The city’s air is so bad that limits set by the EU are frequently surpassed, with one medical student comparing breathing the air to smoking about one pack of cigarettes each day. To make matters worse, there isn’t much space in the city available for trees and other plant growth to help reduce this effect.
These factors resulted in the city hiring architect Stefano Boeri to solve their greenery problem. This led to the incorporation of trees into the apartment buildings known as the Bosco Verticale, to create the very first vertical forest in the world.
Measuring about 111 and 78 meters tall respectively, construction was started on the two apartment towers located in the area around Via De Island Castillia and Confalonieri as part of a restoration of the historically-significant area.
Made up of 17 and 24 floors, they make room for more than 900 trees covering a total 9,000 square meters of space on the terraces. The greenery also includes 5,000 shrubs, 11,000 plants and 730 trees.
Although the trees and plants would help reduce the smog in the city and provide oxygen and a habitat for birds and insects, they would also ensure that the apartments are kept cool without the need for energy-consuming air-conditioning, considering that Milan can reach temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer.
The idea of the vertical forest has inspired similar constructions in Spain and Paris, known as the Torre Huerta and the Flower Tower respectively.