Urban Forest, a 30-story mixed-use residential high-rise is the latest development designed by Koichi Takada Architects. Located in South Brisbane, Australia, the building features one of the world’s most densely-forested vertical gardens, going beyond regular green buildings norms and achieving “300% site cover with living greenery, featuring 1000 plus trees and more than 20,000 plants selected from 259 native species”. Increasing biodiversity and reducing the ecological footprint, the structure highlights another stage in the evolution of the architectural vertical garden.
Submitted for planning approval, the Urban Forest project is part of a new global movement of Vertical planting in high-rise buildings. Bringing greenery, biodiversity, oxygen, and mental health benefits back to high-density city living, the intervention will hold “more than five times the number of trees found in nearby Musgrave Park”. In fact, the landscape takes on a dynamic position, becoming an essential component of the design. Including 382 apartments, a two-story rooftop with garden and residential amenities, and an open public park on the ground level, “Urban Forest is probably the greenest we can design with the current “greening” tools and regulations available to us”, according to Koichi Takada.
Since the industrial revolution, our society has focused on mass production. Now is the time to shift towards mass greening. 2020 has represented a number of different crises to our society and environment from the devastating bushfires in Australia to COVID-19 pandemic crisis worldwide. With the 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. -- Koichi Takada.
Aiming to become the world’s greenest residential building, targeting a 6-star Green Star rating, equivalent to LEED Platinum, the project will set a benchmark for sustainable and subtropical high-rise apartment buildings. Actually, the “organic, sculptural, stepping facades covered in greenery provide physical and visual insulation from the sun, wind, and rain, while sky gardens and facade vegetations also provide natural thermal and solar insulation”.
Other sustainable features include solar panels, gardens irrigated by harvested rainwater and greywater collection, carbon offset, and the use of sustainably-sourced and high quality, low maintenance materials. Lifted on stumps, with tall sculptural columns resembling tree trunks, the ground floor of the tower “is designed as a useable, comfortable and friendly public park for the community”, generating 1,642 square meters of open space.
- Architect: Koichi Takada Architects
- Gross Built Area: 55,000 m2
- Project location: Brisbane, Australia
- Design Team: Koichi Takada, Terry Brabazon, Georgia Wilson, Andrew Chung
- Clients: Aria property group
- Engineering: EMF
- Landscape: LAT27
- Town Planners: Urbis
- Lighting: RAMUS
- Structural + Civil Engineers: Michael Bale and Associates
- Mechanical/Electrical/Engineers: EMF
- ESD Consultant: WSP
- Traffic Engineer: TTM
- Waste Management: TTM
- Wind: CMP