Skyscrapers Adorned with Trees: Folly or the Future?


On Earth, published by the Natural Resources Defense Council, tackles the controversy surrounding Bosco Verticale, two high-rise condo towers rising over Milan that will feature lush greenery on the balconies. Skycrapers adorned with vegetation — or sky gardens — have taken root from Singapore to New York.

Italian architect Stefano Boeri’s goal is to create a vertical forest — but critics think the project is misguided. They worry about wind damage, neglect and the extra soil and water required to maintain trees in such an unnatural setting. It would be smarter, critics say, to devote more resources to maintaining and planting trees on the ground.

Supporters are encouraged by what they characterize as a bold, visionary project that challenges architectural conventions and promotes a more environmentally friendly approach to design. Jeff Turrentine, author of the article, suggests that both sides make vaild arguments. He writes:

“Were it to succeed, Bosco Verticale could indeed be—like Brunelleschi’s dome—the template for a revolution in urban design. But [science writer Tim] DeChant’s points are all well taken, and none of them more so than his subtle indictment of Boeri and his many champions on charges of hubristically misplacing their conservation energies.”




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