BIO MILANO - a tower equal to a forest

The meanwhile world famous Bosco Vertical, designed by Stefano Boeri, is the shining pinnacle of the urban development area Porta Nuova in Milan. This area shows two faces: an shiny institutional one and a  green informal one. The corresponding public areas are materialized in a way following the image: hard and commercial (with ivy over the pergolas as greenwashing) with shops and offices the one, versus informal and family friendly with local facilities the other.
It's not hard to choose which part of the development area represents the ancient style (top-down) and what area is clearly closer to the people. It also indicates what forces are at play in urban development: the big money versus a movement from below. Two souls in the one body of the city. For both types are users, which was obvious on the nice summer day when I was there. But it is a nasty discord.

The delicious green on and around the vertical forest, the Bosco Verticale buildings, shows the new beauty which we pursue in BIOTOPECITY: the integration of green and red/grey, green as one of the cornerstones of the new town, which is especially here in Milan badly needed because of its climate and building density.
Why not  'fare from good and bad – jenseits von ut böse' to build wisely instead of sticking to old patterns? It has to do with clients, architects, consultants, brokers, financiers and/of builders who choose what they already know. Maybe the question is more serious and is, in their world, urban design and architecture not meant for people.

Fortunately, in Milan now we can have a view into a healthier city with an eye for human needs , and also once more aesthetically pleasing . Keep some extra attention on the integrated work of art in the public space. Instead of a traditional park, a huge crop circle is planted by an artist, a void in the surrounding public space. Especially this piece of agricultural land in the middle of the town (similar to the pop-up parks of the Dutch architect office buroharro ( ) is conceptually very strong: not a comforting aesthetic scenery but hard core food production. A delicious jam ! Bosco Verticale, the vertical forest combine with a circular cornfield : a 'suprematic planning'.


The towers are 18 respectively 27 storeys high and designed for the richer part of the society: the m2 price is four times as high as in Amsterdam . According to the architect , the construction price is barely higher than with 'normal' residential towers.

Getting green is processed by 250 and 480 large trees , 5.000 shrubs and 11.000 smaller plants : a tower = an equivalent of 1 ha of forest .

Het groen heeft meerdere functies: zonwering, geluidsabsorbtie, luchtfiltering, nestelmogelijkheden.. Vooraf zijn windtesten gedaan om te onderzoeken hoe het groen zich zal houden op deze hoogtes. Het irrigatiesysteem werkt met gebruikt water.
Bosco verticale is in de visie van Boeri het eerste in een groene bebouwde zone door en rond de stad: Bio Milano. Bijv. door 60 verlaten boerderijen te gaan herbestemmen.


Fotos: Harrie van Helmond