundaries between indoors and outdoors, architecture and nature are dissolving, as the naturalist John Muir wrote: “I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”