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Putting Trees on Skyscrapers: An Interview with Lloyd Alter

Scheduled for completion later this year, Bosco Verticale, by Boeri Studio, will be the world’s first vertical forest. The project’s inspired many supporters, but also many detractors. Speaking to its controversiality, Lloyd Alter, the architect, sustainable design enthusiast, and managing editor of Treehugger, called it “the rendering that launched a thousand blog posts.” 

And perhaps no blogger caused more stir in the architecture community than Tim De Chant, who implored “can we please stop putting trees on skyscrapers”? De Chant’s article set off a maelstrom of comments from ArchDaily users, who vigorously debated both for and against the idea of putting trees on buildings.  

To get to the bottom of this, we talked with Lloyd Alter himself about vertical forests and the real challenges and benefits they present.  Lloyd is a regular contributor to Inhabitat, The Huffington Post and numerous other publications; he also teaches at Ryerson University School of Interior Design. Read on for Lloyd’s take on this controversial trend, after the break.

BBC New Broadcasting House / HOK & MacCormac Jamieson Prichard + Sheppard Robson



“CasaNova” Social Housing / cdm architetti associati

  • Architects: cdm architetti associati
  • Location: Via Nicolò Rasmo, 55, 39100 Bolzano BZ, Italy
  • Architect in Charge: Edoardo Cappuccio, Giuseppe Donato, Tomaso Macchi Cassia
  • Area: 20300.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Andrea Martiradonna

© Andrea Martiradonna © Andrea Martiradonna © Andrea Martiradonna © Andrea Martiradonna

Resort Hotel and Spa Proposal / Richard Meier & Partners

Richard Meier & Partners just broke ground on the 150-room HH Resort Hotel and Spa, which is their first project in South Korea. Located in Gangneung, the new resort complex will be a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel composed of elegant guestrooms, a world class restaurant and a wellness spa that reflect the local culture, a banquet hall, amphitheater, exhibition hall, beach house and various amenities. More images and architects' description after the break.

Roji House / airscape architects studio

© Toshiyuki Yano © Toshiyuki Yano © Toshiyuki Yano © Toshiyuki Yano

SF Jazz / Mark Cavagnero Associates

© Tim Griffith
© Tim Griffith

© Tim Griffith © Tim Griffith © Tim Griffith © Tim Griffith

Happy 161st Birthday Antoni Gaudí!

Antoni Gaudí (1852 -1926), the Catalán architect best known for his imaginative style, inspired by the curves and shapes found in nature, and - of course - for his inimitable masterpiece, the unfinished Sagrada Familia, would have turned 161 today.

Happy 88th Birthday Robert Venturi

Robert Venturi, the architectural figurehead who fought the cause for postmodernism, turns 88 today. Venturi, whose 1966 book 'Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture' coined the term "less is a bore" - to contradict Mies van der Rohe's famous "less is more" - is possibly the most influential of the theorists who worked to steer architecture away from the modernist ethos in which it had become so entrenched.

LEGO® Unveils 3,000 Brick Sydney Opera House

The LEGO® Group has unveiled a new rendition of Jørn Utzon’s beloved Sydney Opera House. Following last year’s unveiling of a slightly smaller edition, LEGO® will challenge the skills of its faithful builders with a new, highly detailed, 3,000 brick model of Australia's most famous landmark. 

Taichung City Cultural Center Competition Entry / SZA

Designed by SZA (Studio za arhitekturu), their Taichung City Cultural Center proposal is a complex space structure. With its ground plan being 50 x 50 m, their concept creates an energetic, self-sufficiency throughout the project through a system of a vertical accordion and through an exchange of functional storeys and sustainable construction storeys. More images and architects’ description after the break.

GMG House / Pedro Gadanho

© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

2013 Foster + Partners Prize Awarded to John Naylor

The Architectural Association and Foster + Partners have announced John Naylor of Diploma Unit 16 as the 2013 Foster + Partners Prize recipient for his project ‘Bamboo Lakou’. Presented annually, the award is presented to an AA Diploma student whose portfolio best addresses the themes of sustainability and infrastructure. 

Brett Steele, Director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture, said: “John Naylor’s project demonstrates the ways in which infrastructural ideas – and architectural imagination – might today expand beyond the clichés of Modernism to become life itself, literally breathing life into communities, cities and entire countries – today and long into the future.”

Collage Building / Rahola Vidal

  • Architects: Rahola Vidal
  • Location: Carrer del Comte d'Urgell, 139, 08036 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  • Architect In Charge: Víctor Rahola Aguadé, Jorge Vidal Tomás
  • Area: 6980.0 m2
  • Year: 2011
  • Photographs: José Hevia

© José Hevia © José Hevia © José Hevia © José Hevia

55 Social Dwellings in Can Jordana / Conxita Balcells

  • Architects: Conxita Balcells Blesa
  • Location: Carrer Riera d'en Font, 60, 08391 Tiana, Barcelona, Spain
  • Area: 8149.0 m2
  • Year: 2009
  • Photography: Marcela Grassi

© Marcela Grassi © Marcela Grassi © Marcela Grassi © Marcela Grassi

Sports Center and Indoor Pool / Alday Jover Arquitectura y Paisaje

  • Architects: Alday Jover Arquitectura y Paisaje / Iñaki Alday, Margarita Jover
  • Location: Zaragoza, Spain
  • Collaborators:  Aroa Álvarez, Rubén Páez, Joana M.Verd, Lorena Bello
  • Technical Architect: Fernando Benedicto
  • Area: 7365.0 m2
  • Year: 2008
  • Photography: José Hevia

© José Hevia © José Hevia © José Hevia © José Hevia

Kulturbau / Benthem Crouwel Architects

  • Architects: Benthem Crouwel Architects
  • Location: Casinostraße 21, 56068 Koblenz, Germany
  • Project Team: Markus Sporer, Marcel Blom, Anna Gerlach, Noortje ter Heege, Tina Kortmann, Sascha Rullkötter, Cornelius Wens, Sander Vijgen, Benedikt Krienen, Anna Böll, Frank Deltrap
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Thomas Eicken

© Thomas Eicken © Thomas Eicken © Thomas Eicken © Thomas Eicken

Water Patio House / Drozdov & Partners

© Andrey Avdeenko
© Andrey Avdeenko
  • Architects: Drozdov & Partners
  • Location: Odessa, Ukraine
  • Architect in Charge: Oleg Drozdov, Alexander Strulev
  • Landscape: Jeroen Schipper Architecten
  • Area: 725.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2007
  • Photographs: Andrey Avdeenko

© Andrey Avdeenko © Andrey Avdeenko © Andrey Avdeenko © Andrey Avdeenko