Innovation That Matters

The vertical forest complex in Hubei Province is planted with trees, shrubs and perennial grasses | Photo source Stefano Boeri Architetti

Vertical forest complex rises in China’s Hubei province

Architecture & Design

A unique residential complex in China includes two buildings designed as a vertical forest

Spotted: Architecture firm Stefano Boeri Architetti China has announced that it has completed construction of its very first vertical forest complex, located in the city of Huanggang in Hubei province, China. The complex covers an area of 4.54 hectares and includes five towers, two of which were designed as a vertical forest. The towers combine open and closed balconies planted with 404 trees, 4,620 shrubs, and 2,408 square metres of perennial grass, flowers, and climbing plants.

The inclusion of plantings in the vertical complex not only adds to the aesthetic appeal – the architects claim it will absorb 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide and produce 11 tonnes of oxygen per year. All of the plants were carefully chosen with the local climate in mind, and painstakingly craned into position. The two forest towers contain a total of 209 apartments, and tenants have already moved in.

According to the architect, Stefano Boeri, the two residential towers represent a new way of thinking about development. The elevations use cantilevered elements to interrupt the regularity of the building and create a sense of movement. In addition, the combination of open and closed balconies generates a ‘transitional space between nature and the human living environment’.

Boeri adds that, “The design allows an excellent view of the tree-lined façades, enhancing the sensorial experience of the greenery and integrating the plant landscape with the architectural dimension. Thus, the inhabitants of the residential towers have the opportunity to experience the urban space from a different perspective while fully enjoying the comfort of being surrounded by nature.” 

Sustainability and the need to reduce global warming have become part of the vernacular of architecture, with a range of ideas and designs weaving their way into new constructions around the world. Innovations that we particularly like include a simple bench that prevents urban runoff and a fold-out urban garden that brings nature to small spaces. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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