Urban Forest is a 30-story apartment building covered in thousands of trees and plants designed by Koichi Takada Architects for Brisbane, Australia. The multi-purpose building owned by developer Aria Property Group will include 392 houses, a two-level roof garden and a public park at ground level.

Koichi Takada, the architects plans to cover the terraced façade with 1,000 trees and 20,000 plants, in a combination of more than 250 species native to Queensland. Architectural studios and developers are working to make Urban Forest “the greenest residential building in the world”.

“Urban Forest is probably the greenest we can design with the current ‘greening’ tools and regulations available to us,” said studio founder Koichi Takada.

The architect wants the high-rise building to represent a move from mass production to a more sustainable lifestyle, which he says has become even more important in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Post Covid-19, I think it’s a great opportunity to pause and rethink and not just adapt, but shift the paradigm from industrial to natural. Concrete, steel and glass are very hard and solid industrial materials. Let’s call them dead materiality. We need to be embracing more living materiality, living architecture. One take away from the Covid-19 pandemic crisis is the realization that we are all living things. We are here to live, not defy death in some way. Our architecture should do the same,” explain the architect.

The main structure of this building will be made of so-called green concrete, a low-carbon version of concrete with 40 percent less Portland cement in it than traditional one. It will be sourced locally to further reduce emissions.

The unit will be created as a module to reduce waste and shorten construction time. The brick or stone elements will be recycled or sourced locally, and all wood used will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. The target is a six-star Green Star rating, LEED Platinum equivalent to Australia’s building sustainability assessment system.

At the base of the tower, the Urban Forest will be built into a series of columns to create a protected area for the park. This mushroom column will be contoured so that it looks organic, as if a multi-storey building is supported by tree stumps.

The columns also symbolize the local Queenslander architectural tradition, a house built on stilts and surrounded by shaded verandas. This building style was developed to suit high temperature climates and heavy rain, providing shady outdoor space while minimizing the risk of flooding.

Urban Forest will also contain a tourist center so that visitors can learn about the plants on its facades, about biodiversity and of course, building design. In rendering, this apartment features a veranda-style balcony and access to a rooftop garden complete with a shared swimming pool. Construction is due to start in 2021 and complete in 2024.


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