Back in 2011, visionary Italian architect Stefano Boeri prompted more than a few “Fern Gully”-meets-“Blade Runner”-inspired daydreams when his Milan-based practice released conceptual renderings of Bosco Verticale (“Vertical Forest"), a project that can best be described as a pair of modernist high-rises completely enshrouded with trees.
And when I say trees, I mean trees … not a smattering of modest ornamental topiaries but over 800 large potted trees covering the towers’ facade alongside plants and shrubs of all shapes and sizes. While the renderings and the whole vertical forest concept, a concept aiming to scrub Milan’s filthy air while providing a habitat for urban wildlife, were lovely and admirable, Boeri’s vision was dismissed by some critics as being overly quixotic; a vegetation-bestrewn work of fantasy architecture that would never translate over to the real world — a world where trees normally don't grow on apartment towers.
But Bosco Verticale, completed in 2014, was translated to the real world. Now, trees do grow on apartment towers. (Or they do in Milan, anyway). And these attention-grabbing arboreal beauties are almost as spectacular as that first batch of design renderings suggested they’d be. Just not quite as overgrown.
With Bosco Verticale complete and one big international architecture award under his belt, Boeri is bringing his vertical forest concept to the Swiss city of Lausanne with the 36-story La Tour de Cedres ("The Cedar Tree Tower").
The pixelated façade of La Tour de Cedres appears to be somewhat similar to that of his towers in Milan with the trees themselves secured atop cantilevered concrete terraces that protrude from each of the building’s apartment units. While not identical to his previous design, the foliage-heavy forest-in-the-sky effect is still wildly dramatic.
There is, however, one key difference between Bosco Verticale and this Swiss showstopper: La Tour de Cedres will be clad with evergreen trees, making it the world’s first coniferous vertical forest. As imagined by Boeri, 100 hardy, disease-resistant cedar trees will cover the tower’s exterior along with 6,000 shrubs and 18,000 assorted perennials. In total, nearly 10,000-square-feet of the 384-foot-tall building’s surface will be bedecked in pollutant-absorbing, oxygen-producing greenery that also provides shelter to local fauna.
Just imagine stepping out onto one of the balconies pictured above on a crisp Swiss morning. You inhale deeply as the sun rises over Lake Geneva. You exhale. Ahhhh ... The bracing and distinctively spicy aroma of cedar overtakes you. Just like an alpine cabin. Or a closet insert. Or a shoe tree.
In addition to 195 apartment units (a mix of condos and rentals), La Tour de Cedres will feature several floors of office space, a gym and a panoramic restaurant on the top floor according to The Local. No word if, in fine European tradition, the restaurant rotates.
Says Boeri in a statement: “With the Tower of Cedar Trees we will have the opportunity to realise a plain building that will have a great role in the Lausanne landscape. An architecture even able to introduce a significant biodiversity of vegetal species in the middle of an important European city."
“This will make Lausanne a cutting-edge city in the global challenge to implement urban quality together with sustainability and biodiversity,” he adds.
Conceived by Boeri in collaboration with Buro Happold Engineering and agronomist Laura Gatti, La Tour de Cedres was selected by the jury of an international design competition as the winning proposal for a redevelopment scheme in Chavannes-près-Renens, a suburb just west of Lausanne near the shores of Lake Geneva. Lovely Lausanne, a bustling Francophone city that's Switzerland’s fourth largest, is best known for being home to the International Olympic Committee and for being the smallest city in the world to have a full-on metro system complete with two rail lines.
La Tour de Cedres beat out seven proposals in the running. Construction on the tower is due to commence in 2017.
Via [Dezeen], [The Local]