Stefano Boeri unveils plans for "vertical forest" tower in Switzerland

| 18 comments

Italian architect Stefano Boeri has revealed designs for a plant-covered 36-storey tower in Lausanne, Switzerland, continuing the "vertical forest" concept he trialled with a pair of towers in Milan (+ slideshow).

La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti

According to Boeri, the building in the Chavannes-Près-Renens district of the city will be the first tower in the world to be covered with evergreen trees.

The predominantly residential 117-metre-tall building will contain apartments ranging in size from two to five bedrooms, as well as offices, a gym and a panoramic restaurant on its top floor.

La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti

Renderings released by Boeri's Milan studio today show facades comprising projecting terraces that are faced with reinforced concrete panels.

The roofs of these boxes accommodate plants including the coniferous trees that give the project its name, La Tour des Cedres, or The Cedar Trees Tower.

La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti

As with Boeri's Bosco Verticale buildings in Milan, the intention is that the leaves of the trees will help to trap fine dust, absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen to improve the city's air quality.



"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," said Boeri in a statement. "An architecture even able to introduce a significant biodiversity of vegetal species in the middle of an important European city."

La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti

"The Tower, also thanks to its shape and the changing colours of cedar trees and plants during the seasons, could become a landmark in the panorama of Lake Geneva," the architect added.

"This will make Lausanne a cutting-edge city in the global challenge to implement urban quality together with sustainability and biodiversity."

La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti

Alongside 100 cedar trees, 6,000 shrubs and 18,000 plants will also contribute to green surfaces totalling approximately 3,000 square metres. Cedar was chosen because of its longevity and ability to withstand severe climatic conditions.

La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti
Model of La Tour des Cedres

Stefano Boeri Architetti was awarded the project after seeing off competition from international firms including Mario Botta Architetto, Richter Dahl Rocha & Associés Architectes and Goettsch Partners.

La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti
Model of La Tour des Cedres

The studio collaborated with Buro Happold Engineering on structural details and with Italian agronomist Laura Gatti on the planting concept. Construction is due to commence in 2017.

Boeri is one of several architects to combine plants and architecture in recent years. French architect Jean Nouvel teamed up with botanist Patrick Blanc to create a pair of plant-covered towers in Sydney, while a holiday resort in Vietnam by Vo Trong Nghia features concrete louvers that support climbing plants on its facades.


 

La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti
Exploded axonometric – click for larger image
La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti
Site plan – click for larger image
La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti
Cross section – click for larger image
La Tour des Cedres in Lausanne, Switzerland by Stefano Boeri Architetti
Section AA and BB – click for larger image
  • JayCee

    Considering the last tall building proposed in Lauanne was recently rejected by public referendum, this has little to no chance of actually being realised. Nevertheless I welcome the attempt at densifying the part of Switzerland which rarely exceeds 10 stories.

    • Ben

      It will be realised. People from Chavannes already voted and accepted it.

  • But seriously…

    Trees with no roots? I’m sorry but I’m so sick of seeing architects parading pseudo sustainability and biodiversity concepts when they clearly have no clue what a tree needs to grow. And apparently there’s even a ‘plant specialist’ involved in this particular project. It’s embarrassing really.

    • dwf

      Same architect dis it already in Milan, so I guess he knows.

    • The_Pinchhitter

      It seems stuffing trees in every nook and cranny of the skyscraper is a trend these days. It gives the rendering boys in the architecture studio the opportunity to play around with population and carbon-scatter softwares!

    • livid lili

      If architects are going to keep sticking trees into their designs, they really ought to have some basic horticulture knowledge.

  • Somewhere, James Wines is having a good laugh.
    This could be the epitome of architectural satire.

  • K Davis

    I’m going to step outside of the tree discussion for a moment and ask if anybody else besides myself is concerned about the design.

    At least it is slightly more developed than Boeri’s towers in Milan, but not by much. If we are going to shove as many trees as possible into high-rises, I would challenge our industry to do so in a way that is cohesive and comprehensive enough to marry form and function.

    • Brennan Murray

      Yes exactly, anything is possible with enough money/budget. But the design/aesthetic of the building is quite contrived and unoriginal. I totally agree when we will see a concept where the trees don’t look like an afterthought?

      Begs the question, do trees belong on high-rises, skyscrapers and such. If you really begin to think about it its very “unnatural”.

      You know what this is what a tree-riddled tower should look like. It should look like the world of I am Legend because the only way a tree would “invade” a building is over years of decay. So to the next architect thinking about rendering trees into their project, how about designing it as if nature itself actually designed it?

  • I pity the person on the ground when a 15th-storey branch falls off.

  • Roger That

    #saladbuildings

  • aitchilm

    Nothing is mentioned about roots, water retention, moss, mildew, algae, fungi, and mould growth on walls, pruning and general maintenance, wind damage, falling branches, extraction of diseased trees, and bird infestation. Keep the trees on the ground where nature intended them.

  • vicky nicoll

    I think plants and buildings complement each other well. :)

  • NND

    “Won’t be the last”… so? It’s a useful trend that should be kept going. I’d encourage everyone to do it if possible. Screw originality if you get clean and fresh air generated by those trees.

    Unless the naysayers have noticed, we really need that lately. When I moved to a bigger city I constantly coughed for three months straight due to emissions and polluted air. If there’s a way to counter that, I say go for it. And you also get a great challenge to make something original by complying to that requirement.

    Secondly if you haven’t payed attention to this project, there is root space in the walls themselves. With the materials done right to protect the structural integrity it can be a great thing; they’ll provide natural reinforcement.

    Some plants have shallow roots, others can live in a constricted space, with a little horticulture and forestry combined into the architecture I really don’t see why this can’t be something to make the city a better, more livable place.

  • Massimo

    My old professor used to say: ” Doctors used to bury their mistakes underground, architects under trees”.

  • Have yet to see climate-zone specific specifications regarding appropriate arboreal species: planting, drainage, container, life cycle needs, replacement requirements etc, for any of these giddy projects.

    What is the species of the magic tree?

  • where_from_here

    Sadly, along with other comments, I would agree it is just another bogus attempt to suggest sustainability and environmental credentials. Even well-insulated concrete extensions of this size will just act as radiating ribs and reduce the energy efficiency of the building. By all means provide “gardening/garden opportunities” for residents but don’t make it out to be something it is not.

    If you want to improve a buildings credentials in a “growing active way” use large areas of green walls to connect to a roof garden that all can enjoy. The green wall will enhance the energy signature of the building, genuinely improve the environment by trapping pollutants etc and provide a wildlife corridor from roof garden to any surrounding green areas – are there any of these by the way?

    Architects who fail to really take onboard the environmental issues we face should be given a very low rating on those bar scales we see on every appliance we purchase these days. An opportunity missed.