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Koichi Takada unveils plant-covered Urban Forest housing high rise for Brisbane

Dezeen

16 September 2020

India Block

 

Urban Forest is a 30-storey apartment building covered in thousand trees and plants that Koichi Takada Architects has designed for Brisbane, Australia.

The mixed-use high rise building owned by developers Aria Property Group will include 392 homes, a two-level rooftop garden and a public park at ground level.

Urban Forest will be covered in 1,000 trees

Australian studio Koichi Takada Architects plans to cover the stepped facade with 1,000 trees and 20,000 plants, in a combination of over 250 species native to Queensland.

The architecture studio and developers are attempting to make Urban Forest the “world’s greenest residential building”.

A public park will be positioned at the base of the building

“Urban Forest is probably the greenest we can design with the current ‘greening’ tools and regulations available to us,” said studio founder Koichi Takada.

The architect wants the high-rise building to represent a move away from mass production and towards a more sustainable mode of living, which he said had become more important following the coronavirus pandemic.

“Post Covid-19, I think it’s a great opportunity to pause and rethink and not just adapt, but shift the paradigm from industrial to natural,” Takada added.

“Concrete, steel and glass are very hard and solid industrial materials,” he continued. “Let’s call them dead materiality. We need to be embracing more living materiality, living architecture.”

“One take away from the Covid-19 pandemic crisis is the realisation that we are all living things. We are here to live, not defy death in some way. Our architecture should do the same.”

Tree trunk-style columns will support the building

The main structure of Urban Forest will be made of so-called green concrete, a low carbon version of concrete with 40 per cent less Portland cement in it than traditional concrete. The concrete will be sourced locally to further reduce emissions.

Units will be fabricated as modules to reduce wastage and shorten construction time. Stone or brick elements will be recycled or locally sourced, and all the timber used will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.

The target for Urban Forest’s is a six-star Green Star rating, the LEED Platinum equivalent of Australia’s building sustainability grading system.

A rooftop garden will hold communal facilities including a pool

At the base of the tower, Urban Forest will be raised up on a series of columns to create a sheltered area for the park. These mushroom columns will be contoured so as to appear organic, as though the high rise is supported by tree stumps.

The columns are also a nod to the local architectural tradition of the Queenslander, a house that is raised up on a platform and surrounded by a shaded verandah. This building style was developed to suit the climate of high temperatures and torrential downpour, providing shady outdoor spaces while minimising the risk of flooding.

The building will be “the greenest we can design” said Takada

Urban Forest will also contain a tourist centre where visitors can learn about the plants on its facade and learn about biodiversity and building design.

In the renders, the apartments have their own verandah-style balconies and access to a rooftop garden complete with a communal swimming pool.

The architecture studio is aiming for a six-star Green Star rating

Construction is due to start in 2021 and complete in 2024.

Sydney-based Koichi Takada Architects was founded by Koichi Takada in 2008. Previous projects include a gift shop for Jean Nouvel’s National Museum of Qatar, which features undulating wooden surfaces similar to those planned for Urban Forest.

The studio also built a branch-inspired timber canopy for Tree Restaurant in Sydney and is currently working on a high rise building in Los Angeles with a form inspired by California’s redwood forests.

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