Lush Life: 12 Verdant Architecture Projects Making Plants a Main Priority

Tala Treeresort by Architecture Brio in Tala, India

A different kind of ‘tree house,’ the Tala Treeresort in India is built around existing trees to avoid disturbing the landscape at all in its construction. Architecture Brio wanted to create a respectful and tranquil space that reflects the fact that many people who stay here are on a pilgrimage to an important Buddhist site nearby. Holes in the fencing allow the tree trunks to pierce the balconies, while curved glass walls make guests feel like they’re sleeping in the open forest.

Sustainable Timber Tower by Penda Architects in Toronto, Canada

Penda Architects displays the all-timber facade of this high rise in Toronto alongside living trees planted on the balconies to make a point about the sustainability of the structure. Part of a growing trend of building tall structures in urban settings using wood as a primary material, the Tree Tower is an 18-story building with apartments, a cafe, a daycare center and workshops for the community. “Our cities are an assembly of steel, concrete and glass,” say the architects. “If you walk through the city and suddenly see a tower made of wood and plants, it will create an interesting contrast. The warm, natural appearance of wood and the plants growing on its facade bring the building to life and that could be a model for enviromental friendly developments and sustainable extensions of our urban landscape.”

1000 Trees Complex by Heatherwick Studio in Shanghai, China

Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘1000 Trees’ complex is currently under construction in Shanghai, with the trees already placed within their sturdy concrete planters. The mixed use mega-complex contains 400 terraces conceived more as a natural topography than a building, taking the form of tree-covered mountains.

Vertical Forest Tower by Stefano Boeri in Utrecht, The Netherlands

A second lush vertical tower set to be constructed in Utrecht’s new Jaarsbeursboulevard district, alongside a project by MVRDV, is Stefano Boeri’s ‘HawthornTower.’ This ‘vertical forest’ will host around 10,000 plants of various species, ultimately absorbing more than 5.4 tons of carbon dioxide. The ground floor hosts the ‘vertical forest hub,’ a research center focusing on urban deforestation worldwide, and will be directly connected to the sixth floor rooftop garden. The rest of the building houses offices, fitness and yoga studios and other public spaces.