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Singapore’s ‘Gardens of the Bay’ and Milan’s ‘Vertical Forests’ Stole the Show in Planet Earth 2

We really, really want to go to Singapore right now...

“Singapore, Singapore – November 4, 2012: Night view of Gardens by the Bay” – Photo: iStock

Planet Earth 2 came to a close last night with a stunning city-based episode that showed not only how shocking our impact on the environment can be, but also various examples of the people who are working to fix it.

Viewers around the world were left breath-taken by the stunning ‘Gardens by the Bay’ in Singapore, an 101-hectare garden set up to add life to the urban environment. It looks like something out of Avatar.

Singapore has the highest biodiversity of any city in the world.

The Gardens by the Bay consist of forest environments created within buildings and in open spaces in the city – including ‘Supertree Grove’ below.

Gardens of the Bay – Photo: iStock

The supertrees are between 25 and 50m high and are connected by walkways which allow visitors to travel between them.

The vertical gardens are designed with large canopies that provide share in the day and come alive with displays of light and sound at night, and they provide a home to an array of different animals.

Other attractions in the Bay of Gardens include a flower dome and cloud forest conservatory, pictured below.

Photo: stefanoboeriarchitetti.net
Photo: stefanoboeriarchitetti.net

The tropical garden was been awarded the World Building of the Year prize at the World Architecture Festival a few years ago, and it’s not hard to see why.

Planet Earth 2 also focused on an amazing vertical forest project ongoing in Milan. The project from architect Stefano Boeri saw 40,000 sqm of high residential tower transformed into vertical urban forest.

Photo: stefanoboeriarchitetti.net

Stefano Boeri’s website says of the project: “Vertical Forest is a model for a sustainable residential building, a project for metropolitan reforestation that contributes to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding the city upon the territory. It is a model of vertical densification of nature within the city that operates in relation to policies for reforestation and naturalization of large urban and metropolitan borders. The first example of the Vertical Forest composed of two residential towers of 110 and 76 m height, was realized in the centre of Milan, on the edge of the Isola neighbourhood, and hosts 900 trees (each measuring 3, 6 or 9 meters) and over 2000 plants from a wide range of shrubs and floral plants distributed in relation to the façade’s position towards the sun. On flat land, each Vertical Forest equals, in amount of trees, an area of 7000 m2 of forest. In terms of urban densification the equivalent of an area of single family dwellings of nearly 75.000 m2. The vegetal system of the Vertical Forest aids in the construction of a microclimate, produces humidity, absorbs CO2 and dust particles and produces oxygen.

Milan, Italy- June11, 2015: Vertical Forest apartment building in the Porta Nuova area of Milano, Lombardy, Italy also called Bosco Verticale and winner for 2014 of the International Highrise Award, organized by Deutsches Architekturmuseum of Frankfurt.
Photo: iStock

Biological habitats Vertical Forest increases biodiversity. It helps to set up an urban ecosystem where different kinds of vegetation create a vertical environment which can also be colonised by birds and insects, and thus becomes both a magnet for and a symbol of the spontaneous recolonisation of the city by vegetation and by animal life. The creation of a number of Vertical Forests in the city will be able to create a network of environmental corridors which will give life to the main parks in the city, bringing the green space of avenues and gardens and connecting various spaces of spontaneous vegetation growth.

Photo: stefanoboeriarchitetti.net

Biological habitats Vertical Forest increases biodiversity. It helps to set up an urban ecosystem where different kinds of vegetation create a vertical environment which can also be colonised by birds and insects, and thus becomes both a magnet for and a symbol of the spontaneous recolonisation of the city by vegetation and by animal life. The creation of a number of Vertical Forests in the city will be able to create a network of environmental corridors which will give life to the main parks in the city, bringing the green space of avenues and gardens and connecting various spaces of spontaneous vegetation growth.

Mitigations Vertical Forest helps to build a micro-climate and to filter dust particles which are present in the urban environment. The diversity of the plants helps to create humidity, and absorb CO2 and dust, produces oxygen, protects people and houses from the suns rays and from acoustic pollution.

Anti-sprawl Vertical Forest is an anti-sprawl measure which aims to control and reduce urban expansion. If we think of them in terms of urban densification, each tower of the Vertical Forest is equivalent to an area of urban sprawl of family houses and buildings of up to 50,000 square metres.

Trees are a key element in understanding architectural projects and garden systems. In this case the choice of the types of trees was made to fit with their positioning on the facades and in terms of their height, and took two years to conclude alongside a group of botanists. The plants used in this project will be grown specifically for this purpose and will be pre-cultivated. Over this period these plants slowly got used to the conditions they will be placed in on the building.

Photo: iStock

Ecology billboards Vertical Forest is a landmark in the city which is able to release new kinds of variable landscapes which can change their form in each season depending on the types of plants involved. The Vertical Forests will offer a changing view of the metropolitan city below.

Management the management of the trees’ pots is under building regulation, as well as the upkeep of the greenery and the number of plants for each pot.

Irrigation in order to understand the need for water the plan for these buildings took into account the distribution of plants across various floors and their positioning.“

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