Milan’s Bosco Verticale wins the International Highrise Award

Bosco Verticale, a residential high-rise development with its own urban forest in Milan, won the International Highrise Award 2014. The award was presented by the City of Frankfurt am Main together with Deutsches Architekturmuseum and DekaBank.

Designed by Boeri Studio and developed by Hines, this vertical forest in the heart of one of Europe’s most polluted cities includes two residential towers which are 110 metres and 76 metres high. In total, 900 trees measuring between 3 metres and 6 metres have been planted, along with 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 floral plants on terraces up to the 27th floor.

The project is set to create a new standard for sustainable housing and was developed with the help of Arup’s structural and geotechnical designs, together with consultancy services on acoustics, vibrations, ground-borne noise and tunnelling. Arup is also providing advanced design solutions related to the effects of two existing railway tunnels under the site that required a dedicated design of a base-isolation system for the main buildings.

As a new growth model for the regeneration of the urban environment, the design creates a biological habitat in a total area of 40,000 square metres. The designers aim to inspire greater urban biodiversity in the face of Milan’s challenge of increasing pollution.

The vast amount of greenery on the building encourages the production of energy. As well as creating oxygen and humidity, the plants also absorb CO2 and dust particles, which improves the environment. From compact two-room apartments to penthouses and duplexes, the main characteristics of the flats are the balconies, which extend 3.35 metres outwards to host the greenery. The design also includes photovoltaic energy systems to increase the degree of energetic self-sufficiency of the two towers.

According to Luca Buzzoni, project manager at Arup Milan, “We are proud of having had the opportunity to work on a project where innovation has been developed in a completely new integrated way. The technical skills we can provide as Arup have been used to support an original idea, with the aim to improve the environment and the biodiversity in the very centre of a crowded city like Milan.”

The Bosco Verticale building is part of the Porta Nuova Isola complex. This project involves the redevelopment of an area historically dedicated to light industrial and craft activities. Following the proposal to create Bosco Verticale at the site, 70% of the area had been assigned as a public park. This new residential area includes five main buildings for public, residential and commercial use, and three underground parking levels.

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