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

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

Risus Quam Aenean

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.

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”.

“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.

“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.”
Koichi Takada

“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.

“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.”

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.