Architect to Build Vertical Forest Towers in Dubai
During the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Italian studio Stefano Boeri Architetti announced plans to construct another Vertical Forest.
According to reports, the architect is planning to construct two tree-covered skyscrapers in Dubai.
“The project, commissioned by Impact One, represents the first Vertical Forest prototype for the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) area with the aim of integrating the benefits of urban forestry such as the absorption of fine dust particles, microclimate regulation and reduction of the greenhouse effect together with innovations as part of the management of the water system in arid climates and the optimization of energy production from renewable sources,” said Stefano Boeri Architetti.
Vertical Forest Background
While Stefano Boeri Architetti has been giving new meaning to the phrase “concrete jungle” for many years, the architect’s first Vertical Forest prototype was constructed in Milan, Italy. At the time, the project aimed to develop a new format of architectural biodiversity that focused not only on human beings but their relationship with other living species.
The pair of residential towers, standing 80 and 112 meters high (roughly 262 and 367 feet high), respectively, were constructed from 2007-2014. The structures housed a total of 800 trees of various sizes, in addition to 15,000 perennials and/or ground-covering plants and 5,000 shrubs.
As a result, the towers have essentially created their own ecosystem and are now home to an estimated 1,600 birds and butterflies.
The total greenery was reportedly equivalent to 30,000 square meters of woodland and undergrowth, all of which were concentrated on 3,000 square meters of urban surface mostly made of concrete with walls faced with black ceramic panels that contrast with the white balconies.
The columns are made of reinforced concrete and the floors are post-tensioned reinforced concrete and the balconies are 28 centimeters. The substrate in the plant containers themselves also had to be durable, and the main material there is volcanic lapilli, an inorganic material that has properties prime for water retention and dimensional stability, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habit.
In further describing the project, the architect noted that unlike “mineral” facades in glass or stone, the plant-based shield does not reflect or magnify the sun’s rays but filters them thereby creating a welcoming internal microclimate without harmful effects on the environment.
The green facade also works to regulate humidity, produce oxygen, and absorb CO2and microparticles. For these environmentally friendly characteristics, the project has received a number of awards, including the International Highrise Award from the Deutschen Architekturmuseums in Frankfurt (2014) and the CTBUH Award for the best tall building in the world from the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat at Chicago’s IIT (2015).
Around the same time the towers were being completed in Milan, Stefano Boeri Architetti announced it would be building two green towers in Nanjing, China.
The Nanjing Green Towers are comprised of an office building and a hotel. The architecture firm said in a news release that the towers would be characterized by green tanks and balconies, similar to the terraces in Milan.
Construction launched on the project in 2016 and is reportedly ongoing. Along the facades in Nanjing, 600 tall trees, 500 smaller trees and 2,500 cascading plants and shrubs will cover the 6,000 square-mile area with the hopes of absorbing 25 tons of CO2 per year and producing 60 kilograms of oxygen each day.
In 2017, Stefano Boeri Architetti launched another Vertical Forest in Huanggang, Hubei, China. Completed last year, the Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City complex consists of five towers, two of which are residential and designed on the model of the Vertical Forest in Milan.
The architect reports that the combined greenery on the structures absorbs 22 tons of CO2 and produces 11 tons of oxygen per year.
During the same construction period, Stefano Boeri Architetti built what has been dubbed the Trudo Vertical Forest in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The structure accommodates 125 social housing units on 19 floors and features more than 70 different plant species.
Additional projects by the architect can be viewed here.
Dubai Vertical Forest Project
A somewhat timely announcement, as COP28 will take place in Dubai in 2023, Stefano Boeri Architetti recently announced at the COP27 that it would be building its latest Vertical Forest in the city. The two towers are expected to stand 190 and 150 meters high, respectively, and will stand in a “V” shape.
Together, the buildings are expected to integrate 2,640 trees and 27,600 shrubs on the facades, along with “a system of greenhouses and hydroponic gardens.” These gardens are engineered to grow plants in a vertical formation through the use of water-based, mineral nutrient solutions in place of soil.
Another key part of the project, according to the architect, are the tower’s desalination and grey water recovery management systems and its incorporation of renewable energy sources. Unlike previous Vertical Forest projects, the Dubai towers will have photovoltaic surfaces capable of producing 5,100 kWh of clean energy that will be stored in a system of hydrogen batteries.
These systems, among other aspects still being researched for the project, plan to identify construction technologies, materials and strategies to ensure the sustainability of the building’s life cycle.