Tagged: Bosco Verticale

Has green gone mainstream?

Here’s some food for thought…….The following commentary blog was posted on the World Design Summit’s ‘Designing the Future’ website –  world design summit taking place over 10 days in Montreal in October, 2017. The event is described as, ‘an international gathering of diverse disciplines with a common focus: how design can shape the future.’ 

“Green has gone mainstream. But as green walls, rooftop farms, and tree covered skyscrapers become the norm in cities around the world, critics ask if these developments are simply the latest face of ‘greenwashing’. Environmental advocates such as Naomi Klein have long warned of corporations that attempt to mask questionable records by emphasizing green elements. Klein has challenged industrialists who partake in flashy, eco-conscious campaigns but do little to alleviate the impact of their businesses on the climate. Many companies spend more money convincing consumers that they are green than they do on actual green initiatives; some corporate green initiatives actually harm the environment.

Urbanists worry that greenwashing has spread to urban design and architecture by literally covering up buildings with plants. The vertical farms, plant-covered towers, and eco-villages that once seemed far-fetched are now not only possible but all the rage. Bringing greenery into the city may reduce emissions and improve air quality, but it does little to address the deeper causes of urban and environmental stress. Greening initiatives increase the economic value of places, risking displacement of economically vulnerable residents. Does a greenroof on top of a superstore help uninsured workers? What difference does a green tech-campus make if it requires hundreds of parking spaces?

One architect who questions greenwashing is Alejandro Aravena, director of the firm ELEMENTAL in Chile. At last year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, Aravena exposed the wasteful side of design by exhibiting 90 tons of detritus from the previous year’s event. He also tackles underlying challenges, by collaborating with communities to empower them to design affordable and sustainable housing for themselves. In this age of tree-covered skyscrapers, Aravena’s commitment to modest and even monotonous design stands out.

Questioning greenwashing demands that designers ask whether the green city must be a luxury for the privileged and whether sustainability initiatives accelerate inequality. Designers in all disciplines must look beyond rhetoric and aesthetics to evaluate the impact of environmental design. How can we, as designers, reconcile our role, which is closely linked with the market economy and over-consumption, with environmental and social awareness? Designers invested in truly sustainable practice are encouraged to submit a proposal for the topic “Questioning Greenwashing” at the Congress for the World Design Summit.”

The article is not attributed to any particular author but it would be interesting to hear your thoughts?  What’s your opinion in relation to #greenwashing? The article is illustrated by Stefano Boeri‘s proposals to build “forest cities” in Shijiazhuang, China plus an image of Bosco Verticale, Milan although the latter is not credited – (neither  design is referred to by name in the article). Both designs incorporate vegetation on the outer construction with the twin towers of Bosco Verticale – constructed with a $2.5 billion public-private investment as part of the redevelopment of Milan’s Porta Nuova district – housing 800 trees between 9 and 30 feet tall, over 4,000 shrubs, and 15,000 ground cover plants including vines and perennials.

The summit focuses on 6 key themes including ‘Design for Earth’ and 108 topics including ‘Questioning greenwashing’,

“Designers are sensitive to environmental issues and announce their willingness to conform their practices. However, beyond appearances and words, critical scrutiny is essential. How can we, as designers, reconcile our role, which is closely linked with the market economy and over-consumption, with environmental and social awareness?”

To read Naomi Klein’s, ‘The hypocrisy behind the big business climate change battle’ . Source: The Guardian, Sept, 2014.

naomi klein

Bosco Verticale, Milan. #Green-infrastructure in the sky.

The Bosco Verticale mixed-use towers were constructed with a $2.5 billion public-private investment as part of the redevelopment of Milan’s Porta Nuova district. The towers, measuring 260 feet and 367 feet, house 800 trees between 9 and 30 feet tall, over 4,000 shrubs, and 15,000 ground cover plants including vines and perennials. Created with LEED Gold certification in mind, Bosco Verticale is also equipped with a gray water recycling and irrigation system as well as photovoltaic solar cells.

Bosco milan

Already attracting a thriving bird population that has already begun to nest in Bosco Verticale’s foliage, of which over a hundred different species of trees and shrubs are represented. “The real key to this project is biodiversity,” says Boeri.

The superstructure was also recently shortlisted for the International Highrise Building Award 2014 as one of the five most beautiful and innovative high-rises in the world that were recently completed. Boeri is currently in China, where he plans to replicate the Bosco Verticale project.

The plants used for the building are geared toward species that can tolerate restricting soil conditions, and how effectively they can provide shade during the summer and absorb outside pollutants. Holly oak trees and European wild pear are among the trees being used for the project, as well as shrubs such as Cain Apples and Hawthorns.

VERTICAL FOREST 

“Vertical Forest is a model for a sustainable residential building, a project for metropolitan reforestation that contributes to 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 naturalization of large urban and metropolitan borders. The first example of the Vertical Forest composed of two residential towers of 110 and 76 m height, will be realized in the centre of Milan, on the edge of the Isola neighbourhood, and will host 900 trees (each measuring 3, 6 or 9 meters tall) and over 2000 plants from a wide range of shrubs and floral plants that are distributed in relation to the façade’s position to towards the sun. On flat land, each Vertical forest equals, in amount of trees, an area equal o 7000 m2 of forest. In terms of urban densification the equivalent of an area of single family dwellings of nearly 75.000 m2. The vegetal system of the Vertical Forest aids in the construction of a microclimate, produces humidity, absorbs CO2 and dust particles and produces oxygen.”

Text + Image Source: www.stefanoboeriarchitetti.net

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The studio led by Italian architect Stefano Boeri came up with the concept of Bosco Verticale, or Vertical Forest, as a way to combine high-density residential development with tree planting in city centres.  “This is a kind of biological architecture that refuses to adopt a strictly technological and mechanical approach to environmental sustainability,” Source:  Boeri Studio, Dezeen

Bosco milan3