Architecture guide to trees on skyscrapers
by Nikola Tosic, 27 November 2018
Trees on skyscrapers is a trend. Before the trees there was glass and before there was concrete and before concrete there were gargoyles.
The biggest difference between trees on skyscrapers and other trends is that trees are living things that react much faster to the environment and require more care. However they are still a very important trend for the same reason we have botanical gardens – they remind us of our connection to nature.
The more we are aware of how much we depend on nature and how fragile yet powerful the nature is, the better. Trees on skyscrapers seem like a perfect advertising because skyscrapers are created to attract attention. Trees on skyscrapers are basically billboards for nature.
Therefore I hope that you, architects, would add as many trees on skyscrapers as possible.
Here are the three basic guidelines which can help you add trees to skyscrapers:
1) Which trees?
Choose appropriate tree species for your location including rainfall, temperature changes, skyscraper height, and wind speed. Note that temperature in building shade will be different from the exposed side. Check Arbor Day Foundation for more about trees species.
2) How to maintain them?
Calculate water and maintenance requirements. This is closely related to the characteristics of the location of the skyscraper: rainfall, temperature, wind.
3) How does building energy efficiency change?
Trees will absorb the sunlight heat and reduce building cooling needs. If you include green roofs together with trees then energy needs of the building can be reduced by 20 or more %.
4) How does structural load change?
Trees will add additional weight in specific points of the structure. A larger 25 meter tree can weight up to a ton.
Adding trees to existing skyscrapers
Not only new skyscrapers which deserve the addition of trees. Already built skyscrapers can also include trees in their facades and tops easily. Our products such as Tubs and Demetra allow quick installation of smaller trees to skyscrapers or tall buildings and do not require any restructuring. Adding trees like this can be temporary or permanent, and designers can change locations until they find the most suitable one for the trees.
Above photo is of Bosco Verticale by Stefano Boeri Architects which was the Best Highrise Building 2015 award.
Search for research articles on Bosco Verticale on Council on Tall Buildings.